Restorative Practice Consortium Resource Project

On November 30, 2015, the Ontario Ministry of Education Safe Schools Branch approved and funded a project proposal “to gather, create, integrate and disseminate knowledge of restorative practice tools and strategies to support achievement, healthy relationships and leadership in Ontario schools from a restorative perspective.”  The website and various reports that have been produced are all designed to be copyright free and re-useable.

 

Discipline Disparities Research to Practice Collaborative

Disparities in the use of school discipline by race, gender, and sexual orientation have been well-documented, and continue to place large numbers of students at risk for short- and long-term negative outcomes. In order to improve the state of our knowledge and encourage effective interventions, the Discipline Disparities Research to Practice Collaborative, a group of 26 nationally known researchers, educators, advocates, and policy analysts, came together to address the problem of disciplinary disparities. Funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and Open Society Foundations, the Collaborative has spent nearly three years conducting a series of meetings with groups of stakeholders – advocates, educators, juvenile justice representatives, intervention agents, researchers, and policymakers–in order to increase the availability of interventions that are both practical and evidence-based, and to develop and support a policy agenda for reform to improve equity in school discipline.

The project has funded eleven new research projects to expand the knowledge base, particularly in the area of intervention, and commissioned papers from noted researchers presented at the Closing the School Discipline Gap Conference. A culminating report of the Collaborative’s work is the formal release of the Discipline Disparities Briefing Paper Series three papers on policy, practice, and new research summarizing the state of our knowledge and offering practical, evidence-based recommendations for reducing disparities in discipline in our nation’s schools.

Online Peer Mediation Project

Since the mid-1980s peer mediation has been the most commonly used conflict resolution education program in the United States. Research indicates that as many as 25% of US schools have had peer mediation programs serving grades 3 to 12 and many programs in large urban districts are district­wide.

However, three important changes in the educational and social context now suggest the need for an online version of peer mediation.

1 ­ Significant and Increasing Online Public Education
In formal educational contexts (K through 12) the increase in online schools has skyrocketed. Approximately 3 million K through 12 students are now enrolled in free, online public schools, which are not served by peer mediation.

2 ­ Prevalence and Preference for Online Communication
Current school­ age generation prefers to communicate online. For the millions of students in conventional K through 12 schools, community groups, or youth organizations, online peer mediation opportunity is more congruent with their use of social media and communication technology.

3 ­ Global Peer Mediation Growth
Peer mediation programs have been growing not only in the United States, but also around the world. In fact, much of the increase in peer mediation since 2000 has happened in Europe, Australia and South Asia.

For the reasons listed above, in December of 2014 the Association for Conflict Resolution Education Section received a 2 year grant from the JAMS Foundation to launch a new project called Online Peer Mediation Platform (OPMP).

Online Peer Mediation Platform Goals
The four goals of our Online Peer Mediation Platform are:
1. Show how students from ages 10 to 18 can learn online how to become peer mediators.
2. Show how students can practice their peer mediation skills online with the assistance of qualified mentors.
3. Show how students can offer online peer mediation services. This OPMP component will be available in 2016.
4. Provide anyone who is interested in peer mediation extensive information on this topic.

For more information, visit the OPMP website at http://peermediationonline.org and contact our team.

OPMP Team
Judy Tindall – President, National Association of Peer Program Professionals
Dr. Cynthia Morton – Chair of Education Research and Teaching Section, ACR
Prof. Karen DeVoogd – MA, Director Mediator Mentors, California State University Fresno, Fresno CA
Jay Edwards, Website Consultant -­ ReelFire Productions.
Giuseppe Leone – Founder of Virtual Mediation Lab

Canada

The Canadian Conflict Prevention Initiative is part of the Global partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). Affecting changes in education at the Provincial/Territorial levels will be a key objective of Provincial Culture of Peace Programs and Annual Provincial Peace Education Conferences. Annual Provincial Peace Education Conferences currently take place in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.

For a summary of CRE activity in this area please review the (now rather dated) OCDRCM website profile for this country.

United States

A great deal of activity is occurring in the United States. This includes work in many individual schools, as well as statewide efforts that coordinate Conflict Resolution Education work across States or within districts.

Costa Rica

Costa Ricans take pride in their country’s reputation as a peaceful nation, with more than half a century without a standing army or other defense arrangement since 1948. Current President Oscar Arias played a fundamental role in the Central American Peace Plan in the 1980s, for which he is best known throughout the Americas as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Located within a region historically wrought with social and political conflict, Costa Rica is internationally regarded as a peaceful, prosperous country.

As such, Costa Rica is home to the United Nations’ chartered University for Peace, where hundreds of international students graduate each year from prestigious programs including Sustainable Development, Conflict Resolution, Peace Education and International Peace Studies. In 1997, Costa Rica passed a law that requires peace education is offered in every classroom. In September 2009, the Costa Rican government will host the annual international Summit of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace, the first government in the world to host a Summit of this kind.

It is in this national framework of peace that Conflict Resolution Education and Peace Education are received openly in the school system and within the highest levels of government. The Academy for Peace has been instrumental in bringing about a workable curriculum for Peace Education in the Costa Rican school system, as well as establishing legislature to set up significant peace infrastructure within the Costa Rican government. Currently, the Academy for Peace works with 13 schools in the county of Santa Ana, teaching the practice of BePeace, which fulfills the peace education law. With the support of Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Education, the Santa Ana BePeace model will be replicated in the public school system throughout the country, strengthening this culture of peace and ensuring that this peace skill is passed on from generation to generation.