Central Academy of Excellence Joins the Peace Party

Ms. Saffold facilitates a parent circle

Ms. Saffold facilitates a parent circle

Last Thursday, 4 teachers, several community volunteers, staff members and security personnel from Central Academy of Excellence, completed a 12 hour Conflict Resolution and Restorative Discipline Workshop.  Each Thursday afternoon for 5 weeks, the group met for 3 hours to discuss personal conflict styles, conflict resolution skills, the ‘think, listen, collaborate’ process, circle facilitation and other concepts.

Central’s principal, Linda Collins, invited the Community Mediation Center (CMC) to her school with the goal of helping staff and volunteers build their capacity to empower students to solve issues in peaceful ways.  The workshop, funded by the Kansas City, Missouri Community Capital Fund, culminated in each participant writing and presenting a Restorative Discipline Project to a larger group of parents and students.

One of the projects described a ‘safe’ room for students to go to during the day when they knew they were at risk for fighting.  Originating with a request from members of student counsel, the ‘safe’ room will be staffed by trained adult mentors who will coach self-referred students through their situation.     Another project plans to create a parent support ‘circle dialogue’ in which parents can express frustrations as well as the joys of raising teenagers, in a confidential and safe setting.

In school suspension coordinator and middle school team leader, Lynne Shipley, organized participants for the workshop and will continue her plan to work with students she sees in her classroom in restorative ways, helping them seek healthy habits for conflict resolution that will prepare them for a more peaceful future.  Additional training is planned for other members of the school community in August. Central Academy of Excellence is finding ways to restore students to their supportive community before during and after wrongdoing instead of separating them from it – Welcome to the Peace Party!

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