Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Education

First Advisor

Doug R. Davis

Second Advisor

Jill D. Cabrera

Third Advisor

Mark E. Deschaine


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Students in the Anniston School District are placed in the alternative setting (i.e., the Avery Alternative Center) for fighting and violence more than any other disciplinary infraction. The disproportionality of students of color and minority groups enrolled in the alternative setting for fighting is also alarming. Why is this happening? Why does student conflict often end in physical aggression and violence, especially disputes involving minorities? What can stop the violence? Stakeholders in the Avery Alternative Center created Project GRIT to help answer these questions by incorporating research-based practices and interventions designed to strengthen conflict resolution skills in participants and support positive relationships among students. Interventions included Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) instruction and Restorative Practices (RP) counseling to support student behavior. Teachers taught the Overcoming Obstaclesâ„¢ SEL curriculum weekly in classrooms. The curriculum integrated the five SEL competencies: self-management, self-awareness, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness (CASEL, 2020). Individual and group RP coaching and counseling sessions were also conducted at the administrative level. The RP sessions provided opportunities to put the SEL skills learned in the weekly lessons to the test by bringing together the students who had fought to repair the harm done and promote positive relationships. The program evaluation results indicated Project GRIT was successful in strengthening conflict resolution skills among participants and positive relationships among the students. Findings indicated that social-emotional learning and restorative counseling interventions could be effective implications for practice when working to reduce violence and improve student behavior.



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