Karen Crowley-Marks receives 2018 Director’s Award at SCMA Fall Conference Dinner November 2, 2018 for her commitment to Peer Mediation at University High School in Los Angeles.
It all started in 2007 when Principal Elois McGhee had a vision to start a peer mediation program at Uni High School and appointed Karen to start it. Karen had no knowledge of peer mediation, but took the challenge to implement the program with six students.
Eleven years later, peer mediation has changed the climate at Uni High. It has increased student communication, decreased the suspension rate, and developed positive relationships on campus - "a win, win situation" in her words. The disputants are able to voice their concerns in a non-threatening, safe, confidential, and neutral environment. Once their conflict is resolved, students can focus on school and learning. The mediators, through extensive training and practice, build confidence, increased self-esteem, leadership skills, and develop a skill set that they will utilize long after high school.
Since 2007, nearly 400 students have been successfully trained as Peer Mediators. University High School is unique in that it is the only LAUSD high school on the Westside that offers such a program.
Karen’s strength was the ability to integrate Peer Mediation skills with Restorative Justice techniques.
In 2015, Karen was awarded the Educational Leadership Award from the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center (APADRC). In May, 2018, she was honored at the Galen Center by the Kids Managing Conflict foundation (KMC) for her 11 years of Peer Mediation service. Over the past 10 years, she has served on several Peer Mediation panels and was a guest speaker at the KMC symposium in April 2018. Most of all, Karen feels none of this could have been accomplished without the support and recognition of agencies such as the Southern California Mediation Association, the Western Justice Center, APADRC, and the Kids Managing Conflict foundation. For this she is eternally grateful.