Common Ground program finishes up first semester in Birmingham City Schools

Published: Jun. 26, 2023 at 3:13 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Common Ground is a conflict resolution program held by the municipal court. This past school year, the program was held within Birmingham City School classrooms.

Presiding Judge for the City of Birmingham, Andra Sparks, said 360 students finished the program in the first semester. Sparks said the number one thing they learned was the importance of teaching conflict resolution at a young age.

For their final project, students had to come up with a community-based project and ways they could apply it.

“One of them talked about ego and how he believes ego is a driving factor in a lot of the problems we have. Some talk about fatherlessness. So many different issues. It was absolutely encouraging for us to see them,” said Sparks.

He said one thing the students really enjoy is the interaction with the coaches. Right now, there are 100 coaches trained to teach the course. Over the summer, 100 people are getting their certification to join the program.

“We need more people talking to kids, we need more adults in the community coming in and interacting with the kids because as much as they love the curriculum, they love their interaction with the adults even more,” said Sparks.

Over time, Sparks hopes to see a better Birmingham through the education.

“I think gradually, if we continue doing this in all sectors, we’ll see a less violent community. We’ll see kids more corporative, more peace-loving. That’s clearly our objective here and that helps the community as a whole.”

If you are interested in becoming a coach, you can find more information here.

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