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A Roadmap to Evidence-Based School Safety: Safe Communities Safe Schools

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $6,230,136)

This study evaluates the feasibility and impact of the Safe Communities Safe Schools (SCSS) Model
in 32 Colorado middle schools. Middle school is a critical time to reinforce effective violence
prevention efforts given that the risk of problem behavior (e.g., violence, suicide) dramatically
increases with the onset of adolescence. The SCSS Model offers a comprehensive and coordinated
approach for improving school safety that includes three Core Components and an SCSS Implementation
Roadmap. The Core Components include: (1) engagement of a multidisciplinary school team and the
development of key community partnerships committed to data-based decision making, cultural
responsiveness, fair and consistent disciplinary practices, and school-wide change, (2)
implementation of an effective intelligence gathering system to collect and interpret data at the
school (e.g., climate, attendance, discipline) and student levels (e.g., bullying, violence,
victimization, mental health), and (3) development of an
evidence-based multi-tiered system of supports that includes a schoolwide approach to social and
emotional learning (SEL) and builds staff capacity to identify and address student needs at the
universal (i.e., all students), targeted (i.e., some students), and intensive levels (i.e., a few
students). The SCSS Implementation Roadmap delineates a five-phase process for delivering
evidence-based programs and strategies to meet each school’s unique data- identified needs while
maintaining fidelity.
This project has two primary goals: (1) effectively implement the SCSS Model’s Core Components in
middle schools, and (2) utilize a staggered-entry randomized control trial to evaluate the SCSS
Model. Key outcomes include: SEL, collective efficacy, school climate, school safety, problem
behaviors (e.g., delinquency, bullying, violence, mental health needs), and pro-social behaviors
(e.g., academic achievement). Youth outcomes will be assessed annually using a modified version of
the Youth Risk and Behavioral Surveillance System. School staff outcomes will be assessed annually
with established surveys that target key outcomes of interest as well as direct classroom
observation. Hierarchical Linear Modeling will be utilized to estimate the Model’s effects on
youth and staff outcomes. A process evaluation will assess implementation fidelity through a
mixed-methods analysis of implementation log and school staff survey data.
We have convened a strong multi-disciplinary research team of experts and institutions including
the University of Colorado Boulder, Arizona State University, American Institutes of Research,
PassageWorks, and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office to execute this project. Study results
will provide practical and scalable solutions to help educators, lawmakers, and policy makers
effectively promote school safety and violence prevention nationwide.

This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.


Date Created: September 30, 2015