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Hot Spot Mapping Program

Hot Spot Mapping is a student-driven program which asks students to identify places where and people with whom students feel most safe. As one of the first organizations piloting this initiative in Colorado, we have been able to develop innovative and interactive ways to include students in this important work and have received highly positive feedback from our partner school. Hot spot mapping has significant potential to help schools and other community organizations not only identify areas for improvement related to safety and culture, but also center the community in creating solutions.

Hot Spot Mapping is based in the principles of Positive Youth Development.1 We engage a core group of students within the school to facilitate the hot spot mapping activity, analyze the data, and present the findings to staff in order to brainstorm solutions together

What does hot spot mapping offer a school or other organization?

Hot Spot Mapping is designed to identify not only areas for improvement but where and who the assets are within the school. Once a school knows who their assets are from a student perspective, they can begin to identify what makes those teachers/staff members approachable and effective from the students’ perspective and work to replicate those best practices. Hot Spot Mapping also identifies both physical areas in the schools or the school premises where students gather and feel safe as well as the areas where students do not feel safe. Through this process, The Conflict Center can work with the school to identify strategies and practices to ensure a safe school environment for all students.

Our Approach

Rooted in the values of The Conflict Center, we take a strengths-based approach to Hot Spot Mapping — focusing on the positive that a school is already doing and learning from those practices. We also won’t shy away from difficult conversations that arise during the process and issues that need to be addressed. Results from the process are aggregated by grade, gender, race and sexual orientation, in an effort to identify whether certain spaces or people were more or less welcoming to different groups within the school. From here, we create a summary presentation for students to present to school staff to begin dialogue around school culture.

Program Highlights

The Conflict Center was chosen by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to pilot this student-led program

The Conflict Center is partnering with multiple local high schools in Denver

Students identified physical spaces in and near school where they felt safe and unsafe, as well as and teachers who make them feel secure.

The information is used by students and staff to improve school safety as well as identify promising practices.

Bring us to your school!

Hot Spot Mapping In the News

To inquire about the opportunity of bringing Hot Spot Mapping to your Colorado school, please contact our Program Coordinator at 303.865.5632 or taryn.fuchs@confictcenter.org.

In practice, positive youth development incorporates the development of skills, opportunities and authentic relationships into programs, practices and policies, so that young people reach their full potential. This practical lens depicts youth and young adults as resources to cultivate, as opposed to problems to fix, and is dependent upon the use of the following guiding principles: strengths-based approach, inclusive of all youth, engages youth as partners, collaboration and sustainability.

For more information or if you’re interested in bringing this program to your school, please contact Taryn Fuchs at taryn.fuchs@conflictcenter.org or 303.865.5632.