The Newtown School Negotiations: An Example of Effective Conflict Resolution

1. Introduction: Newtown School Negotiations

In all aspects of society life, conflicts are bound to occur. These conflicts are normal and may in fact contribute to the health of the community. However, when left unresolved, conflicts can lead to serious consequences such as violence, property damage, and emotional suffering. Given the potential negative outcomes of conflict, it is important to understand how to effectively manage and resolve them.

The Newtown School Negotiations is a prime example of how conflict can arise in even the simplest of places, and how important it is to have an effective strategy for managing and resolving it. The conflict began when the teacher’s association and the school board could not come to an agreement on a new contract. The teachers were asking for a raise, while the school board was trying to hold the line on costs. After several failed attempts at negotiation, both sides decided to bring in outside mediators to help resolve the conflict.

Through the use of mediation, the two sides were eventually able to come to an agreement that was acceptable to both parties. The process was not easy, and there were times when it appeared that the conflict would never be resolved. However, by using a constructive approach and staying focused on the goal of finding a resolution, the parties were eventually able to find common ground and reach an agreement.

2. What Is a Conflict?

A conflict is a disagreement between two or more parties over an issue or issues that are important to them. Conflicts can be caused by a variety of factors, including differing values, beliefs, or objectives. When a conflict arises, it is important to understand the underlying cause in order to effectively manage and resolve it.

3. Causes of Conflict

There are many different causes of conflict. Some common causes include:
-Different values or beliefs
-Differing objectives
– scarce resources
– Poor communication
– Personality clashes
– History of conflict
– Resentment or revenge

4. Conflict Management Styles

There are four common styles of conflict management: avoidance, accommodative, collaborative, and competitive.
-Avoidance is when one party tries to avoid the conflict altogether by ignoring it or withdrawing from the situation entirely.
-Accommodative is when one party tries to accommodate the other party by giving in or conceding on their position.
-Competitive is when each party tries to win or get their way by outdoing or overpowering the other party.
-Collaborative is when both parties work together to find a resolution that meets both their needs. This style is often considered the most effective as it leads to a resolution that both parties can live with.

5. Conclusion

Conflict is a natural part of life, and will occur in all aspects of society. However, when left unresolved, conflict can lead to serious consequences. Therefore, it is important to understand how to effectively manage and resolve conflict. The Newtown School Negotiations is a prime example of how conflict can arise and how it can be effectively resolved through the use of mediation.


The key points of contention in the Newtown school negotiations were the superintendent's salary, benefits, and contract length.

The parties involved ultimately reached a resolution by agreeing to a three-year contract with a salary increase and some additional benefits for the superintendent.

What could have been done differently to avoid such a lengthy and contentious negotiation process?

Was there any one issue that was particularly difficult to resolve? If so, why?

How did the experience of negotiating this contract affect the relationship between the board and superintendent?

Did either side make any concessions that they later regretted?