March 5, 2020
News & Updates

As we begin a new year, the center has undergone a number of changes including office renovations at the 2666 Riva Road location (YES, we are staying put), adding new members to our board of directors, volunteers (see below), adding new partners and new programming.

"This is just the beginning!"
On Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020 AACRC Mediators lead dialogues with community leaders, activists, elected officials, clergy, subject matter experts, and concerned residents at the county's first Hate Crimes and Bias Forum. To learn more about the event, please see the Capital Gazette article. The feedback from these sessions is currently being reviewed by the County Executive and the Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission for future sessions. Thank you to everyone who assisted us. We love our mediators!

Advocacy in Annapolis
There are a number of bills before the Maryland Legislature this year including bills focused on Restorative Justice, Hate Crimes, and Re-Entry that impact our communities and assist with advancing mediation services offered to youth and incarcerated individuals. Many of our volunteers and staff visited with elected officials and their staffs on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 during Community Mediation Maryland's Legislative Education Day in Annapolis sharing stories of how mediation uplifts and strengthens the communities they represent. We are here to assist their constituents and asked for their continued cooperation and use of our services. If you were unable to attend, please, consider joining us next year.

Newly Elected Board Members and Officers
Please welcome our new board members and officers (from left to right):
  1. Martha Mihaly-Black, PhD, Independent Grant & Proposal Consultant
  2. Sonya Penn, Chief Negotiator US Patent & Trademark Office
  3. *Kate Tkacik Sweeney, Director of Development St. John's College
  4. Kathy Gray, Retired Educator, AACRC Mediator (PBE Cert.)
  5. Edward Simon, Attorney
  6. Kris Chappell, Retired Educator, AACRC Mediator
  7. Pam Landry, Retired Educator and Administrator, AACRC Mediator
  8. Phil Reynolds, Retired UN Systems, AACRC Mediator returns to the board as the newly elected President for 2020.
* Kate Tkacik Sweeney will serve as Vice President.
Working for and with Anne Arundel County Resident
Board Meetings for 2020: March 11, May 13, June 10, Sept. 9, and Nov. 4

details to follow soon
If you would like to support the center or participate as a sponsor this year, please contact Kate Baker, Chair of the Development & Marketing Committee at Events
Continuum of ADR Services
IEP Facilitations
Facilitating IEP meetings is just one of many Education specific services AACRC offers. Did you know that parents and schools may request and have independent meeting facilitators present at an IEP Team meeting? The Independent Facilitator is a neutral party and their presence helps the team members communicate effectively and develop an educational program that meets the child’s needs. Our facilitators create an agenda with mutual agreement between the parents and the school through the use of communication skills to make sure everyone at the meeting feels heard and understood, and to summarize any consensus or recommendations that the team approves of.
Facilitators must be requested either by the parents or by the school.  The service is offered at no cost to the participants . IEP facilitators are not advocates for either party. They are neutral third parties who function without judgment. They have completed the required IEP advanced training through Community Mediation Maryland. 

Meetings can last anywhere between 1-3 hours. Facilitators are assigned to cases and will be consistent through the process unless there is a conflict in scheduling or a grievance is made against them. AACRC reserves the right to substitute a facilitator for any of the preceding reasons.

If you child has an existing IEP or you are currently working on developing and IEP with the school, please considering using AACRC to assist you during this process. Our PEACE Team would be honored to assist!
Restorative Practices

We and our partners have designed and implemented programs to strengthen the continuum of restorative practices in the City of Annapolis and the Annapolis school cluster in Anne Arundel County. Our goal is to reduce the involvement of African Americans and other youth of color in the criminal justice system through prevention and diversion strategies. We have chosen strategies that disproportionately divert African American youth. The strategy includes a full continuum of restorative justice interventions including circles (prevention) mediation (intervention) school based conferencing (diversion) and school reentry mediation (re-entry). Some of these components currently exist in Annapolis; this strategy focuses on filling gaps in this continuum and ensuring a comprehensive approach to all restorative justice practices.

Over this next year, AACRC will enhance School-Based Mediation (includes Attendance Mediation and Conflict Management Education) and integrate Anger Management Workshops in public, low-income, and subsidized housing communities in Annapolis.
Attendance Mediation

AACRC partners with Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) to offer attendance mediation services. Parents of students who have received multiple unexcused absences are referred to Attendance Mediation. The purpose of Attendance Mediation is for parents/guardians to collaborative with school officials to come up with ideas and solutions around attendance challenges. If you would like to know more about this service please contact us here.

We would like to spotlight our partner of the month: Decoding Dyslexia. Thank you for allowing AACRC to table at your Legislative Day in Feb. 2020.