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

Award Information

Award #
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Congressional District
Past Project Period End Date
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 schools unique data- identified needs while maintaining fidelity. This project has two primary goals: (1) effectively implement the SCSS Models 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 Models 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 Generals 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. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 30, 2015