Impacts of Restorative Circles on Fifth Grade Students of Color

Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Aaron Peterson


Restorative Circles, students of color, community, social-emotional learning, proactive approach


Districts and schools across the United States and internationally have worked to implement Restorative Circles as means for teachers, staff, and students to cultivate positive relationships, build respectful and cohesive school communities, and work to create a safe and inclusive environment. Utilizing Restorative Circles is a proactive approach in the development of social-emotional learning, compassion and connectedness. Additionally, researchers have determined that Restorative Circles assisted not only in building strong communities, but also, opportunities to repair harm, further disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline and dismantling zero tolerance policies that disproportionately impact students of color. The purpose of this study was to implement Restorative Circles into a fifth-grade classroom and identify the impacts Restorative Circles had on fifth grade students of color. Specifically, this research utilized Circle Forward: Building A Restorative School Community text written by Carolyn Boyes-Watson and Kay Pranis (2015) as a means to implement weekly community building Circles with opportunities for impromptu Circles to repair harm when needed for the fifth-grade students. Participants in this study were given a survey prior to engaging in Circles and after completing six community building Circles. Results from the data collected from the survey were analyzed to better understand the impact of Restorative Circles on fifth-grade students of color. Data suggested that after participating in the Circles, students of color felt more supported by their classmates, identified themselves as positive community members at school, and felt a greater sense of respect amongst teachers, staff and students.

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