This is the Final Summary Report on a project that assessed the school climate and safety needs of predominantly rural schools in five counties in Southern Illinois, as well as the effectiveness of a low-cost, component-based, bullying prevention program in those schools.
School superintendents, principals, teachers, and students from 45 schools within 24 districts in Southern Illinois participated in the project. All districts were classified as either Rural or Town. For all districts, baseline data were collected through school climate surveys completed by teachers and students (grades 4-12) in spring 2016; and playground/luncheon observations were conducted by graduate assistants in fall of 2016. Follow-up surveys were collected in the spring of 2017 and for the final post-intervention period in spring of 2018. At the end of the project, six districts had completed either the playground trainings or the teacher trainings, not both (partial implementation). Two districts did not complete any of the trainings. During the final 6 months of the project, all administrators (principals and superintendents) were asked to complete an administrator survey and participate in an exit interview. The results reported suggest that the low-cost, component-based bullying intervention produced positive outcomes, and it was generally well-received across the schools. There were moderate to high correlations among scores for perceptions of school climate, school safety, and bullying, as rated by both students and teachers, providing further evidence that interventions to address bullying can impact overall perceptions of school safety. Further, school climate is an integral component of both. There was moderate student-teacher agreement in ratings. Study limitations and future directions are discussed. 10 tables, 10 figures, and 8 references
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