UCCR Educators Scholarship: Peacebuilders of Tomorrow Award Recipient
Congratulations, and thank you for your contributions in promoting peace and leadership in youth!
North West Middle School
Salt Lake City School District
Javier Viana has worked as an educator for Salt Lake City School District for seven years. For the past two years, Viana has taught Techniques for Tough Times, a research-based, field-tested, hands-on curriculum designed to develop social and emotional learning, to students at Northwest Middle School. Viana received guidance from Leigh VandenAkker, who developed the curriculum at East High School.
Viana innovated within this curriculum by designing and implementing a student-led mediation program for schools. He trains students to resolve interpersonal conflicts using a graphic organizer and communication techniques. As a result of his guidance, students in this mediation program are able to focus on what the “real problem” is, as well as the other person’s point of view, which has led to understanding and developing empathy. By the end of each mediation session, students work collectively to figure out the “win-win” solution to their conflict. Students involved report a sense of ownership of their school and relationships, as well as increased confidence and self-worth. Viana was honored to receive the Peacebuilder Scholarship Award funds, and plans to use them to pay student mediators for their hard work next year.
Copper Mountain Middle School
Jordan School District
Tami Ewell has been a teacher for 12 years. She currently teaches ninth grade English at Copper Mountain Middle School in Jordan School District. Tami loves to read, travel, and go jeeping with her family all over Utah. Last summer, Tami was able to travel with Global Education Allies to Rwanda where she worked with teachers, law students, and others at the Nyanza law school. They studied conflict resolution through the Arbinger Institute and then collaborated with the Rwandans on creating conflict resolution lessons and activities for students from elementary age to adults. They co-taught those lessons at different schools in Nyanza. Tami was also able to teach those same lessons to her students this fall. Tami recognizes the important role that schools play in educating students on peacebuilding skills and she looks forward to using the scholarship to develop more collaborative projects with her students and students in other countries to further their understanding of conflict resolution and to assist them in developing a global perspective. Tami would also like to use the scholarship to further explore is Online Dispute Resolution. Students are very involved in social media and are in need of learning conflict resolution skills that apply to online situations.