International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School Granted Accreditation
BETHLEHEM, Pa., June 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School (www.iirp.org), in Bethlehem, PA, the world’s first graduate school wholly dedicated to restorative practices, was granted accreditation June 23 by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The IIRP opened in 2006 and has awarded approximately 80 degrees. Students earn a Master of Restorative Practices and Education or Youth Counseling or a Graduate Certificate in Restorative Practices.
The IIRP faculty includes respected figures in education, counseling, psychology, criminal justice and conflict resolution. The curriculum addresses education, counseling, social work, justice and organizational management.
The seeds for the IIRP were planted in 1977 when Ted and Susan Wachtel, former public schoolteachers frustrated by the way they saw “difficult” youth treated in schools, founded the nonprofit Community Service Foundation (CSF) School for at-risk youth.
CSF became eight schools, 16 foster homes and various supervision programs, which have helped more than 10,000 kids turn their lives around.
The linchpin for CSF’s success is restorative practices, an effective alternative to exclusionary and punitive policies that holds students accountable by engaging them in their own issues and behavior.
Restorative practices proved so effective with CSF’s students that the Wachtels and their staff established the IIRP to bring the practices to public schools and other organizations.
“Restorative practices gives students responsibilities. It combines high expectations with lots of support,” says IIRP president Ted Wachtel, coauthor of the 1980′s bestseller Toughlove.
“This is not permissiveness. Wrongdoing is not tolerated. But solutions are decided collaboratively, generating buy in from people involved and others who are impacted.”
The IIRP has trained tens of thousands of people from 55 nations and has affiliates and licensed trainers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Hungary, Israel, Jamaica, The Netherlands, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, the UK and the US.
The IIRP’s SaferSanerSchools program offers a whole-school restorative practices initiative that has produced significant reductions in bullying, violence and other behavior problems in schools in Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, New York City and elsewhere.
The goal of restorative practices is to empower people to find their own solutions, resolve their own conflicts and foster healthy relationships. Says Wachtel, “It’s working to restore community in a world starved for community.”
SOURCE International Institute for Restorative Practices