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Yellow Springs High School to Create Mediation Protocol

Monday, December, 26, 2016

The group of students and teachers that make up the Yellow Springs High School Student Relations Board will embark on the reconfiguration of the project-based learning contracts signed by students in each class. The goal of the reconfiguration is to develop a mediation protocol for dealing with conflict and determine the best course of action for resolving accusations a student isn’t pulling his or her own weight when part of a team.

According to one of the schools’ principals, he hopes the group will find a way to increase positive peer pressure and accountability for the project-based learning teams.

During a project-based learning assignment, students tackle their work as a team. Teams define the questions to be asked, divvy up work, and develop “communication norms.” When complete, the outcomes are entered in a Google doc and signed by participants, showing that all agree to uphold the agreement. Unfortunately, some students do less work than others, despite the contracts, and some are less willing to share their work with the group. When this happens and collaborating is no longer an option, teams need to positively annual a student’s membership in a given team. The goal is that the mediation process in discussion will streamline this process.

According to those involved in negotiations, this has only happened one time, but it’s important to invest excessive resources and planning into developing a contingency plan, just in case. Students feel badly when this happens and they want a way to make the process easier for dealing with a student they feel isn’t pulling his or her weight.