The Birmingham City Council has unanimously approved $1 million for a conflict resolution program to be implemented in Birmingham City Schools using an “evidence-based, culturally relevant, holistic approach” to address issues related to anger management.
“This is another tool in our toolbox as we work to support prevention measures to address violent crime in our community,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin in a statement released on Monday. “I want to thank the Birmingham City Council as well as Birmingham City Schools for this partnership.”
The Common Ground strategy approved by the city council will provide the Habilitation, Empowerment, and Accountability Therapy (H.E.A.T) curriculum in high schools, middle schools, K-8, and alternative schools in the Birmingham City School district, according to the mayor’s office.
Up to 100 coaches will provide counseling twice each week within Birmingham City Schools participating in the program, with each identifying between 15 to 20 students for the program, with informational meetings with parents and guardians to arrive in the coming weeks.
The curriculum originated from a pilot program first implemented at Carver High School in 2021, with it currently being used in the city municipal court.
“We decided to take that same concept and adapt it to conflict resolution. Instead of talking about substance use or abuse, we talk about violence,” said Birmingham Municipal Court Presiding Judge Andra Sparks in a statement released Monday. “We have found the transition has been good. We have seen a significant difference in the young men that have gone through the program.”
The H.E.A.T curriculums’ creators, the Pinwheel Group, will be responsible for training coaches in the coming weeks, according to the mayor’s office.