2000 Partnership Optimas Award Profile Connecticut State Department of Education
Real HR: There are many casualties of violence at school, and teachers’ ability to teach effectively is among them.
In the 17-school Connecticut State Regional Vocational-Technical School community, the problem was acute. In 1995-96, students lost 16,000 days of school because of disciplinary suspension, and 41% of students reported that they had had trouble with the police.
Overwhelmed teachers were using the system’s EAP in record numbers, asking the union to take action, and looking to HR for help.
Real Impact: In response, HR forged a landmark labor-management partnership to give all faculty, administrators, staff and students the skills to resolve conflict without violence.
More than 1,400 employees and 200 students have been trained. In the process, HR helped revise the school curriculum to give students the conflict resolution skills, and additional security staff was hired at the schools.
Together, the actions have made a dramatic difference: Tensions are eased, schools are safer and teachers are focused on teaching.