Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Systems Improvement Science

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Kristen Duncan

Committee Member

Co-Chair Dr. Reginald Wilkerson

Committee Member

Dr. Roy Jones

Committee Member

Dr. Renee Jefferson


This research describes the application of improvement science focusing on implementing restorative practices (RP) to decrease suspension and expulsion rates of Black students. Black students are suspended and expelled disproportionately compared to their White peers in South Carolina. Due to the high suspension and expulsion rates, school districts are implementing restorative practices to decrease the suspension and expulsion rates of minorities. This study utilizes a qualitative method of data collection and analysis to determine if the use of RP is effective in decreasing suspension and expulsion rates of Black students. RP employs two informal and two formal tools for conflict resolution. The informal tools are affective statements (AS) and affective questions (AQ). AS are ways of expressing yourself, and AQ allows us to elicit from each other what we think and feel (Costello et al., 2019). RP formal tools consist of small impromptu conferences and restorative circles. Small impromptu conversations can be used in conjunction with AS and AQ to support positive behavior and address inappropriate student behavior. Restorative circles are a process to proactively build bonds and community to positively impact the increase of suspension and expulsion rates of Black students (Costello et al., 2019). This study provides qualitative data by conducting teacher/student surveys, post-RP implementation semi-structured interviews with teachers, and uses a RP classroom observation checklist. The data will support utilization of RP and will net a reduction in suspension and expulsion rates of Black students.

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