MSCS launches ‘Project Restore’ to help students peacefully resolve conflict

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 6:46 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Just a little over a month into the school year, Memphis-Shelby County School students are starting to see a trend of issues arising in the classroom.

“Kids like to argue with the teachers. Always back-and-forth with teachers, you know, friends,” said one student.

So, MSCS has launched the second cohort of “Project RESTORE” to remedy some of the issues.

The program trains selected students in six focus areas: resilience, relationship building, conflict resolution, non-violent responses, social-emotional learning and workplace readiness.

(Action News 5)

The Program’s instructional facilitator, Dr. Kendrick Alexander, says the students are chosen very carefully because they are considered ambassadors to help fix the issues at their schools.

“With kids who are pretty much Tier 2 or Tier 3, and we’re trying to get them an outlet to build relationships with people within their schools so that they can have someone to go and talk to when they experience a problem,” said Dr. Alexander.

The program’s purpose is to give students and staff the tools and skills to resolve conflicts peacefully.

Executive director Dr. Angela Hargrave says, “Knowing how to have a conversation as opposed to just getting angry and lashing out because of the conflict or disagreement.”

The first cohort included 10 schools. Afterward, 8 of the 10 showed significant decreases in incidents.

The second cohort is adding 15 more schools in hopes of seeing even more positive results.

“To have all 15 schools that are participating to have drops in incidents and give those kids positive outlets.” Dr. Alexander said.

Dr. Kendrick Alexander, Instructional Facilitator
Dr. Kendrick Alexander, Instructional Facilitator(Action News 5)

The students say they are excited and up for the challenge.

Frank Sea, a 12th-grade ambassador, says he is hoping to gain some important skills while participating.

“More stuff to avoid, like conflict, and all that. You know, to help my friends in situations,” Sea said.

The program is expected to run through testing in April.

Officials say if they see success from the program in the schools involved and have enough funding, they will expand it to other schools in the district.

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