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Theater Arts & Conflict Resolution Integration

Changing the Trajectory

Conflict Resolution

The Theater Arts & Conflict Resolution Integrated Program helps students feel connected to one another and supports self-expression while developing non-violent responses to conflict. The program helps to lower self-destructive risk factors in young people and increases their positive connections to self, peers, and the community.

Students are experiencing isolation and lack of normal connection with peers, as well as anxiety and depression following the pandemic and the overuse of technology and social media. Many kids are in crisis. Through the artistic process students learn to trust themselves and their decision-making abilities. Through the social emotional learning activities students discover coping mechanisms and strategies to get through feelings of anxiety and build confidence in their abilities to advocate for themselves while remaining respectful of others.

In this series of workshops for the classroom, NorCal emphasizes "Conflict Resolution" strategies for students. The mental health of students as well as students inability to engage with peers is promoting violence and destructive coping mechanisms. NorCal teaching artists use theater arts as a tool to teach and practice conflict resolution strategies in the classroom to engage students and promote positive connections to peers while building community thus decreasing the risk factors associated with violence.

In Fall 2022, NorCal School of the Arts was awarded a (two-year) federal grant to provide Title 1 schools in the City of Sacramento with a Theater Arts/SEL and Conflict Resolution Integration program. NorCal’s curriculum engages students in conflict resolution and violence prevention strategies through a kinesthetic, artistic approach using theater arts exercises, theater games and role playing. Press release:

This activity is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a State agency.

Here are a handful of testimonials from the teachers currently in the program:

Teacher Testimonial - Nicole, 9th Grade

Teacher Testimonial - Lisa, 8th Grade

Teacher Testimonial - Veronica, 3rd Grade

Teacher Testimonial - Veronica, 3rd Grade

Teacher Testimonial - Becky, 4th Grade


What Teachers Are Saying...

"Today after the lesson I was happy to overhear two students practicing listening with empathy. I walked by and was only able to catch the end of the conversation but was happy to know that they are in fact taking what they learn and using it."

Tabitha Lichtenhan | SCUSD Teacher

"Students are more supportive and considerate of one another since starting theater."

Sia Thao | SCUSD Teacher

"I LOVE this new series! Having students practice RECOGNIZING others emotions is really good. Having them be Captain Kindness and learn how to deal with others emotions is great. They need all the practice at empathy that they can get! Thank you for making this program available."

Pamela Flood | SCUSD Teacher

"My class looks forward to theater each week. I’ve noticed that some students have been coming out of their shells. "

Samia Ahmed | SCUSD Teacher

"I have been very happy and pleased with this program. I can tell my students enjoyed it a lot since they bring up the content being taught at times during the day and instruction time."

Guadalupe Reyes-Campos | SCUSD Teacher

"[Our teaching artist] connects with my students and is able to bring out their thoughts, opinions, ideas and strengths each time she visits our classroom."

Jani Winchester | SCUSD Teacher

"I want to thank you for bringing the theater experience into my class and how much students learned and grew from the conflict resolution lessons. [Our teaching artist] did a great job. "

Angelina Flores | SCUSD Teacher

"I would like to thank you for giving my class the opportunity to participate in this great program. I would like to also tell you that [our teaching artist] did an amazing job with my class. The students loved her and looked forward to seeing her every Friday (they would say with a smile on their faces "today is fun Friday,[our teaching artist] comes today!" ). [She] did an excellent job with my kinder students. She knew how to keep them focused and motivated (not an easy task with this age group...lots of energy). Again, thank you! "

Rosario Ruiz | SCUSD Teacher

"My class always loves when [our teaching artist] comes and does activities and she will be missed! She implemented great SEL and conflict resolution activities! She also had a great relationship with the class. "

Angelica Martinez | SCUSD Teacher

"I want to thank you for allowing us to participate in your program. I have several students with challenges and [our teaching artist] worked wonders. My student who is a selective mute spoke to her today!!"

Josette Breaux | SCUSD Teacher

"I'm just grateful for this program. The students have really enjoyed it and benefited from it."

Julia Mayer | SCUSD Teacher

"I am so grateful for all of [our teaching artist's] hard work and dedication. She shared her love of theater and learning with the students. Her positive energy and delivery of SEL skills were presented in a fun and meaningful way. Thank you so much providing these sessions for our students! They had so much fun and learned a lot! The lessons made in impact on our daily routine and use of SEL skills."

Dana Romo | SCUSD Teacher

"Thank you for your amazing program. You are teaching life skills that most adults don't have. [Our teaching artist] is amazing and the kids really love working with her."

Sherry Milton | SCUSD Teacher

"Mindfulness and conflict management were presented in a fantastic way! This is a great way to have kids learn how to work through conflict! I really hope we will be able to continue this program next year! AND every teacher on our site would love to have [our teaching artist] return!"

Kim Bartholomew | SCUSD Teacher

"It was great having [our teaching artist] this year. I learned a lot from her. I hope to use some of her teachings with my future students. Especially, strategies that involves solving misunderstandings or finding solutions to resolve their conflicts."

Kalvin Saelee | SCUSD Teacher

"I have truly enjoyed this program! It is well put together and the students love it. I sure hope there will be opportunities next year to continue the program. Thank you!"

Tabitha Lichtenhan | SCUSD Teacher

"[Our teaching artist] is a remarkable teacher! Very inclusive and patient! We would love him to come twice a week!"

Lesa Hertel | SCUSD Teacher

"I appreciate what you are trying to do with the mindfulness lessons. The kids really need to learn how to listen to their bodies and take a moment to think when they get upset. This lesson was very much needed for a few of my students but it was good for ALL of them."

Suzanne Gonzales | SCUSD Teacher

"[Our teaching artist] has high academic/visual arts expectations for ALL students. Most of the children in the classroom are newcomers or are limited in English. [I'm g]lad [our teaching artist] is working with me to teach higher level skills, regardless of the childrens home language. "

Dr. Graciela Uribes | SCUSD Teacher

"[Our teaching artist] took the initiative in solving my students problems from the lunch recess. She used the 4 Steps to Mindfulness along with Four Part of Apology methods. The girls opened up to her and they all became best friends again."

Kalvin Saelee | SCUSD Teacher