| Program: || Palms Council Project, Los Angeles, CA |
| Contact(s): || Joe Provisor, Project Coordinator: (310) 837-5236 |
| Purpose: || To provide training and ongoing community building among staff, students, parents, and community members |
The Palms Council Project was started in 1992 in response to racial tensions on campus in the wake of the Rodney King incident. The program was developed by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) as part of its Non-Violence and Conflict Resolution Programs, and was designed to give voice to the diverse student body and build community among all racial and ethnic groups.
Sixth and eighth grade students participate in Palms Council Project activities that are directly linked to curriculum standards involving speaking, listening and appreciation for multicultural and diverse viewpoints in literature and social studies. Classes are facilitated by an English teacher and one or two outside facilitators. Outside facilitators are formally trained at the Ojai Foundation and must serve at least one year under a mentor and program coordinators. The sixth graders are encouraged to speak and listen from the heart. They also engage in activities that foster group bonding and trust building, in addition to encouraging involvement, leadership and personal responsibility within the middle school community. Eighth grade participants preparing to move on to high school focus on recognizing personal change and visions for implementing personal and community goals. Council circles encourage students to allow open discussions about personal experiences and maintain individual short-term and long-term goals. There are 80 council group meetings on campus every week. Student councils, parents, community members, and staff members sit in monthly councils to discuss issues relevant to parenting and staff/parent/community relations. Staff members also sit in voluntary councils at each others' homes once a month. Funding comes from parent support, private grants, and the LAUSD.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Each year, 1,100 sixth and eighth graders participate in council activities. Several guidebooks have already been published and other guidelines and curricula are currently being developed.