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Overcoming School Safety Intervention Implementation Challenges - Breakout Session, NIJ Virtual Conference on School Safety

On February 16-18, 2021, the National Institute of Justice hosted the Virtual Conference on School Safety: Bridging Research to Practice to Safeguard Our Schools. This video includes the following presentations: 

Implementation of a Trauma-Informed Approach to PBIS, Ryan Fink

This presentation will share the rationale, design, and implementation of a project currently underway in the School District of Philadelphia entitled "PBIS in Challenging Contexts: Evaluating a Replicable Implementation Approach in Philadelphia". This project has developed a trauma-informed approach to implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) which is currently being implemented and evaluated in a small set of schools. The presentation will focus on describing both the implementation supports which have been developed during this project as well as the research design being used to evaluate its potential impact.

Studying Implementation of PBIS in Rural Schools During Challenging Times, Lindsey Turner

Schools in rural areas often have limited access to resources for implementation of evidence-based programs. Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based framework for universal and targeted prevention of problem behaviors. Many rural schools lack capacity for implementation of new initiatives (e.g., funding, staffing expertise), and have fewer external resources for implementation support. The RK-12 Rural Schools Research project is a cluster-randomized trial of strategies to support scale-up of PBIS specifically in rural settings. Among the 40 schools participating in this trial, 20 were randomized to receive basic PBIS training, and 20 were randomized to receive training plus advanced implementation support strategies (external coaching, online resources, a virtual learning community). The project was completing Year 1 of the trial when the COVID-19 school closures occurred in the spring of the 2019-2020 school year. Because a key goal of the project was to test remote strategies for implementation support, we have been able to continue with the trial despite COVID-19 disruptions to the K-12 school system. This presentation will describe the study's original design and adaptations that were made due to school transitions to virtual or hybrid virtual/in-person instruction in the 2020-2021 school year, as well as adaptations to our data collection plans.

Integrated Supports for Vulnerable Middle School Students: Importance of Implementation and Context in Randomized Controlled Trials, Lauren Decker-Woodrow

Randomized control trials (RCTs) are widely viewed as the gold standard in evaluation research, but are sometimes challenging to conduct. Too often these challenges are not clearly documented, making it difficult to assess outcomes and derive lessons. This presentation will focus on implementation issues, because they are critically important, yet often not discussed. The context of the presentation is a student-level RCT of a truancy intervention program provided within Communities In Schools® (CIS). The study included more than 1,800 middle school students across three academic years who were randomly assigned to receive either the typical CIS services or a more intensive version of those services. Discussion will focus on some of the key challenges that appeared and recommendations to inform future evaluation efforts.

National Institute of Justice’s Comprehensive School Safety Framework, Mary Carlton, Nadine Frederique, and Caleb Hudgins

Congress tasked the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) with developing a comprehensive school safety framework. The framework has three components: school climate, student behavior, and physical safety. This aligns with the other frameworks found in the literature and is underpinned by findings from CSSI research projects. Schools that employ comprehensive approaches to addressing violence are not immune from school violence. However, implementing a comprehensive approach minimizes incidents of serious violence and prepares schools to recover from them when they occur.  The goal of this presentation is to discuss the major components of NIJ's framework, the relationships between them, and the research that is the basis of the framework.

Date Published: February 1, 2021