The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP) began in 1985 as a collaborative program between the New York Public Schools and the New York City Chapter of the Educators for Social Responsibility. The professionals affiliated with RCCP believe that violence is one of the chief social ills affecting children and their ability to learn. RCCP has two stated goals: to teach children ethical and moral values that emphasize respect for others; and to provide students with the emotional and social skills necessary to handle potentially disruptive situations. Key components of RCCP’s approach include the following measures:
- Conflict Resolution Curriculum: The RCCP curriculum for elementary schools is built around 51 lessons or workshops. Each workshop includes a warm-up exercise, review of the agenda for the specific lesson, activities, student evaluation of the session, and closing activity. The secondary school curriculum covers material similar to that provided in the elementary school curriculum but with an additional focus on ways of de-escalating volatile situations that might lead to violent confrontations. RCCP lessons include role playing, group dialogue, and brainstorming. The curriculum address root causes of violence by establishing “multicultural classrooms.”
- Peer Mediation: RCCP seeks to reduce violent incidents in schools through a model of peer mediation. Student mediators facilitate a meeting between those involved in a particular conflict and help both disputants find a mutually satisfactory solution. A good resolution gives both disputants the responsibility for finding a solution.
- Professional and Parent Training: RCCP uses both formal training sessions and one-on-one work to teach regular classroom teachers how to present the conflict-resolution curriculum. RCCP instructors provide 20 hours of introductory training in a series of after-school sessions. The training presents the RCCP philosophy and the curriculum; teaches communication, conflict resolution, and intergroup relations skills; and demonstrates “infusion” strategies for integrating these concepts and skills into social studies, language arts, and other academic subjects.
A key to RCCP’s success is the follow-up support that teachers receive. Each new teacher is assigned to an RCCP staff developer, who visits between six and 10 times a year, giving demonstration lessons, helping the teacher prepare, observing classes, giving feedback, and sustaining the teacher’s motivation. In addition, the staff developer convenes bimonthly follow-up meetings after school so that the teachers can receive additional training, share their experiences, discuss concerns, and plan school-wide events. During a teacher’s second year, the staff developer visits only two or three times.
RCCP staff recently launched a Parent Involvement Program, which they piloted and are slowly expanding in Community School District 15 in Brooklyn, where RCCP began. Under this program, a team of two or three parents per school is trained for 60 hours to lead workshops for other parents on intergroup relations, family communication, and conflict resolution.
- DeJong, W. (1994). Building the peace: The resolving conflict creatively program. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.
- Lantieri, L., DeJong, W., & Dutrey, J. (1996). Waging peace in our schools: The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program. In A. Hoffman (Ed.), Schools, violence, and society. Westport, CT: Praeger.