Our History, Our Model, Our Goals
Peaceful Schools was founded in 1997 to provide mediation and conflict resolution services in schools. Soon afterwards, Peaceful People, our social-emotional curriculum, was inspired by a group of teachers in Utica, New York. Sadly, teachers all over the country had witnessed the news coverage of the massacre at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, on April 20, 1999. Similar to parents and educators across the country, the events of student-on-student violence left the Utica teachers with the unanswerable questions of why and how and, most important, "What can we do to prevent this from happening again?" A nerve had been struck, instilling a desire to prevent students from lashing out in such a profound manner with permanent and tragic outcomes. Columbine was not the first act of school violence our nation has observed, and unfortunately it has not served as the last. But something about the events that unfolded at Columbine High School resonated with the need to do better for our children. In the State of New York, the Schools Against Violence in Education Act was passed into law. S.A.V.E., as it came to be known, was a critical step forward in recognizing the need for both physical and social-emotional safety measures to be implemented. Since 1999, the effort to reduce student bullying and isolation has been a focal point for research, professional development and student program development. Peaceful Schools, a recipient of New York State Education Department funds under S.A.V.E. Legislation, has been dedicated to supporting students in the classroom, teaching the skills of resilience, providing opportunities to build meaningful connections with peers and engaging students in the practices of structured problem solving.
Through discussion and research, the focus group in Utica decided that the foundation for reducing student violence needed to start with educational efforts to support students' social and emotional development. As a result, Peaceful Schools' mission grew to include providing social-emotional education and conflict resolution services.
Peaceful Schools is designed to support schools in the implementation of comprehensive social emotional education and conflict resolution education programs. The Peaceful Schools model promotes an environment that uses effective communication skills and joint problem solving to create an atmosphere of mutual understanding, while recognizing and celebrating individual needs. The staff of Peaceful Schools seeks to work collaboratively with teachers, parents and community members as they prepare young people to participate as effective citizens and decision makers from home to school and beyond.
The Peaceful Schools Model engages school communities in the practice of developing a climate that encourages character and resiliency in its youth by integrating the core social skills of Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. The Peaceful Schools resource materials, programs, and trainings help schools to foster a pro-social environment in which all members constructively work together and challenges the assumption that conflicts are resolved only when one side wins at the other's expense.
We are excited to offer our full library of resources to you through our on-line subscription model. This approach is designed to assist you in developing and maintaining your school or district capacity to support pro-active and responsive social emotional education supports. Become a member of the Peaceful Schools community and tap into our resources for teaching and promoting positive social relationships, effective interpersonal problem solving, tools for self-management and the resiliency skills that prepare students to face adversity and respond in a way that is both positive and productive.