As we all know, Acera is always looking to grow. This not only includes our students and their curiosity and creativity, but also our staff and our overall program.
Last school year, we started looking at how we could augment the problem-solving supports available to our students, and we landed on the idea of peer mediation. This involves training students to help mediate conflicts that their peers are grappling with in a structured, neutral manner.
At Acera, the program is overseen by school counselors Eileen Sauer and Neal Bottom, but the actual mediation and conflict supports are owned by our trained student mediators. In March, we graduated 21 new peer mediators, 12 of which returned to Acera last week.
The inaugural class of students (grades 5-8) completed their mediation training through Community Dispute Settlement Center (CDSC), which was comprised of 18 hours of learning and role playing, and an official “graduation” ceremony during which they received their certificates and took an oath of confidentiality and objectivity as mediators. Last year, they mediated four conflicts and began outreach initiatives to help their fellow classmates understand how they can use peer mediation to solve conflicts at school.
We are so proud of our student mediators, and are thrilled to share that this October, Acera and our new peacemakers are being honored with the Community Peacemaker Award at CDSC’s Annual BASH. The event will be held virtually on October 26th at 5:30pm.
Established in 1979, the Community Dispute Settlement Center (CDSC), is a private, not-for-profit mediation and training center dedicated to providing an alternative and affordable forum for resolving conflict. CDSC promotes better ways to understand and deal with conflict through skilled teams of pro bono mediators, training programs in mediation and conflict management, and broad community outreach.