Bismarck Public Schools Teaches School Staff Conflict Management


This week, teachers are becoming students.

They’re learning new ways to connect to their students.

The lessons they are learning  are all about dealing with conflict in and out of school. 

Century High School Assistant Principal Mark Murdock knows not all students come to school ready to learn.

“A lot of times students come to school there’s going to be some emotional things that they’re dealing with whether they’re coming from the home or whether it’s happening at school,” Murdock says.

Murdock says the course they are taking is designed to help teachers and staff de-escalate tense situations, then allowing students to count on a positive relationship with teachers and staff, something they may not have access to otherwise. 

“[We are] able to assess how we’re feeling, and how students might be feeling, and then provide strategies on how to help to successfully de-escalate,” Lindsey Dirk, special education coordinator says.

Studies show students are at a lower risk of acting out when they’re able to talk to somebody and feel like they are being heard.

“If a student is having conflict or they’re in an emotional state it’s difficult for them to focus on what they need to do in school academically,” Murdock says.“If we can recognize ahead of time, and then take the appropriate action to help them through,  then it doesn’t become a crisis situation.”

And by treating kids on a case by case basis, teachers and administrators can identify what each student needs and be better prepared to help them.

The American Psychological Association reports a positive relationship between teachers and students helps increase kids’ social skills and promotes higher academic performance.

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