This is the Summary Overview of the findings and methodology of an evaluation of the implementation of the Safe Schools Research Initiative (SSRI) in the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District in the Rio Grande Valley, which was funded through the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Comprehensive School Safety Initiative.
Through the SSRI, district secondary schools serving majority Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students adopted "Foundations," a school-wide intervention that promotes positive discipline school policies. Eight middle schools and seven high schools participated in a randomized, controlled trial in which survey and administrative data were collected and analyzed. The analyzed data were used to assess the impact of the Foundations program on staff and student perceptions of school safety, as well as on student behavior and academics. Interview data were obtained in learning about program implementation. The findings indicate that students who attended schools that implemented Foundations were less likely to report having been bullied in the past 30 days compared to schools that did not implement the program. Preventing and reducing bullying in schools are important, because students who are victimized at school are at greater risk for violent behavior, dropping out of school, and poor academic performances; however, there were no significant differences between treatment and comparison schools regarding staff and student ratings of school climate, student attendance, or academic performance. Staff interviews indicated that securing school-district administrator participation and buy-in was the key to supporting program implementation. 9 references and appended methodological details
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