WACO, TX — The Waco Independent School District has received a $17,000 federal grant to implement peer mediation programs.
The Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Mental Health grant will help the school district increase school safety through trainings for campus, behavior professionals and administrators.
“One of our top priorities is creating and sustaining safe and supportive learning environments for our students and staff,” said Dr. Rachelle Warren, Waco ISD’s Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Support. “Empowering students to be active partners in this effort significantly increases the effectiveness of peer mediation and its long-term impact.”
Waco ISD will also partner with Education Service Center Region 12 and local community organizations to help facilitate the implementation.
Staff will participate in sessions on conflict resolution and mediation, as well as receive guidance on developing student peer mediators and establishing peer mentoring programs on secondary campuses.
“This has come at a crucial time for us with the ongoing stress of the pandemic,” said Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon. “Teaching students effective coping skills and self-regulation are critical to not only their social and emotional health but also their educational success.”
The district completed initial training for all secondary campus personnel during the 2019-2020 school year. The Positive Behavior and Intervention Support (PBIS) aims to address conflicts that could result in physical violence.
“We believe in continuous improvement, particularly when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of our behavior intervention programs,” Warren said. “The STOP grant will support our continued efforts to address the mental health and well-being of our students, and ultimately lead to safer campus climates.”