Peer Mediation Tournament for Middle & High School Students

Are you a high school counselor coordinating a peer mediation program?  Running a peer mediation program has been a joy for me and these students make a difference in our school.  However, I find that my students' skills are often underappreciated.  In 2008, I joined the Association for Conflict Resolution and met some really fantastic conflict resolution trainers and specialists who turned me on to the idea of peer mediation tournaments.  Since 2008, I have had the privilege of judging many college tournaments and coaching students in tournaments. Now, I am coordinating a peer mediation tournament for middle and high school tournaments online.  

Please check out the Online Peer Mediation Platform's 1st Annual International Peer Mediation Tournament below.  If you are interested in participating, registration begins January 2nd. 

 The 2024 NAPPP/OPMP Peer Mediation Tournament is coming soon!!  

In this post, the OPMP team would like to share an overview about the tournament, a link to a short video explaining the tournament, a link for schools to registration, and the official tournament manual.

If you have any questions about the tournament, please contact the Online Peer Mediation Platform for more information!

Check out this brief video about the tournament and where you can access more information.

Peer Mediation Team

A peer mediation team consists of the following members: two disputants and two mediators.


The school’s peer mediation coordinator/administrator/counselor/teacher may register a team.  Registration per team is $40.00.  Once the fee is processed, the team will be registered for the tournament.  Each school will receive a confirmation email with the next steps. A limited number of scholarships are available for schools. Registration begins on January 2nd and closes January 31st.  There is no limit to the number of teams a school may register. 

School Registration Form

Coaching Services

A peer mediation team may request a coach.  A coach may consult with a team virtually and the school is responsible for setting up coaching consulting meetings. 

Tournament Timeline

The tournament will be held between March 1st and May 31st.

Timeline for Tournament




Call for participants!




Distribution of Scenarios


March - May 

Tournament Agreement

Tournament Begins March 1st and Ends May 31st


Announcement of Winners


Feature on OPMP Website

Mandatory Orientation 

Each peer mediation team must participate in a virtual orientation by February 28th and complete a consent form outlining responsibilities, requirements for participation and understanding of the tournament process.  Questions from the peer mediation team can be submitted by email from the peer mediation coordinator.  The OPMP team will have complete discretion in answering questions related to the cases and rules.

Tournament Process

The NAPPP/OPMP Peer Mediation Tournament is designed to pair peer mediation teams using the same scenario and same processes in a basketball style tournament.  An email will be sent to the school contact notifying the team about the orientation video that must be viewed by February 28th and the form to be completed. 

Once the form is sent to the OPMP team, a confirmation email of entrance into the tournament will be sent to the school contact with the conflict scenario and name and contact information of the OPMP judge. From the date of the email, the team advisor will have 3 school days to reply to the OPMP judge with three different dates that the team can compete. The team will have a total of three weeks from the day of the OPMP notification of entrance to complete your first peer mediation with one of the OPMP mediation judges. A list of judges, the dates they are available to judge mediations, and their emails will be provided to the advisor. 

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The event consists of three rounds. The first round will eliminate half of the teams that have entered the tournament. For example, if eight teams are entered into the first round, by the end of Round 1 the four teams with the highest scores will advance to Round 2.

Round 2 will eliminate half of the teams and the remaining teams with the highest scores will advance to Round Three. For example, if four teams are in Round 2 then the two teams with the highest scores will advance to Round 3. 

The third and final round will consist of the remaining two teams. The team with the highest score will be declared the winner of the tournament. Each round consists of one mediation. Each mediation is scheduled to be 45 minutes long.

Be advised that if your team does not complete your mediation within the designated three-week period, your team will automatically be eliminated from the tournament. There are NO exceptions to the three-week time frame for completing your first mediation. 

Your school’s team will be allowed to reschedule your mediation date one time within the allotted time frame (three weeks) due to unforeseen events that might keep your team from keeping their original scheduled mediation date. If your team discovers they cannot make the second mediation date scheduled, please have your advisor reach out to the OPMP team to cancel your date. Your team will be eliminated from the tournament if they cannot mediate within the three-week time frame. 

Again, all participating schools will have three weeks to complete their first mediation. On the last day of the third week, judges will submit team scores to the OPMP team by 5 pm ET. OPMP will post all scores to the OPMP website by 7 pm ET and will send an email to your advisor to inform them if your school will be moving onto the second round. If your school does not move on to Round 2 your advisor will also be notified that same day.

The advisor or coordinator will have a 24-hour window to schedule the team's second debate with an OPMP mediation judge. The team will have a two-week period in which the school must schedule and complete the second mediation. The school advisor will be able to reschedule your date once within the two-week period. The team will automatically be eliminated if they do not meet these time frames. Scores from the second meditations will be posted following the same rules and time frame as Round 1.

Teams that advance to the third round will have one week to schedule and complete their third mediation. Just like in the first two rounds, team advisors will have 24 hours to schedule the third mediation with an OPMP mediation judge. After the final mediation round is completed, OPMP will post the winner of the OPMP peer mediation tournament on the OPMP website by 5 pm ET the following day. OPMP will personally call the peer mediation advisor the following day before 5 pm ET to inform him/her that your team is the winner of the tournament. Second and third place winners will also be listed on the OPMP website. OPMP will personally call the team advisors to inform them if your team placed second or third in the tournament. All other participating teams will be able to view their scores on the OPMP website to see where their school team placed in the overall standings of the tournament. Your team advisor will receive an email informing them that your team scores have been posted to the website.

All rounds must be completed by May 31st


As peer mediators, you will be graded on your ability to work together with your co-mediator. You will be judged on each of the five steps of the mediation process. The judges will grade mediators on their opening statements, their ability to gather facts, their ability to help the disputants see the strengths and weaknesses, their ability to evaluate options, and their ability to help guide the parties to a resolution of the dispute that brought them to mediation. Your disputant's performance will have no factor in your final score. There are seven categories your team will be judged on. The categories for mediators are: (1) Opening Statement of the Mediator; (2) Storytelling; (3) Position/Interests; (4) Evaluation/Options (5) Agreement (6) Cooperation Between Mediators; and (7) Self-Reflection. The five mediation skill categories receive 0-15 points in each skill and the cooperation and reflection receive a total 0-25 points between the two categories. 


Each mediator must make an opening statement. The mediators can decide who goes first and whether they will coordinate their remarks or make them independently. The judges understand that the co-mediators’ remarks may be quite similar. Each co-mediator must conduct a caucus during the mediation. The co-mediators can decide who will conduct the first caucus and with which disputant, but each mediator must conduct a caucus with a different disputant. The co-mediator not conducting the caucus will observe and may ask clarifying questions at the end of the caucus. The mediators are responsible for ensuring that caucus time is used effectively. As a guideline, caucuses of longer than 5 minutes are discouraged.


The school advisor will receive in the acceptance package a list of qualified OPMP mediation judges. The advisor has 3 days to contact the OPMP tournament committee with three different dates your team will be available to mediate. Within 48 hours of receipt of the email from your advisor, an OPMP mediation judge will email the advisor with a confirmed date for your mediation. The advisor will need to give the judges a valid email address and phone number for the judges to contact them. There is one judge for each round. The judges will score independently of each other. Judges are provided with all the information provided to the teams. 

Judge Registration Form

Cases To Be Mediated

In each round the same case will be used for all mediations. The case scenario will include a common set of facts (“General Information”) disclosed to both sides and the co-mediators and a separate confidential fact sheet given to each side (“Confidential Information”). The mediators will not receive the confidential fact sheets.


Responsibility rests with the student participants for timekeeping and adherence to the allotted time periods. Each mediation is limited to 45 minutes. Preparation for Self-Reflection is limited to 5 minutes, and each Self Evaluation is limited to 5 minutes. Judges are instructed to strictly enforce time limits.


Each participant will have five minutes to honestly answer these questions at the conclusion of the mediation:

1) If you had to do the mediation over again, what would you do the same and what would you do differently? 

2) What were your strengths and weaknesses as a peer mediation team? 

The order of self-reflection will be determined by the judge. Judges may ask questions during self-reflection but should not offer assessment at this time. 


School coordinators may assist their students up until the beginning of the first round of the mediation tournament.  They may observe the mediations in which their teams are participating. They may also observe all evaluations associated with mediations in which their teams are participating. School coordinators may not communicate in any way with the participating team members until the mediation round is complete.


Schools may contact an OPMP coach via email with questions and/or request a consultation. Advisors must give coaches a list of three dates they are available for a phone or video consultation.  A list of coaches will be made available to school peer mediation coordinators and advisors after registration is finalized. Coaches may confer with their students up until the mediation begins. Coaches and other people (i.e. peer mediation coordinators or administrators) associated with a team may observe the mediations in which their teams are participating to give feedback. They may also observe all self-reflections associated with mediations in which their teams are participating. 

They may not examine or “investigate” any other teams

Coach Registration Form


The purpose of this competition is to help students develop their skills. The focus is on how the students perform during the round. Therefore, no pre-prepared materials may be brought into the round to be presented to the judges or other competitors in the round. Mediations will be held via Zoom and mediators may use a specific set of forms provided by NAPPP/OPMP to document information. Teams may also use a whiteboard on Zoom.


Teams are expected to be on time for all scheduled competition events. Teams must be online for the mediation up to 10 minutes before the mediation. Teams that are late for their round by 5 minutes are subject to penalties, up to and including disqualification from the competition.

Advancing to the Final Rounds

After the first initial round, teams will advance to the semifinal round. Advancement to the semifinal round will be based first on the number of judge ballots won by each team (maximum of 6), and second (in the event of a tie) on the margin of victory of the team, determined by comparing the co-mediator scores and/or advocate/client scores on each ballot for any team tied with another team for a position in the semifinal round. Any remaining ties will be broken by comparing total scores. The same process will be followed for determining the four teams in each category that advance to the final round. Only the ballots from the semifinal round will be used in determining who advances to the final round.


The top ten individual mediators in the final round will be recognized and awarded.

Cash Award Tiered System

1st Prize - 1000.00

2nd Prize - 250.00

All participants receive a certificate.

First place participants will receive t-shirts and a banner.  They will be featured on the OPMP website. 

Individual awards will be determined by:

1) ballots won;

2) total scores; and

3) margin of victory.


Individuals/organizations interested in sponsoring a school may complete this form.


Peer Mediation Tournament Manual

Tournament Manual