IRJRD and Restorative Discipline
The Institute For Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue was started in 2008 by DR. Marilyn Armour as an internal institute in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas in Austin. From 2012 through 2015, IRJRD and Ed White Middle School in San Antonio, Texas collaborated in a three-year pilot program to implement Restorative Discipline school wide. Implementation began with 6th grade in the 2012/13 school year with 7th added the second year and 8th grade the third. The project caught the attention of TEA due to its demonstrated success in adapting restorative justice strategies for a school setting and implementing those strategies at a campus identified with high disciplinary rates. Ed White Middle School was the first campus in the state of Texas to pilot the Restorative Discipline approach and within two years the school saw improvements in school climate, disciplinary referrals, attendance and bullying.
Report: Pilot Project, RD Implementation Year 1
Report: Pilot Project, RD Implementation Year 2
Report: Pilot Project, RD Implementation Year 3
In the spring of 2015, the TEA and IRJRD began a partnership to train administrators and educators in school-based restorative practices. Based on the data from Ed White Middle School, TEA made a significant investment to provide statewide training to administrators, and district and campus-level educators in the Restorative Discipline practices developed by IRJRD. The TEA grant provided trainings at ten of the twenty education service centers for the school districts with across Texas. The first ten service centers were selected based on the number of African American males that were suspended from the school districts in their regions. In the second phase of the project, the remaining ten service centers received the same trainings. The training occurred in two parts. The first was a two-day administrator readiness training, the second, a five-day coordinator training. The goal was to plant the restorative discipline practices seeds across Texas. Approximately 1,400 administrators and 400 coordinators obtained training by the completion of the project in October 2017. In order to conduct the trainings, IRJRD developed a team of trained, experienced restorative practitioners from a variety of professional backgrounds including criminal justice, social work, and education.
Final Report: Pilot Project, RD Implementation Project
With the completion of the project with TEA, IRJRD continued to provide training in Restorative Discipline for educators and schools. Sessions conducted included both “private” and “open-enrollment” trainings. Open-enrollment trainings are held at announced locations such as UT Austin School of Social work. Enrollment is limited in order to insure a hands-on, experiential style training. Private trainings are conducted on-site for specific campuses and organizations.
In the fall of 2018, IRJRD was transitioned from an internal institute in the School of Social Work at UT-Austin into a 501c3 nonprofit corporation in Weatherford, Texas. Randy Dean serves as current director. In keeping with its prior work, IRJRD continues to provide rigorous, professional trainings that hold fast to the principles and elements of authentic restorative practices. In the summer of 2019, open-enrollment trainings were conducted at Weatherford College in North Texas and at a charter school campus in Austin, Texas. Private trainings were conducted for campuses across Texas but in Ohio and Georgia.