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Conflict Resolution


The Oakland Unified School District Conflict Resolution program provides an opportunity for a representative group of students to use communication skills to manage and resolve interpersonal conflicts through mediation and/or restorative justice practices. Through mediation and circle processes students/parents/staff engage in peacemaking to solve conflicts that might otherwise result in harm and erode the necessary conditions for learning throughout the school day.

The OUSD Conflict Resolution program supports other efforts within the District to reduce pushout and foster academic success. Conflict resolution is an effective alternative to suspension and is a key component of the District’s comprehensive violence prevention plan for middle schools.

Programs and Services

The Conflict Resolution program selects a cross section of students and trains them to be peer mediators and circle keepers. Peer mediators in the program learn how to: be a peer leader, practice effective communication skills, express personal feelings and needs, listen without taking sides, problem-solve, improve school climate, and gain experience in civic participation within their school community.

Mediation is a style of bringing people involved in the conflict together to T.A.L.K. The process is facilitated by Conflict Managers (student mediators) and the Conflict Manager Program Coordinator. [T.A.L.K. = Tell your story; Ask for what you need; Look for solutions; Keep the best one(s)].

Restorative Justice practices allow youth and adults an opportunity to transform conflict into an opportunity to repair harm, promote accountability and allow for healing.

Middle Schools Implementing Conflict Resolution Programs in 2012-2013

Bret Harte

Edna Brewer
Elmhurst Community Prep

How Our Work is a Part of the Strategic Plan

The OUSD Conflict Resolution program supports the District’s goal of reducing racially disproportionate discipline (DMC) by resolving conflicts between students, which may otherwise result in fights, and subsequent suspensions. This program has been successful in increasing the feeling of safety and support in participating schools and aids in raising attendance and graduation rates. Additionally, this program:
  • Supports the District Board’s Restorative Justice Resolution; peer mediation is a primary restorative justice process.
  • Provides opportunities for youth to practice social emotional learning (SEL) skills, which are critical to success in school and after graduation.


The OUSD Conflict Resolution program is funded through the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth (OFCY) Grant, provided by the City of Oakland, which funds the implementation of conflict resolution programs in 10 OUSD middle schools.

For more information on the OUSD Conflict Resolution Program
, please contact:

Chen S. Kong-Wick
Program Manager, Violence Prevention

David Yusem
Program Manager, Restorative Justice


Last Modified on September 20, 2012