Date of Award

Spring 1-27-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Doug DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Enomoto

Third Advisor

Dr. Anne Sharp


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore and describe the perceptions of high school principals in three Central and Northern California school districts on the implementation of restorative practices and resistance to change through the theoretical lens of Kotter’s eight-stage change model.

Methodology: For the purpose of this study, the case study method was used to answer descriptive and explanatory questions that focus on the what, why, and how the research occurred during the implementation of restorative practices (Yin, 2011). The purpose of conducting a descriptive case study was to understand further, via interviews, the perspectives of high school principals in order to capture the shared experiences in the implementation of restorative practices using Kotter’s eight-stage change model as the theoretical lens.

Findings: Developing a team of staff members with high affability, creating a vision, building relationships, changing the school culture, and celebrating staff successes during implementation was significant to participants. Increased communication to staff and increased offerings of trainings throughout the year supporting implementation was necessary. Participants believed the reason for implementation was to reduce suspension and expulsion rates. A lack of consequences for students, refusal to participate in restorative practices, a lack of communication and confusion of expectations, and viewing it as just another program was the resistance participants met during implementation.

Conclusions: The results of this study indicate the need to create a team, hire additional staff for this team, and train this team 1 year prior to the implementation year. Results also indicate the need to develop a monthly training schedule for staff and to create a curriculum map for classroom implementation directly related to restorative practices. In order to embrace resistance met, developing a restorative discipline policy addressing the issues of consequences and sustainability is needed. To maintain momentum, opportunities to publicly celebrate staff successes related to participation in a restorative practice is also needed.

Recommendations: Continued research must include a replication of this study with school districts in Southern California implementing restorative practices. Additionally, a comparative study regarding the perceptions of high school principals versus elementary school principals during implementation should be conducted. Further studies focusing on student resistance to restorative practices as well as school districts’ resistance to implementing restorative practices are recommended. Finally, this study should be replicated in 5 years to determine if sustainability occurred.