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Program Profile: Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (New York City)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on May 16, 2013

Program Summary

A universal, school-based intervention for elementary students that promotes violence prevention as well as positive social and emotional learning. The program is rated Promising. The evaluation found higher levels of classroom instruction improved children's social-cognitive processes, reduced behavioral issues and decreased teacher's perceptions of youth problem behavior.

Program Description

Program Goals
The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP) is a universal, school-based intervention that focuses on character education and social and emotional learning. RCCP aims to teach children self-management, cooperation, and problem-solving skills and promote interpersonal effectiveness and intercultural understanding. Specific program objectives include (1) reducing violence and violence-related behavior, (2) promoting caring and cooperative behavior, (3) teaching students about life skills in conflict resolution and intercultural understanding, and (4) promoting a positive climate for learning in the classroom and school.

First developed as an initiative of the New York City public schools and Educators for Social Responsibility Metropolitan Area (now Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility), RCCP is characterized by a comprehensive, multiyear strategy for preventing violence and creating caring communities of learning to improve school success for all children. The intervention has two major components: (1) training and coaching of teachers to support them in implementing a curriculum in conflict resolution and intergroup understanding, and (2) delivery of that curriculum in classroom instruction for children provided by the trained teachers.

Program Theory
Childhood risk factors for becoming violent offenders are frequently experienced before adolescence and may include conduct problems, violence exposure, and social–cognitive processes (Aber, Jones, and Brown 2003). RCCP is based on the notion that early intervention strategies when children are forming patterns of behaviors and attitudes can mediate or reduce children’s risk for future development of aggressive, antisocial, or violent behavior.

Research also indicates that such behaviors are affected by such experiences as history of harsh parenting, failure to succeed in schools, or deviant peer environments where violence is normative, all of which increase the probability of aggression and violence by children. These potential causal mechanisms link early exposure to ecological risk with future developmental outcomes of aggression and violence (Aber, et al. 2003). As such, RCCP draws on developmental theory and research on patterns of youth violence and antisocial attitudes to help project children’s developmental trajectories or risk factors that can be identified and influenced. RCCP also incorporates components of social learning theory by using methods and skillsets that rely on observation and modeling to influence children’s behavior.

Key Personnel
RCCP is taught by teachers who receive training from RCCP staff, including a 25-hour introductory training and ongoing coaching to support program implementation. A teacher’s role in the lessons is to facilitate student-directed discussions and learning. School administrators and peer mediators may also be involved in program implementation.

Program Activities
RCCP is structured into 51 lessons tailored to be developmentally appropriate for a given age group. The RCCP curriculum aims to develop several core skills, such as countering bias, resolving conflicts, fostering cooperation, appreciating diversity, communicating clearly, expressing feelings, and dealing with anger. The lessons are organized into skill units, structured in workshop format, and designed to last from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Students are taught active listening, assertiveness, negotiation, and problem solving through such methods as role playing, interviewing, small group discussions, and brainstorming.

RCCP also helps staff to establish peer-mediation programs, parent training workshops, and other school-wide initiatives that build student leadership in conflict resolution and intergroup relations. Schools can choose to incorporate other components of RCCP, including Peace in the Family workshops for parents that have an option of preparing them to become workshop leaders, and training for paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and security staff to help them learn skills they can use in their roles to contribute to a positive school culture.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
The main and interaction effects of the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP) intervention components, specifically classroom instruction and teacher training and coaching, were tested in the Intervention Model (Model 3). For each of the targeted outcomes, results from the unconditional model indicated significant unexplained variation around the intercept, linear, and quadratic parameters. These results suggested that individual children varied significantly in each of the targeted outcomes in intercept, rates, and shape of change over time (across ages 6.0 to 12.5). Therefore, modeling the parameters of intercept, linear change, and curvilinear change was necessary to adequately understand children’s trajectories on these measures of social–emotional development. (Please note no model is preferred over another). Researchers also estimated the preintervention differences and growth over time while controlling for possible selection bias.

While the rates of changes observed at different ages did vary, intervention effects were for the most part consistent across different demographic groups. The trajectories were identical for nearly all subgroups of children as defined by their gender, race/ethnicity, and economic resources (as delineated by school lunch eligibility).

Overall, the authors observed three patterns of unconditional growth across the eight measures of social–emotional development. Late acceleration (positive curvilinear change) characterized the growth patterns for hostile attribution bias, aggressive interpersonal negotiation strategies, and teacher ratings of prosocial behavior. Steady increase (positive linear change) characterized the growth patterns for children’s reports of their conduct problems, and gradual deceleration (negative curvilinear change) best characterized children’s trajectories in competent interpersonal negotiation strategies, teachers’ reports of aggressive behavior, and children’s reports of aggressive fantasies and depressive symptoms.

Children’s Social–Cognitive Processes
Classroom instruction and teacher training and coaching significantly affected social cognitive processes, such that higher levels of classroom instruction were associated with lower levels of hostile attribution bias and aggressive strategies, and with higher levels of competent interpersonal strategies. In contrast, higher levels of teacher training and coaching were significantly associated with an increase in hostile attribution bias, aggressive strategies, and a decline in competent interpersonal strategies. (It should be noted that these findings were not consistent across all models.)

Behavioral Symptomology
Higher levels of exposure to classroom instruction in the RCCP and lower levels of exposure to teacher training and coaching were related to significant reductions in conduct problems (linear main effects), depression (curvilinear main effects), and aggressive fantasies. Higher levels of classroom instruction relative to levels of teacher training and coaching were associated with relatively consistent levels of aggressive behavior and increases in prosocial behavior.

Teacher Perceptions of Child Behavior
More classroom instruction was associated with lower aggression and higher prosocial behavior in the average and linear models as perceived by teachers. Classroom instruction and exposure to RCCP lessons also directly predicted growth in math achievement and related to decreases in teacher perceptions of youth problem behavior.

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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Aber, Jones, and Brown (2003) used a short-term, longitudinal, quasi-experimental design with repeated measures, and matched comparison groups for their evaluation of the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP). Exposure to the RCCP intervention was operationalized using data on two primary RCCP components: teacher training and coaching and classroom instruction.

Data was collected from the 1994–95 (year 1) and 1995–96 (year 2) academic school years when RCCP was implemented in 112 of the 1,067 New York City public elementary, middle, and high schools. There were four data collection waves across the two evaluation years. This evaluation concentrated on the children and teachers drawn equally from 15 of these elementary schools across four New York City school districts.

The elementary schools were initially divided into four groups on the basis of stage of intervention: nonintervention, the beginning stage of intervention, integration of some program components, and integration of all program components. Groups of schools were chosen whose student race/ethnicities, poverty statuses, and school sizes were compatible across districts and stages of RCCP implementation, and that represented the public elementary school population in New York City. Each school in the evaluation represented one of four different stages of program implementation.

All students in each of the 15 participating schools (excluding those mentally or physically challenged) were included in the study. On the basis of these criteria, 11,160 children participated in this study. The sample was 48 percent female, 40 percent black, 41 percent Hispanic, 14 percent white, and 5 percent “other” (including Native American and Asian-American). On key demographic factors, this sample of children resembled the larger population of children receiving RCCP. Data was also collected from 375 teachers in year 1 and 371 teachers in year 2 of the study. The average ages of the sample of first through sixth grade students ranged from 6 to 12.5 years.

Data was collected from four different sources. Data on exposure to the RCCP curriculum was extracted from years 1 and 2 of the management information system designed and operated by Educators for Social Responsibility Metropolitan Area (ESR Metro). Student demographic data was gathered from school information provided by the New York City Board of Education. School lunch eligibility status (free, reduced price, and full price) also served as a proxy for socioeconomic status. Individual student developmental data was collected through child–teacher report assessments in both the fall and spring of the two consecutive school years. Child report data was collected by a multiracial field team using classroom-based group administration procedures during classroom periods, whereas teacher report data on children was collected from individual teachers at the end of each data collection.

Aber and colleagues looked at developmental trajectories of (1) teachers’ reports of children’s aggressive and prosocial behaviors, (2) children’s reports of their own behavioral symptomatology, and (3) children’s social–cognitive processes as the measures of program influence. A number of tools were used and outcome measures were collected from both children and teachers. The child report data was conceptualized as falling within two broad domains: social–cognitive processes and children’s reports of their own behavioral symptomatology. Teacher report data focused specifically on children’s aggressive and prosocial behaviors as observed by their classroom teachers.

  • Social-Cognitive Processes. Three features of children’s social–cognitive processes were measured via self-report: children’s hostile attribution biases, aggressive interpersonal negotiation strategies, and competent interpersonal negotiation strategies. Children’s hostile attribution biases towards peers and aggressive interpersonal negotiation strategies in reactive situations were measured separately with adaptions of the Home Interview with Child instrument. Competent interpersonal negotiation strategies in proactive situations were measured with the Problem-Solving Measure for Conflict (PSM-C).
  • Behavioral Symptomatology. Children’s self-reports of conduct problems and depressive symptoms were also measured using the Seattle Personality Inventory, while self-reports of aggressive fantasies were assessed with the What I Think instrument.
  • Teacher Perceptions. Two constructs concerning teachers’ perceptions of children’s behavior were assessed, child aggressive behavior and child prosocial behavior. Child aggressive behavior covered an average of six items from the Teacher Checklist. Child prosocial behavior was assessed using the Social Competence Scale and rated by teachers using a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (very well).

Analyses for the evaluation were conducted with Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM), with full maximum likelihood estimation used for all models. HLM allows for the simultaneous estimation of variance associated with individual (within-subject) and population (between-subjects) growth curves, based on the specification of fixed- and random-effect variables in the model.

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Cost

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Curriculum materials for the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP) can be purchased through the Educators for Social Responsibilities Metropolitan Area (ESR Metro) Web site. K-2 curriculum: http://engagingschools.org/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=21&products_id=14. Grade 3-5 curriculum: http://engagingschools.org/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=21&products_id=15. Schools can also get information on prices of teacher training, follow-up by RCCP staff developers, and ongoing teacher support.
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Implementation Information

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The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP) has been designed for kindergarten through 12th grade students. It was initially implemented in New York City, but has since been replicated nationwide in over 400 schools. The program can be implemented across school settings and for general populations of students.

RCCP is currently provided and distributed by Educators for Social Responsibilities Metropolitan Area (ESR Metro). The core training is required for all educators who will deliver the program. ESR Metro offers multiple options for schools or districts to get started with RCCP so that schools or districts can begin with one, several, or all of the program components. In addition, RCCP can provide training for interested schools and districts.

With RCCP, schools receive the following:

  • A planning meeting and data collection to assess the needs of each school and customize the program to address those needs;
  • A 25-hour introductory course for teachers complete with curriculum materials, followed by on-site classroom visits, coaching, and consultation with all participants;
  • Peer-mediation training for school coordinators, adult coaches, and students;
  • Training for administrators so that they can utilize their leadership skills in promoting healthy social and emotional development, positive intergroup relations, and constructive resolution of conflict;
  • Peace in the Family workshops for parents with an option to prepare them to become workshop leaders; and
  • Training for paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and security staff to help them learn skills they can use in their roles to contribute to a positive school culture.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Aber, J. Lawrence, Joshua L. Brown, and Stephanie M. Jones. 2003. “Developmental Trajectories Toward Violence in Middle Childhood: Course, Demographic Differences, and Response to School-Based Intervention.” Developmental Psychology 39(2):324–348.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Aber, J. Lawrence, Joshua L. Brown, and Christopher C. Henrich. 1999. Teaching Conflict Resolution: An Effective School-Based Approach to Violence Prevention. New York, NY: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty.

Aber, J. Lawrence, Stephanie M. Jones, Joshua L. Brown, Nina Chaudry, and Faith Samples. 1998. “Resolving Conflict Creatively: Evaluating the Developmental Effects of a School-Based Violence Prevention Program in Neighborhood and Classroom Context.” Development and Psychopathology 10:187–213.

Aber, J. Lawrence, Sara Pederson, Joshua L. Brown, Stephanie M. Jones, and Elizabeth T. Gershoff. 2003. Changing Children’s Trajectories of Development: Two-Year Evidence for the Effectiveness of a School-Based Approach to Violence Prevention. New York, NY: Columbia University, National Center for Children in Poverty.
http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_554.pdf

Brown, Joshua L., Tom Roderick, Linda Lantieri, and J. Lawrence Aber. 2004. “The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program: A School-Based Social and Emotional Learning Program.” In Joseph E. Zins, Roger P. Weissberg, Margaret C. Wang, and Herbert J. Walberg (eds.). Building Academic Success on Social and Emotional Learning: What Does the Research Say? New York, NY: Teachers College Press, pp. 151–169.
http://www.innerresilience.com/documents/Resolving%20Conflict%20Creatively%20Program%20A%20school%20based%20SEL%20Learning%20Program%20-%202004.pdf

Dejong, William. 1994. “Building the Peace: The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP).” Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.

Metis Associates, Inc. 2001. Resolving Conflict Creatively Program—Anchorage Public Schools Evaluation: Executive Summary. New York, NY: Metis Associates, Inc.
http://www.asdk12.org/depts/SDFS/RCCP/Metis_RCCP_Report.pdf

Selfridge, Jennifer. 2004. “Resolving Conflict Creatively Program: How We Know It Works.” Theory Into Practice 43(1):59–66.
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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

School-Based Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs
Designed to foster the development of five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective, and behavioral competencies, in order to provide a foundation for better adjustment and academic performance in students, which can result in more positive social behaviors, fewer conduct problems, and less emotional distress. The practice was rated Effective in reducing students’ conduct problems and emotional stress.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Juvenile Problem & At-Risk Behaviors - Multiple juvenile problem/at-risk behaviors
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Mental Health & Behavioral Health - Internalizing behavior



Universal School-Based Prevention and Intervention Programs for Aggressive and Disruptive Behavior
Universal school-based prevention and intervention programs for aggressive and disruptive behavior target elementary, middle, and high school students in a universal setting, rather than focusing on only a selective group of students, with the intention of preventing or reducing violent, aggressive, or disruptive behaviors. The practice is rated Effective in reducing violent, aggressive, and/or disruptive behaviors in students.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - More than one Meta-Analysis Juvenile Problem & At-Risk Behaviors



School-Based Conflict Resolution Education
This practice aims to reduce school-based conflict and encourage long-term prosocial behavior. It teaches students to understand the nature of the conflict and provides options for responding. This practice is rated Promising for multiple problem or at-risk behaviors. Student participants in the programs reported significantly fewer antisocial behaviors than students in the control group.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Juvenile Problem & At-Risk Behaviors - Multiple juvenile problem/at-risk behaviors
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Program Snapshot

Age: 6 - 13

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, American Indians/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): School

Program Type: Classroom Curricula, Conflict Resolution/Interpersonal Skills, School/Classroom Environment, Children Exposed to Violence, Violence Prevention

Targeted Population: Children Exposed to Violence

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Child Exposure to Violence Evidence Based Guide, Campbell Collaboration, Model Programs Guide, Promising Practices Network , Guide to Community Preventive Services

Program Developer:
Tom Roderick
Executive Director
Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 550
New York NY 10115
Phone: 212.870.3318 ext: 32
Fax: 212.870.2464
Website
Email

Program Director:
Larry Dieringer
Executive Director
Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR)
23 Garden Street
Cambridge MA 02138
Phone: 617.492.1764 ext: 18
Fax: 617.864.5164
Website
Email

Researcher:
Lawrence Aber
Willner Family Professor in Psychology & Public Policy, and University Professor
New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Kimball, 246 Greene Street, 417E
New York NY 10003
Phone: 212.998.5410
Website
Email

Training and TA Provider:
Larry Dieringer
Executive Director
Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR)
23 Garden Street
Cambridge MA 02138
Phone: 617.492.1764 ext: 18
Fax: 617.864.5164
Website
Email

Training and TA Provider:
Tom Roderick
Executive Director
Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 550
New York NY 10115
Phone: 212.870.3318 ext: 32
Fax: 212.870.2464
Website
Email