Barranca Mesa Healthy Schools Team To Host Strategies For Managing & Resolving Conflict

Circle time in Aleandra Holcomb’s 4th grade class. Courtesy/LAPS

LAPS News:

In the schools and in the community we continue to experience the negative effects of the pandemic. Many people, children and adults alike, are struggling with rebuilding connections and managing conflict when it arises.

The Barranca Mesa Elementary Healthy Schools Team would like to invite parents and caregivers of elementary aged students to an opportunity to connect and discuss strategies for managing and resolving conflict.

The vision for Barranca School is that all students will develop positive relationships with peers, staff and feel connected to their school community. LAPS Healthy Schools teams at each site provide leadership, support, and guidance to their  building in the area of student and staff wellbeing. 

“According to research, developing conflict resolution skills helps children become more positive, productive, and kind and less anxious and stressed,” Barranca Principal Davine Jones said. “It is the basic premise of the ‘golden rule’ – learning to treat others and themselves with compassion is a good life skill regardless of age.” 

Strategies for Managing and Resolving Conflict will take place 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 at Barranca Mesa Elementary School. Light refreshments will be provided by the Barranca PTO. RSVP here to reserve your spot and help us plan for the event. Childcare and homework support will be provided upon request for children in grades kindergarten through 6th. Families districtwide are invited to attend. 

Guest speaker MaryBeth Stevens will share Top Tips from Crucial Conversations. Her presentation distills volumes of research into communication strategies which are immediately applicable in personal and professional life. The focus is on creating interpersonal safety for  problem-solving conversations and modifying the stories we tell about conflict and each other. 

Stevens is a listener, a speaker, and a singer, with over 30 years’ experience in crisis response and conflict resolution, including 23 years as organizational ombuds for the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her educational background in psychology was made practical by rich experience as an ombuds, mediator, critical incident debriefer and facilitator of trauma survivor groups. She regularly provides training on conflict resolution, communications and negotiations skills, and Mental Health First Aid. “She’s the proud mom of two amazing young women, and hopes they never find out how often she talks about them in her professional presentations.”

Following the introduction to crucial conversations, School Counselor Alyssa Romero and Principal Jones will demonstrate how staff at Barranca Elementary are using restorative circles to help build community and social emotional skills in the classroom. In addition, they will provide resources on how families can help students build skills for communicating clearly and resolving conflicts on their own. 

Romero has been in the field of education for 16 years and has experience as a school counselor and elementary teacher, all which have been at Barranca Mesa. Romero is a third generation of educators in her family. Helping children with learning key social and emotional tools that they will use the rest of their lives and making a positive impact in their lives is her passion. Romero believes in the importance of creating connections with students to help support them in their educational journal through kindness, support, and being a good listener. As a school counselor,  she supports students by teaching social and emotional lessons to all students through classwide counseling lessons. She also supports students on an individual and small group basis as needed. She’s the proud mom of two school aged boys who motivate her to be the best that she can be. 

Jones is in her second year as principal of Barranca Mesa Elementary School. She has over 30  years of experience in Education and a BA from U.C. Berkeley in Anthropology, an MA in Special Education, multiple teaching credentials, and law school experience. Jones has led school site secondary teams in Capistrano Unified as both a Program Specialist and Middle School Assistant Principal to increase graduation rates for students with special needs. Prior to coming to Los Alamos she was a principal in Orange Unified leading her elementary school in the development of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and Restorative Practices. Principal Jones has also served as adjunct faculty with California Baptist University and University of Phoenix as well as working as a subject matter expert on the Social Construction of Disability.

The Los Alamos Public Schools district coordinates a spectrum of prevention activities that are provided by school staff and community partners with funding support from Los Alamos County. The aim of the program is to build protective factors, life skills, and resilience and  reduce risk behaviors and harm to children and youth.

For more information or to offer suggestions to the LAPS Prevention Program, contact Prevention Support Specialist Kristine Coblentz at k.coblentz@laschools.net or 505.663.2575.

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