Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $566,104)
The purpose of the "Effective School Staff Interactions with Students and Police: A Training Model" (ESSI) Project is to increase knowledge and best practices to help eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline, increase the use of positive school discipline and alternatives to the juvenile justice system, and reduce disparate school disciplinary treatment of students based on race/ethnicity. The project will accomplish this by expanding the evaluation of a one-day curriculum to analyze data on behavior change for a training that has shown positive results over time on trainees' knowledge and attitudes. The training can be easily tailored to specific schools and jurisdictions, encourages school districts and police departments to work together to ensure a consistent, graduated and appropriate response to student misbehavior, and increases school staff awareness of disproportionate treatment of minority students (DMC).
The staff of twelve schools will be recruited to receive the training. The unit of analysis is the school. A corresponding number of schools, matched for geographic location, size of community, school size, grades served, and SES will serve as the non-trained comparison group. Existing, publically available data will be obtained in order to track significant changes over time. Variables include: school attendance, chronic non-attendance, school disciplinary incidents, out of school sanctions, referrals to juvenile court, and Relative Rate Indices (DMC). Additionally, qualitative focus groups will be conducted at participating schools prior to, and following, training. Quantitative data will be analyzed using basic statistics and mean scores will be used to examine school demographic characteristics, AN OVA and t-test to find significant differences between trained and non-trained schools prior to training, and repeated measures analyses with time as the independent variable and training status as the between subjects factor to assess positive changes post-training. Qualitative data will be transcribed, coded, and analyzed for common themes. Protocols for collecting data will be submitted to the University of Connecticut Institutional Review Board (IRB) for approval prior to initiating data collection. Quantitative data will not identify schools other than by code number and other descriptors (urban-suburban-rural, middle-high school). All data analyses will be based upon group statistics. For qualitative interviews, schools will be identified by pseudonyms and staff will be identified by their roles. Expected products include IRB informed consent protocols; data sets; qualitative data collection forms and transcription coding templates; quantitative data code books; SPSS data analysis syntax; data sets for archive submission; and final technical reports.
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