Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $4,916,705)
Statement of the Problem: Studies of youth violence and school safety have implicated a complex array of ecological and developmental factors that increase risk or protect children and adolescents from poor outcomes. Knowledge related to the interactions among these factors is limited due to the lack of multi-level, multi-sector, longitudinal data. To address this limitation, Vanderbilt University and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) will develop a 4 cohort, multi-level study longitudinal study of youth safety and wellbeing. The resulting dataset will include longitudinal survey and administrative data on achievement, disciplinary referrals and sanctions, social emotional competencies, school climate, community violence exposure, attitudes toward violence for more than 15,000 students from grades 1 - 12 in 144 schools. In addition, this dataset will include measures of several ecological influences including the school environment (teacher/school staff training, resources, tenure, climate, and parent engagement), and neighborhood context (e.g., neighborhood economic structure, assets and resources, crime, housing and mobility). An interdisciplinary team involving researchers, educators , city government , police, juvenile courts, and youth development workers will use this data to advance empirical research and support school and community initiatives related to understanding a) the role of neighborhood exposure to violence and disadvantage on students norms/attitudes, behaviors, and achievement, b) the role of school climate and access to resources in moderating neighborhood and student risks factors, c) the neighborhood, school , and student factors that affect racial/ethnic disparities in office disciplinary referrals and the use of exclusionary discipline, and d) the neighborhood, school and factors that influence students' social and emotional competence.