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Testing Integrative Models to Improve School Safety: Positive Behavior Interventions Support and the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $2,460,220)

Most of what is known about what works to promote school safety is based on evaluations of stand-alone interventions, despite national calls to integrate interventions to account for limitations inherent to each approach when delivered in isolation. Chesterfield County (SC) School District, in partnership with Clemson University's Institute on Family & Neighborhood Life and the University of Oregon's Institute on Violence & Destructive Behaviors, propose to fill this knowledge gap by integrating two evidence-based approaches: School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) and the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP). Both approaches target school, classroom, student, family, and community level risk and protective factors. Thus a primary goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive, feasible, and effective intervention that combines SWPBIS and OBPP strategies into one integrated approach that improves school safety. SWPBIS/OBPP modules will be developed and assessed in an iterative fashion, with feedback from focus groups and key informant interviews with stakeholders. A second goal involves conducting a randomized controlled trial with 5,700 elementary, middle, and high school students (grades 3-12 attending 16 schools nested within three attendance areas) and 450 educators to assess the integrated SWPBIS/OBPP approach against an OBPP-only and a control condition. Key student outcome variables include involvement in bullying and cyberbullying, perceptions of bullying, perceptions of school climate and safety, and aggressive behavior. School level data on suspensions, referrals to the criminal justice center, truancy probation violations, and dropout rates will also be collected and analyzed. Teacher outcomes include school safety, school climate, and perceptions of bullying. Although several quasi-experimental studies of the OBPP in the U.S. have produced positive results, no RCT's have been conducted. This study will permit us to examine the effectiveness of the OBPP compared to a control condition and SWPBIS/OBPP condition (a third goal of this project). A fourth goal of the project is to assess the cost-effectiveness of the SWPBIS/OBPP approach. Several school-based mental health professionals will be hired to meet the needs of children and families. Thus, a final goal of the project will be to assess the effectiveness of school-based mental health professionals' services on school safety, through interviews with teachers, administrators, and parents. A variety of procedures will be used to analyze the qualitative and quantitative data including multi-level modeling. Findings will be disseminated to academic audiences, practitioners, and policymakers through journal and trade publications, presentations, blogs, and free webinars. All data will be archived. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 29, 2014