Peaceful Schools comes to North Carolina
Early in 2009, three teachers at Central Park School for Children, a K-5 public charter school in Durham, agreed to collaborate on a Peaceful Schools pilot project in their classrooms.
Dr. Smith, then board chairman of the North Carolina Psychoanalytic Foundation (NCPF), took action. Within four months, the NCPF board of directors had organized a Peaceful Schools Committee. Meanwhile, Dr. Renee Prillaman, having initiated a Peaceful Schools program in the Middle Grades at Carolina Friends School in Durham, NC, joined the committee and the NCPF board of directors.
By May, John Heffernan, the director of the Central Park School — with support from the Central Park School board of directors — was ready to expand the program schoolwide.
Over the summer, Drs. Twemlow and Sacco provided onsite training to parents and the entire school staff. As Central Park School for Children’s program evolved to reflect the values of the school community, Dr. Prillaman provided additional onsite training at the school.
By year three of the program, bullying incidents were rare, and 86 percent of the students were performing at or above grade level, earning the title of a North Carolina School of Distinction. Central Park was one of the highest performing schools in the Durham County School System and voted the Best Charter School in Durham.
Meanwhile, at Carolina Friends School, where Conflict Resolution is taught in all grades, Christel Grenier Butchart, a middle school teacher, initiated a Rehearsal for Life class in the middle grades, which includes an opportunity for students to use improvisational skits to practice life’s challenging moments.
Since 2009, we have offered workshops for teachers, administrators, parents, students and others who want to create safe school environments that are conducive to learning. Our training provides the skills and knowledge for creating classrooms and schools with minimal aggression, teasing and bullying behavior. Participants learn to implement child-centered school environments for maximum academic, social and emotional growth.