This year, in addition to academics, students in the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) are learning how to manage societal stressors and conflicts with their peers.
By News Desk
The restorative practices and mediation program begins this school year, in grades TK – 12, and is part of a new partnership between PUSD and the Pasadena-based Western Justice Center (WJC) to develop conflict resolution education and youth-driven programs that empower students to be advocates for peace and justice.
“Our partnership with the Western Justice Center brings restorative practices to PUSD schools to strengthen positive relationships so that students feel safe, cared for, and connected.” said Interim Superintendent Elizabeth Blanco, Ed.D. “It is part of PUSD’s holistic approach to preparing students in quality learning environments that support and promote their ability to thrive.”
Student leaders will get training in restorative practices, such as youth-led peer mediation and community-building circles. Training in mediation and circles helps young people develop a wide range of skills, including emotional self-awareness, self-management, de-escalation techniques for themselves and others, empathetic listening, collaborative problem-solving, community-circle facilitation, and nonviolent communication.
In Azusa Unified, where the consolidation of two high schools exacerbated tensions in the community, WJC worked with the district to transform the specter of violence into a youth-led peacemaking movement. “With the kind of support we got from WJC, the kids are going to be alright,” said Azusa High School Principal Fernandez. “More than that, they are going to be the leaders of tomorrow.”
“Western Justice Center training this summer gave us a framework for using restorative practices to address our students’ needs,” said Stephanie Fonseca, Assistant Principal at Pasadena’s Blair Middle and High School. “It’s a great opportunity to empower students to use their voices in a positive way, especially when they’re in conflict.”
The program also provides parallel training to educators, administrators, and other PUSD employees that build a school district’s capacity to sustain conflict resolution education programs and restorative practice. Offerings for parents are also in the works.
WJC is recognized as one of the premiere providers of Conflict Resolution Education. In the last two years alone, WJC has trained and mobilized more than 2,000 students, educators and volunteers at more than 30 schools across LA County to improve the learning culture and climate for more than 20,000 youth. WJC’s online curriculum portal, School Tools, reaches more than 45,000 educators over 150 countries worldwide.
We hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.
Billionaires, hedge fund owners and local imposters have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.
While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.
You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.
Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)