Our elementary students are exposed to high levels of safety risks at school and in the community, which can lead to a variety of deleterious school outcome. Safety on the way to and from school is of central concern to our students, parents and school staff. A review of evidence-based program lists related to violence prevention revealed no programs that focus on the trip to and from school.
Research Design and Methods
The Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) along with its research partner, the RAND Corporation, proposes to test the provision of a Walking School Bus (WSB), along with the Good Behavior Game (GBG), a research-based universal prevention program, as a strategy for improving the safety of our most vulnerable students. In 12 schools in high crime and high poverty areas of the city, we plan to implement a WSB-GBG to escort students who are not currently provided bussing transportation to and from school on a daily basis.
The evaluation of the WSB-GBG will focus on these research questions:
1. What barriers and facilitators to implementation are identified that can inform the implementation of a WSB-GBG?
2. Does WSB-GBG delivery improve participating student's proximal outcomes?
3. Does WSB-GBG promote school safety more generally?
4. What are the likely long term improvements in outcomes associated with the proximal outcomes that the WSB promotes?
5. What are the costs of implementing the WSB and how do they compare to other approaches to improving the student and school safety outcomes affected?
Analysis of student's proximal outcomes will employ a randomized interrupted time series design/randomized waitlist control design in which each unit of randomization spends time in the control and intervention groups. The evaluation utilizes multiple approaches to data collection, including interviews, administrative data from the district, police records, student surveys, and teacher ratings of student behavior.
Products and Outcomes
Products from this project will aim to inform local and national policy audiences and contribute to the scholarly literature. Findings will be disseminated in a variety of products and modalities for our diverse audience sets. The primary outcomes of the project will be new program materials for incorporating a well-regarded prevention program into a new setting, knowledge regarding the feasibility of implementing WSB-GBG in high crime neighborhoods, and if and how WSB-GBG can improve student safety in the short and long term.