Virtual Conference on School Safety - Welcome Message, Overview of CSSI, and a Philadelphia Story
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 a welcome message, an overview of the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative and School Safety Research at NIJ, and the presentation on "A Philadelphia Story: Innovating and Improving in a Large Urban District," by Abigail Gray and Kevin Bethel, School District of Philadelphia.
>> Good morning, and welcome to the National Institute of Justice's Virtual Conference on School Safety.
It is my pleasure this morning to introduce Jennifer Scherer, who is current Acting Director of the National Institute of Justice as well as its Principal Deputy Director.
Dr. Scherer will help us open the conference this morning.
>> ...virtual conference on school safety.
The theme of this conference is "Bridging Research to Practice to Safeguard Our Schools." The core function of NIJ is to apply science to improve the administration of justice and public safety.
Events like this play a vital role in informing NIJ's research investments and translating the knowledge into practice.
This conference is an opportunity for researchers, educators, law enforcement, policy makers and others to come together to address an issue that can have heartbreaking consequences: violence at schools.
Although serious violence is rare in school settings, the impacts are too tragic to ignore.
We believe that the knowledge gained through the research can help reduce these terrible acts.
NIJ has funded over $250 million in research, evaluation and implementation projects to improve school safety under the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, CSSI.
Although CSSI solicitations are closed for new awards, NIJ's investment in school safety research is ongoing.
NIJ has an open solicitation right now titled "Research and Evaluation on School Safety." This solicitation seeks proposals for research into the root causes of school violence and to evaluate the approaches aligned with funding provided under the Stop School Violence Act grant program.
A guiding principle for much of this work is that approaches to school safety must be comprehensive.
There is no one program or practice that will be enough to address the myriad of challenges to keep school safe.
You'll have an opportunity to attend a session where you can learn more about the framework and how it can be used.
In closing, NIJ recognizes that there are still many questions to an about the most effective approaches to use to keep schools and students safe.
NIJ is committed to continuing our support for school safety research, and we hope the research findings presented during the conference will advance the work you are doing on school safety.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be here.
I also want to thank the NIJ federal and contract staff for making this event possible.
I hope that you have a great conference.
Now I'll hand it back over to Mary Carlton.
Thank you so much, Jennifer.
Let me take a quick moment to introduce myself, so my name is Mary Poulin Carlton, and I've been working on school safety at NIJ for the past several years.
Along with my colleagues, there are several of whom at NIJ working on school safety, there have been a lot of folks, and some of those folks include Phelan Wyrick, Nadine Frederique, Basia Lopez, Barbara Tatum Kelley, Caleb Hudgins and Michael Applegarth, all really key players these days in our work on school safety, and we're delighted that you have chosen to join us today and for the next 3 days to participate in our virtual conference.
Though we aren't gathering in person, we're thankful that we can come together in this virtual environment, and personally it's really an honor to me to be able to engage with all of you on school safety, particularly those whose work I have been following so closely over the past several years.
I know that we all share a commitment to school safety, and I hope that this conference will energize us to advance that, particularly as schools transition back to in-person learning.
In 2014, following the tragic events in Newtown, NIJ began making large investments and research evaluation and pilot projects via the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, as Jennifer just mentioned, and we did this to improve our understanding of what works to keep schools and students safe from kindergarten all the way through grade 12.
We sought to fund projects that would help us identify and understand the root causes and consequences of school violence and its impact on school safety; to help increase the safety of schools nationwide by developing a solid foundation of knowledge and best practices that can be sustainability implemented through individualized programs, policies and practices; to help identify matters both internal and external to the school that may result in harm to students, to teachers, to staff and across schools; to implement programs, policies and practices that improve school safety and climate, focus on the environment of the school or enhance educational or other outcomes for students and schools; to identify effective strategies to respond to and resolve school safety issues faced by students in schools; and finally, in collaboration with key partners from education, law enforcement, behavioral and mental health and social work to develop a comprehensive framework for school safety because we know, for example, that there isn't just one policy or practice that's enough to keep schools safe, and that the recipe, if you will, for school safety will vary somewhat from school to school just depending on their needs, and as Jennifer mentioned, you'll have a chance to hear more about this framework at a breakout session later today.
So since 2014, the projects that NIJ has funded, about 100 of them actually, impacting over 4,000 schools across the country via CSSI, and now through funding from the Stop School Violence Act, these projects have addressed literally dozens of topics on school safety.
I won't be able to talk about them all just now, but to give you a flavor of that, projects have looked at issues related to bullying, the role of law enforcement in schools, school climate, threat assessment, mental health and trauma, alternatives to traditional discipline like restorative justice or restorative practices, emergency operations planning, various security techniques.
Thinking about questions like how various programs can work together to enhance school safety since we know that there isn't just one program or policy that's enough.
Thinking about how to meet the needs of various types of students or various needs that students present when they come to school and the various needs of various different types of school environments, and thinking about how to use the research that we have funded, have taught us about what works to keep schools safe, but thinking about how to apply that work in real-world settings, so how to implement evidence-based school safety practices, and as I mentioned earlier, those are really just a few examples.
So researchers on these hundred or so project have worked with educators, law enforcement, mental health professionals and other stakeholders to use rigorous research and evaluation techniques to learn about what works and, as I mentioned a moment ago, figure out how to apply that in real-world environments, and NIJ has engaged with our colleagues at other federal agencies to help advance this work, and we really have been learning from one another throughout these past several years.
Throughout the conference, you'll have a chance to hear from folks who have carried out these various projects and have opportunities to engage with them as you consider your next steps in advancing school safety.
When those presentations pique your interest, I really encourage you to use the conference website, to go to the conference resource page on the website as well as NIJ's website, nij.
gov just to learn more and to see links to publications where you can learn more about results and think about how to apply what they have learned to your work, and your work is so important.
Though we know that most violence incidents at school are rare, they have devastating consequences.
So too can other more frequent incidents that occur at school.
For example, we're learning about the impact that school climate can have on student behavior and school performance.
We know that student experiences in the community impact them when they're at school.
They're bringing to school what happens to them in the community.
We're coming to understand how security techniques that we use to keep our students physically safe may shape their perspectives on school safety and how they feel, if they feel safe at school.
And we're learning also that teachers' experiences with victimization and training that they may have on classroom management, so their skills and their techniques can impact the stress that they feel when they're at school and their success in teaching.
From folks that have registered for the conference, I was so excited to see the diversity in the expertise, in the backgrounds, in the jobs that folks attending the conference hold.
I'm pleased to see this because this reflects really the work that folks are doing in school safety across the country, and so as a researcher, I would say I think this makes for a very representative conference, and I'm very pleased about that and know that we all need each other to move forward on school safety.
So over the next 3 days, you'll have a variety of ways to learn, to share, to interact with each other at the conference.
We'll have plenary presentations such as the one that we're just about to hear and discussions on school safety that I think everyone will appreciate.
This morning, we have the pleasure of hearing from two key players in the school district of Philadelphia's variety of efforts to innovate and improve on school safety.
Tomorrow, one of the founders of Sandy Hook Promise will share with us her story on a variety of programs and practices that have developed and tested and the unfortunate circumstances inspiring her work.
We'll also have a panel discussion tomorrow with folks who have helped uncover factors contributing to school violence and the consequences that result when school violence occurs for both victims and perpetrators of school violence.
On our final day, we'll have a panel discussion that gets directly at our conference theme, "Bridging Research to Practice." During this discussion, panelists will share their experiences with developing and implementing evidence-based school safety practices.
At breakout sessions over the course of 3 days, presenters will share information on what they've learned from specific school violence projects, and these will cover many of the topics that I referenced earlier.
But besides all that, we know that there are some topics that folks simply want to sit around the table and discuss.
We invite you then to join our virtual round-table discussions on hot topics in school violence, issues like COVID-19 and implementing school violence tip lines.
I encourage you to use the daily agendas on the conference website to select the sessions that meet your needs and interest and learn more about the presenters.
If you miss a session, don't worry.
You'll be able to come back later to view the sessions as they will be recorded.
It'll take us a couple days to get those up on the conference website, but please come back and take a look if you've missed something.
So though these sessions will offer great opportunities for learning and discussion, I know that there's really no substitute for those informal hallway chats or coffee chats that one can participate in when we're meeting in person.
We tried to think creatively about how to try to replicate those sorts of conversations, and so we encourage you to use the discussion boards that you'll find on the conference website to continue to talk to one another outside of the sessions with questions or issues that arose during various sessions.
So though we know that there is still a great deal of work to do to advance our knowledge on how to improve school safety, I hope that this conference offers you many opportunities to consider how you may apply what others have learned to the work that you're doing, so thank you.
And now, I would like to take a moment to introduce you to our opening plenary speakers.
As I mentioned a moment ago, we have two folks from the School District of Philadelphia with us here this morning, Abigail Gray and Kevin Bethel, and they will be sharing their story about what they have been able to accomplish with school climate and school violence over the past several years.
If you read their biographies on the conference website, you'll learn about the different paths that they have taken to lead them to the work that they're now doing at the school district.
Among other appointments, Mr.
Bethel previously served as the Deputy Police Commissioner for the Philadelphia Police Department, and Dr. Gray was a senior researcher at the University of Pennsylvania's Consortium for Policy Research and Education.
I think you're going to find their work really inspiring.
As you hear their presentation this morning, please think about questions that you might like to ask the presenters.
You'll have an opportunity to submit questions on the right side of the screen, and when their presentation concludes, we will take an opportunity to answer as many questions as we can, as possible, and so we look forward to hearing the questions that you raise.
So with that, I will take this time to just turn it over to our two presenters who will share their story about Philadelphia.
>> Thank you so much, Mary.
Can you hear us? Great.
So we're very excited to be here today to present to this group.
Thank you so much for inviting us.
My name is Abby Gray.
As Mary mentioned, I am the Deputy Chief of School Climate and Culture for the School District of Philadelphia, and also as she mentioned, I was previously a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, and that's important to note because otherwise this presentation could be a little bit confusing because I'll be talking about work that I was involved in both as a researcher and as a practitioner.
Kevin, I think you're on mute.
I think they have me now.
I don't have those controls.
That's in the production room, and so I'll start again.
My name is Kevin Bethel.
As Mary indicated, I'm a former Deputy Commissioner in the Philadelphia Police Department, retired, was working as a Stoneleigh Foundation fellow, and then have now found myself back at the school district, and I'm the chief of School Safety for the Philadelphia School District.
>> All right.
We'll get started.
>> Yes, we will.
>> So we're going to be sharing a story with you today that goes back about a decade, and it's a story that begins with a policy shift.
That shift occurred, as you can see on the timeline here, around 2012, 2013, and progresses through an evolution of the district's understanding about how best to address school climate and school safety, so that evolution was fueled in large part by a series of grants to the school district and our partners, notably the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, so these grants were from NIJ, including two comprehensive school safety initiative grants, grants from OJJDP, grants from the US COPS office and other federal state and private entities, so we still have a long way to go in improving outcomes for all students in Philadelphia, and as we're talking about some of the ways we feel we succeeded in Philadelphia, I don't want to suggest that we are all the way there because we certainly are not, but what we do hope to share today is how we as a district have collaborated with our partners in order to learn from the research, in order to leverage our grants to bring in additional funds and to grow our programming in alignment with a clear vision about the kinds of places urban schools should be.
>> And so as Dr. Gray indicated, well, we do have some things to brag about as well, right, because we are seeing so many improvements in our work and the meaningful change that is occurring, improvements in our overall climate.
I won't read all of these to you, but it's hard to miss them.
It's hard to skip over them because so much is happening, our reduction in our serious incidences, and more importantly my work around our reductions in our arrests and our increase to service referrals, which I'll talk about in a few other slides, and one of the things that really set off in this slide is the collaboration between, you know, Dr. Gray's work in the climate and the school safety efforts, and so when we talked about moving from research to practice, you know, nothing better to have a researcher in the team of climate working with us and my staff or on the safety side to really immerse all of our work into a forward effort.
>> All right.
And before we really launch into it in more depth here, we want to acknowledge the contributions of a number of other people who played really key roles in the story that we're going to tell you.
Any of these folks could easily be here alongside us telling these stories because their roles have been so critical.
First, we want to acknowledge the University of Pennsylvania's Consortium for Policy Research and Education, and particularly Dr. Ryan Fink, who's led a lot of the research that we'll be talking about as a really close partner with the district.
Additionally, Dr. Naomi Goldstein and her team from Drexel University who partnered with Kevin's office and our office as well to do some real innovation and important research around the work.
Additionally, in the district two folks who have been really pivotal in this shift that we're going to describe to you are Rachel Holzman, who is the deputy chief of our Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and Jody Greenblatt, who's my predecessor in the Office of School Climate and Culture.
Additionally, newer to the team but equally critical is Jamie Banks, who is the deputy chief of the Office of Prevention and Intervention and oversees the mental health services to our students.
Critically, we want to mention our funders: a number of branches of the US Department of Justice, including as I mentioned NIJ, OJJDP and the COPS office.
Department of Education has been an important funder of us.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the Stoneleigh Foundation, the Stoneleigh Foundation is a Philadelphia-based foundation that has invested in both Kevin and myself as we were transitioning and building our work in this area.
>> And so as Abby indicated, this was the first step on the timeline of starting in 2012, and it was that year and the following year that School District of Philadelphia really started to make some major revisions to the code of conduct in 2013, and as Dr. Gray indicated, our colleague here, Rachel Holzman, really led that work and in response to the national, you know, groundswell in the research, and we're finding the disproportionate application of zero-tolerance policies both national...
both in our system here in the Philadelphia School District, and so this goal of revisiting, reducing the district alliance on exclusionary discipline by raising the bar for schools in the terms of what was permissible in school was really part of that shift, and really as I'll talk in momentarily around my work as related to school diversification and arrest, and part of this, we also have to make a note that Dr. Hite, the superintendent of our school, was very instrumental in bringing this on board as well as changing the ways we dealt with our kids, particularly as it relates to suspensions, and so next slide.
This was an important change, this suspension change that Kevin has mentioned in and of itself, but it's also symbolically important because it really signaled the beginning of a shift for the district away from exclusionary and punitive discipline, and that shift has informed all of the other work that we're going to be talking about.
>> And one of those first areas which I'm always excited to talk about, and I wish I had 3 hours to talk about, as Dr. Gray knows is, was I worked in the Philadelphia Police Department.
As I indicated earlier, I started as a Deputy Commissioner in the Philadelphia Police Department.
I recognized early in the process that we were arresting a disproportionate number of kids.
I'll share the number of 1,600 kids a year, we were arresting in the School District of Philadelphia, and I often tell folks the story, you know, when we look at data, and we often look at research, you know, I looked at dots on a map and never really took the time to see the who, what, when, and where, why, particularly around our school-based arrests, and I often tell individuals the day I sat down and looked at a sheet of paper, you know, I was shocked that I was leading a system, and I oversaw the school safety as part of my duties as a deputy commissioner, and I'm locking up children, you know, for things that I did in high school, things that were normal adolescent development, and so for part of this process that we're talking about now was really how, do you change that? How do you change policy, and how do you use a different approach with our young people, and that's why I appreciate Mary's earlier comments because it encapsulates all of the work we're doing in research in trauma-based and adolescent-based and development approach all into one snapshot, and so our program that we were able to create was a school diversification program where we really, really focused on diverting kids from the criminal justice system, not arresting them but also not traumatizing them, so not removing them from the schools and taking them to a district and allowing that diversification activity to happen at the school setting, and so through our program, we were able to create a program.
We did a pre-arrest diversification program where we would stop at the point of contact, determine what the child's behavior was, identify those offenses that we were not going to arrest for.
We were not going to lock up kids for fighting in school anymore.
We were not going to lock up young girls who came into school with mace, and we considered it a weapon, and we hold that child in a cell block for 6 hours.
I mean, are you kidding me? And so part of this really, our changed mindset here in the school district along with our collaborating partners, the police department, was to change that, and so we set out on this goal of reducing arrests by 50 percent and addressing the school retention rates, as Dr. Gray indicated, addressing the racial disparities, and one of the big parts, you know, and from a law enforcement perspective, my badge said, "Honor, integrity, service." Well, we're going to lean into service now.
We're going to get those kids the services they needed to make that happen, and so I won't give you too much because my colleague, my research colleague, Dr. Naomi Goldstein, is going to be presenting later on after our session today, but I want to...
will just tease another slide later on and to show you where we came from from a policy decision, but I can tell you that because of the school transformation grant that really started this work that led our transformation here at the school district, my grant, Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court, was aligned to that.
And so, Abby, you can go to the next slide.
And so part of that was being able to get grants, and so I often give credit to Dr. Goldstein since I know she's listening, but when I started this project, you know, I'm a police officer.
I'm a deputy commissioner.
I'm familiar with data, familiar with researchers, but Dr. Goldstein would come into my space really on the ground with me.
Yeah, even before I even had funding to be able to start a grant, Dr. Goldstein stepped forward and say, "Kev, I'm here to support you because I believe in your work." That was an important process, and so when we look through these transformations of, what does research and practitioner and the person on the ground looks like, it is also about relationships, but through that process we been able to, starting out with the Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court, was a grant that we were able to get to do to the research to finally come on board and formally bring Drexel and Dr. Goldstein into this work to really start to dig into the evaluation of this work because I knew if I said it as a cop, half the people would believe me, but I knew when I'd sit there with my researcher at Drexel University to bolster my work, it really gave it prominence, and as a result, we were able to get two additional grants in 2017, 2019, so it's almost in essence turned into a longitudinal study, though it was not designed that way, and this research has really, really bolstered the work we're doing both locally, regionally and nationally.
>> Kevin mentioned the School Climate Transformation Grant, so in 2014, my predecessor, Jody Greenblatt, wrote and successfully won a large grant from the US Department of Education to the district, and that grant was to support investments in positive school climate programming.
It really funded investment in some of the program areas that are now at the heart of our work.
So just to say a little bit more about that, if you look on the left of the screen, in 2014 with the school climate transformation grant, we were able to...
The district was able to introduce PBIS, positive behavioral interventions and supports, which as you may know is sort of the gold standard as far as evidence-based climate programs in 10 schools in the School District of Philadelphia.
Now in 2021, we have 104 schools implementing PBIS.
In 2014, with the School Climate Transformation Funds, the district was able to introduce an externally supported restorative practices program in a few schools.
Now we have 100 schools implementing Relationships First, which is our own homegrown multi-tiered restorative justice practices model, which I believe will become a national model for restorative work in urban schools.
Additionally, in 2014 with the School Climate Transformation Funds, we were able to purchase Second Step kits, which is a social-emotional learning program in a subset of schools, and this year we rolled out a district-wide social-emotional learning program that includes daily community meeting for every student in every classroom and a yearlong professional development series covering different aspects of social-emotional learning.
In 2014, all those efforts that you see on the left of the screen, those were externally supported, so we had great partners who helped us launch that programming and support it within our district.
Now in the Office of School Climate and Culture, we have full-time directors overseeing each of these areas of work, and we have teams of full-time coaches who support implementation of this program, with about 40 coaches.
We also rely less and less on external providers as we have built and continue to build really deep expertise.
That's a sort of a preview of the impact of that initial seed grant.
This brings us to our first, in 2015, our first Comprehensive School Safety Initiative Grant, so at the time I was at the University of Pennsylvania collaborating closely with Ryan Fink, who as I mentioned, is still leading much of the research there, so working on collaboration with the district, we applied for and received this grant to conduct exploratory research on the uptake and implementation of the policy shift, specifically in K through eight schools, so the guiding question of this research really was, "Did schools stop suspending when they were asked to? And if so or if not, what were the factors that impacted those decisions or those actions?" This was a 19-month grant, about $900,000.
Nadine Frederique was our program officer, and as far as the research design, this was an exploratory study, and we used a number of different methods, so we used latent class analysis using survey data to explore patterns of school climate and disciplinary practice in the district.
We also used event history analysis using district administrative data to examine relationships between disciplinary practices and student outcomes.
We also used qualitative inquiry, including interviews, focus groups and case study research to identify the barriers and facilitators of adoption of the policy shift.
We can share after the fact our full report from this study so you can peruse that more if you're interested.
However, in terms of...
just to summarize or give you a hint of the key findings of that work, the main key finding was that we, after our latent class analysis, identified three profiles of schools in terms of their climate and disciplinary practices, so these are K to eight schools in the School District of Philadelphia.
In profile one schools, which was the smallest group, though they were all pretty close in side, we found that staff persisted in using punitive and exclusionary disciplinary responses to maintain order despite the policy shift, so teachers in these schools felt like they had to fend for themselves, and without suspension as an option, they would be unable to control their classes.
They felt that the overwhelming needs of their students were not being met, and they were left to try to manage those needs, including the behaviors that results from some of those needs, with few disciplinary options.
In those schools, our event history analysis revealed that they were sort of middle of the road as far as a student's risk of suspension as a result of attending one of those schools and as far as students' achievement in ELA, math and science.
In profile two, so that's our 28 percent.
Sorry, I misspoke a minute ago.
Profile one was 41.
Our 28 percent, we saw inconsistency in disciplinary practices, some confused messaging from leadership to teachers.
We saw low morale among the staff.
Teachers reported little collaboration around discipline, and they felt blamed by administrators for their students' misbehavior.
In these schools, we saw the highest rates of suspensions.
We saw the lowest achievement in English language arts, math and science, and finally, in profile three, we saw more collaborative approaches to discipline.
There was more focus on relationships and more reliance on nonpunitive practices to manage student behavior.
Morale was relatively high, and teachers said that they felt supported.
So in these schools, we saw the lowest suspensions.
We saw the highest achievement in English language arts, math and science.
The results of our event history analysis were consonant with other research in indicating that these disciplinary inclinement characteristics predict suspension and academic achievement.
Finally, an important finding of this exploratory study was that the district's efforts to provide schools with alternatives to suspension, specifically PBIS, really hadn't penetrated.
So PBIS schools were equally distributed around all of these three profiles.
If PBIS implementation was going as well as we would have liked to have seen it, we would have expected to see those PBIS schools clustered in profile three, but that is not what we saw.
So at the close of this 19-month grant, so going into 2016-2017, we were able to make some very clear recommendations to the school district.
Those included: one, there's a need to provide staff with training on how to support students who have significant trauma.
Two, there is a need to increase Tier II emotional and mental health services.
At the time in the district, there really was no Tier II.
Everybody was either in Tier I or Tier III, which was overwhelming the Tier III mental health individual targeted mental health system.
The third recommendation was that the district or schools focus on training noninstructional staff in Climate programs so that there would be consistency of implementation throughout the building, not just in the hallways, not just in the main office and in some classes.
Fourth, and similarly, we recommended that the district and schools focus on supporting teachers to bring school-wide Tier I Climate efforts like PBIS into classrooms more consistently.
In our second grant, which we applied for and received in 2017, we...
The goal of that grant was to implement and study those recommendations, so this was a larger grant.
It was $3 million roughly over 3 1/2 years.
Finding of the research component of this grant are still pending.
However, the implementation phase of the grant is now over.
This grant, which is led by Dr. Ryan Fink at the University of Pennsylvania, includes a quasiexperiment that includes eight K-8 schools, a randomized control trial that involves the rest of the K-8 schools in the district, the ones that are not in the QED, a mixed methods implementation study and a cost study.
So as I mentioned, Dr. Fink, who is the PI of this project, he'll be presenting a session on this grant later today, and we'll share the details on his session at the end of this present, so we really encourage you to attend that if you want to learn more about this work, but very briefly, this grant funds implementation and research for a multifaceted Climate intervention that was designed to address the specific barriers through outtake of the suspension policy shift that we identified in the first study.
So the activities of this grant map directly onto those recommendations, including the focus on non-instructional and more specifically school safety officers.
So as one component of this and a focus on school safety officers, Drexel University collaborated with us, Dr. Naomi Goldstein and her team, to develop and pilot the Positive School Safety program in the quasiexperimental schools.
So this is training and ongoing coaches to school safety officers in trauma and PBIS.
It's a 16-session manualized training protocol where the school safety officers receive very targeted support and coaching around how to build relationships with kids, how to address them in a trauma-informed way, how to ensure that they are being consistent supporters of the PBIS programming in the schools in which they work.
Additionally, in the randomized control trial, we're assessing the impacts of trauma training of school safety officers in the district overall.
So all the officers who are not part of the quasiexperiment are assigned to treatment and control.
Half of them receive this trauma training.
Half of them are business as usual.
>> And so as Dr. Gray indicated...
Well, first, let me hit a time line here.
2019, two things would change for both of us.
We would both now move into the school district to really lay into our work even more.
I mean, we're moving from both from being outside of the school district and now moving into the school district, and it's been a phenomenal partnership as we both have this vision, and one of the things it enabled us to do is to hit the ground running because we very much knew what was going on.
We very much knew what our areas of expertise were and where we could work collaboratively together, and so as indicated, you know, when Mary opened up the session in talking about how do you get all of this research to the practitioner and into the field and operationalize it, we have embraced all of that as school district...
as school safety officers that is now going through a reenvisioning of our work that we recognize that restorative practices is the bedrock of who we are, that looking at our children through a trauma lens is the bedrock of who we are and adolescent development, and so for me as a former deputy commissioner talking about Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports and really how do we embed our work, but I can tell you, and Dr. Gray can share with you as she's popped into the sessions and Dr. Goldstein can talk about in her session, how excited my men and women are to be into this space that when we took the lever of having to be great law enforcement centric and all of this force and pull back and say, "Here's what you want to be," ladies and gentlemen, they are embracing it.
You know, we probably have 30 peers where we could have had 50, and so the work that Dr. Goldstein and her team are doing now is really...
The question was, "How do we get into this space?" How do we move from a safety agency...
And yes, we have responsibility through to move forward safely, but how do we also make ourselves more valuable in this school district and the school setting of the youth and to be more trauma informed and be able to understand that.
So as it indicates, really forming positive relations with our students, promoting positive student behavior and really understanding we were already doing deescalating training but really leaning more into that deescelating and understanding how that can change the situation we are in and how do we deal with our young people in that setting, and so we're excited about the opportunity to be training our peers to be coaches.
Right, I have 30 officers going to be coaching the rest of the school district, my school safety officers on this process, and when their peers are training peers, it has even greater value, so we're excited about the direction we're going and so appreciative of the opportunity to benefit from all the work that Drexel and University of Penn and Dr. Fink and everyone is doing to get us to that place.
So next slide.
>> All right.
So what we're hoping to illustrate here, as Kevin mentioned, is how we've taken the results and the learnings from each of these successive grants and built upon them, including by attracting new funding to do sort of the next iteration of the work.
So that next iteration came in 2019 when we, the school district, applied for and won a Project Prevent grant from the US Department of Education.
So this is $2.
5 million over 5 years to the district for services in schools in the most violent neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
So just to tell you a little bit about this grant, I get very excited when I talk about Project Prevent because it's really cool.
It has a few different components.
First, the grant really focuses on integration of evidence-based Climate practices.
So if there's one thing we've learned over these years, it's that even the best, most-evidenced-based Climate approach is not a solution.
It's a tool, and so for urban schools to successfully create positive, welcoming schools that equitably meet the needs of all students, they need to be adept at selecting the tools and combining them strategically.
So in Project Prevent, we are working on questions like, "How do we combine social-emotional learning and PBIS and relationships first, which is our restorative practices model? How do we layer them in ways that feel coherent and supportive and not redundant or overwhelming to school staff? That's the first sort of focal point of this grant.
The second is we are focusing explicitly on equity and anti-racism.
My team is very clear.
Our goal is that when a school implements a program that's supported by our office, they are, by the nature of our programming, implementing anti-racist practices.
So we are not all the way there yet, but we are taking apart every practice, every document, every procedure, every program and looking at them through that lens to ensure that we get there.
Thirdly, this grant project event includes a focus on the quality of family engagement.
So we're really interested here in not only work engaging families in kind of some of the same tried and true ways but also really trying to understand how families experience that outreach and what are the things that help welcome them into school environments, and how do we define quality of family engagement? And then finally, there's continued...
Not finally, fourth, there's a continued focus in this grant on support for Tiers II and III.
So we are really working hand-in-hand with our office of prevention and intervention who ensure that smooth transaction from Tier I to Tier II to tier III with really robust services in every tier.
This year, for example, for the very first time, the school district has a mental health provider colocated in every single school.
That's a huge step forward given the mental health and trauma needs in our district.
Finally, and I really get excited about this part.
This project includes integrated formative implementation science research, so Dr. Fink from Penn is leading this part of the work.
He's taught members of my team and more importantly, school level staff in the schools that are participating, to frame implementation science questions about their programming and to use ongoing research to improve implementation.
So he has school teams conducting internal staff surveys about say, implementation of daily community meeting, and then using the results of those internal surveys to identify and troubleshoot the barriers and improve their implementation.
It's really cool.
So moving on from Project Prevent.
One additional opportunity that we've been able to bring in is a grant, this year, again, $2.
6 million from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime Agree of Delinquency.
I'll throw this one over to Kev.
>> Yeah, so as you see, we like our grants, but a big part, as Dr. Gray indicated, bringing that money is really was able to, as indicated here, to expand the social emotional learning to PBIS Check-In Check-Out, the trauma training that we have.
Now, she didn't tell the story, but...
I won't tell it.
But she was supposed to tell it, but I'm going to tell it, but when we got this grant, you know, there was a part of this grant that I was...
There was cameras in this grant or I think it was almost maybe 1.
5 million or maybe a little less than that, and Dr. Gray had called me and said, "Kev, you know, your school safety team has this money here, but we have all of these other things that we want to do," and so I made the decision, and it was always the right decision, that the work that we were embarking on, the work that she was embarking on that would benefit me long-term was the core work and that it wasn't about more cameras in the school or more surveillance equipment, it was about really the work that was described...
very eloquently described in the opening about really getting on the ground and working with our young people to support them and give them the things they need, and so as a result of that grant, I was, though, able to train all of my school safety officers under the NASRO model, really focusing on the deescalation and relationships part of that work, and also as we go, if you go to the next slide, really be able to develop the youth school safety officer court.
This was ideal.
So we went from buying cameras and equipment to really doing the work, and part of that work was...
And I was so appreciative of that process is also getting money for youth court.
We initiated our first youth court here in our school safety office at the Philadelphia school district.
We host a school safety youth court where youth voice becomes so prominent in this process, in making sure that we bring their voices to bear, and so through our youth court, it's their peers, and I know many of those in the audience know what a youth court is.
But, you know, youth court where you play the jury.
They're the kids who are the judge and the jury and represent the youth, and they're held accountable.
They're held accountable.
There's not this arcane collateral consequence, put them into the system but hold each other accountable in that work, and, you know, part of their mantra is changing thinking and changing behavior, and so we're excited about the grant because not only have we built one.
We're now building another one in another part of the city where we are not only using it for the schools as Dr. Gray's team is already working with youth courts in your space.
They are really embracing that work.
But we're making ourself available as they build their work, we still have courts in the community that they can refer from their schools but also the police department.
Our long goal is it becomes a community-based youth court that our young people are working in the community support.
So again, I keep saying this, but doubling down on how you see the research and the grant dollars really trickle down to where you can operationalize them in a way that really services our kids in a positive way.
And so part of that is kind of talking about the impact.
You know, we always...
I know, Dr. Gray, outcomes, talking about impacts are very important, so I'll turn it over to her to do the next slide around the impact the grant is having in her space.
And yeah, I think that story that you told, Kevin, is so indicative of how far we've come as a district, so as he said, when the funder came, we applied for all this stuff, Climate stuff and security stuff, and the funder came back and said, "You have to cut $1 million," and I called him and said, "Kevin," and he said, "Take the cameras," and that's amazing, that the chief of school security, former police officer in the school district of Philadelphia, "We should invest instead in the Climate work," so I think that's indicative of a lot of what we're trying to sort of describe here.
In terms of impacts, I could spend easily an hour going into the nuances of the improvements that we've seen, but I'll just share some high level trends.
So all of what I'm going to share here is district data.
In terms of school Climate, the district uses a tool called the school progress report to classify schools into four groups.
So intervene, these are the schools with the most severe issues.
Watch are schools that are maybe just starting to eke out of that intervene category.
Reinforced schools are schools that are on the track, and model schools are the schools that we want all other schools to be aspiring to to replicate their practices.
So in order to arrive at these classifications, the districts for Climate, this is just for Climate, the district aggregates data from student, parent and teacher surveys, Climate surveys, attendance data, year-over-year retention data, serious incident data, so it's sort of a compilation of various indicators of Climate, and so also don't hear what...
hear it in the next two slides, I have 2018-'19 as our most recent year.
That's because our data from last year are incomplete because of COVID.
However, prior to schools closing in March, we were on track to show further progress in all of these areas last year, but what we an see here is a pretty steady and dramatic shift from having 30 percent, almost 40 percent of our schools in 2014-'15 were in that intervene category for Climate.
That has dropped 2 years ago now to 15 percent.
We had only 11 percent in that model category, and now in the course of those few years, that's up to almost 30 percent.
You can also see the balance shifting here from, in those middle two columns from mostly watch to mostly reinforced.
So this is a very positive overall story in a relatively short period of time.
Additionally, a really important indicator is suspensions.
So as we see, there have been steady reductions in suspensions in our school district.
The second column here shows the percentage of students who ended each year with zero out of school suspensions, so that's, like, the goal.
That has been steadily rising from 89 percent to 94 percent.
Again, would have been higher last year if we had had complete data.
Additionally, we see steady decreases in the percentage of students who receive one suspension in that third column or multiple suspensions.
Also, I didn't include a slide about this, but an important thing to note is we're also seeing a narrowing of the offenses for which suspension is administered.
So, again, going back to that original goal of making sure that kids aren't getting kicked out of school for not wearing uniform, for minor disruptions of class or anything other than the most serious infractions, we're really starting to get there.
So in 2014-'15, about 18 percent of suspensions were given for reasons that were not consistent with the revised code of conduct, 18 percent.
In 2018-'19, again, that was 2 years ago now, that was only eight percent.
So we saw a big decrease in that time.
We have reason to believe that we're still going on that trajectory.
Additionally, we're seeing steady reductions in suspensions of Black and Latinx students.
These are two of the key groups, as you likely know, that have received punitive or exclusionary disciplinary responses at disproportionately high rates nationally and within our district.
So this slide shows how that is shifting for our Black students.
And this slide also captures that trend for our Latinx students.
I don't have a slide on this, but I also want to note, English language learners and students with disabilities, so these are two of the other groups that have a historically targets of disproportionate discipline.
They are now suspended at lower rates than the overall population of students in our district, so we have broken that trend for our English language learners and students with disabilities.
Still getting there with our Black and Latinx students.
All in all, the result of this is that suspension has become a rare event, so rare in fact that while we continue to keep a close eye on suspension, it is no longer the key outcome we monitor to understand the impacts of our Climate efforts.
It's become too blunt an instrument, so now we're focused on more nuanced indicators like office disciplinary referrals that allow us to look at minor behaviors and who and where and when they happen so that we can target our interventions in the right places, additionally, our student well-being survey, which we just launched this year.
So this asks students questions like, "Do you feel like your teachers have gotten to know you? Do you feel like you know your classmates? Do you have someone you can talk to if you need help?" So this goes to every student in the district multiple times a year, so this gives school teams information about social emotional well-being of their students.
And additionally, we've got various surveys and data collection efforts that we've really just started that are related to specific initiatives like our community meeting district-wide initiative this year that allows us to apply implementation science principles to improving those initiatives.
Finally we have because our data is becoming more sophisticated, we're able to focus now on really improving MTSS, Multi Tiered Systems of Support, as a district-wide integrated behavioral and academic process.
>> So as Dr. Gray indicated, I mean, all of this movement is really resulting in fewer serious incidences.
You know, the conversation is often, even in my policing and my arrest work, is that somehow this doesn't align, that if we lessen the severity of the offences that our young people are all going to be doing more of it, and we find that that just is not the case, as you indicated here.
We've seen reductions in...
across 2018-'19, and what I'm seeing even more on track in the 2019-'20 school years to see even more decreases.
So we are definitely trending in the right direction, and it's just really emblematic of just understanding that collateral...
the consequences that we are laying on our young people, if we take a different approach, it can have both minimize the impact on them but also minimize the impact on the number of incidents that we're having in that space.
The next slide.
And so how's that in the school...
as Dr. Gray...
in the school space, in the Climate space, but really in our school-based arrests, and so this is the one slide that I'm stealing from colleague Dr. Goldstein, but she's going to talk about more outcome data, but what you see here is really when we capital gain our policies and align our work with the school district to say, "As you're doing your work, we're reducing our number of arrests." As I describe in the earlier slide, when we do a pre-arrest aversion program, we determine what offenses we're not going to arrest with.
We do that pre-arrest, and we divert that child to a program, a community-based program to get them services.
They're not saddled with an arrest.
They do not have to worry about any of that other trauma that goes with the arrest, but ladies and gentlemen, what you see here is a policy shift, you know, from a system that used to do 1,600 kids a year to the last school year that we recorded 251 students, an 84 percent reduction, and as you see in those previous slides, all of the positive work is still coming out the Climate work that we're doing.
So these things in combination are really setting the table for our work moving forward as we begin to even look at more areas that we've cut, and when we come back next year, we hope to have that 251 cut even further in half as we're not starting to expand our school-based arrests even further to really capture the majority of the kids and the five percent who unfortunately do some of the more egregious behavior.
We will unfortunately make those arrests, but the 95 percent who do not will not be touching the system, and they will be moving into one of our restorative models.
>> Another important set of outcomes of this work pertains to our systems.
So just to mention a few things: we've evolved our conceptualization of Climate.
We've begun to develop data streams that are aligned to that conceptualization and that allow us to troubleshoot in real time much more effectively.
So this new conceptualization doesn't...
If our older conceptualization was focused on suspensions and serious incidents and bullying, now we're able to get more nuanced into minor behavioral issues that occur in schools into social emotional well-being indicators, into sense of belonging indicators.
We know that all of these things predict engagement in school and ultimately success, so we need to track those in real time.
We are clear...
Programmatic clarity, we are clear in Tier I on what programs we will implement and how those programs will align.
This is reflected in my office's motto, which we all say a lot: no random acts of Climate.
We want evidence-based programming that is strongly implemented, strongly supported, and that is our mission.
Along with that, we're focusing on implementation, both with the incorporation of the implementation science work in our efforts and also with working to more clearly specify and monitor implementation steps.
Additionally, we're building capacity for Tier II and Tier III.
This year, as I mentioned, we have the mental health providers at Tier III.
We're also getting better at Tier II.
It's been a real learning curve for us to understand how to incorporate that into the life of an overburdened school, and Penn has played a really critical role, Dr. Fink's team, in helping us really try to figure out how to do that.
We're collaborating more cross-office, and this is not a given in our district.
So staff from my office are working with content area leaders to incorporate social emotional learning and Climate practices into academic lessons.
Clearly, there's much great collaboration between Climate culture and school safety.
So these are sort of some of the less obvious but really important impacts of all of this work.
>> And so as Dr. Gray indicated, we talk a lot about implementation science and collaboration and cross-collaboration, but it's real for us.
So what we really have been able to hopefully share with you is that we are connected in our work, and one of the areas we wanted to highlight was our restorative practice coach that I have.
So I have a school safety officer who, after we selected to work out of Dr. Gray's office with her restorative team to really show and demonstrate both on her side that I'm committed to this work and for my team to have someone to really help us implement this process.
So we are training all of our school safety officers on circles training.
We have a core arm of officers now, around 40 officers, who are in a circle training with her team to really learn leaning forward the relationship-first work, and he, in his position, is really acting as that liaison to lead that circle work, how to balance it between our school safety and how it operates, the restorative work, and I can tell you.
If I told you my earlier story around the work we were doing with Drexel, around our safety work and now in our work around our restorative work, my men and women are jumping through...
I'll share this very quickly as we start to wrap up.
It was so impactful in the circle training.
I met my team and went into the circle training as they began, that I am in that training now with them because I listen to their stories and listen to their commitment, and I said, "If they're that committed, then I need to join in that commitment with them." So I am actually doing the circles training with them and excited about the opportunity to execute that with them, so this really encapsulates again the back end of the system and with all the grant work and all of the supports and all the work that Dr. Gray and her entire team are doing to support our work in addition to the work they're doing on the school side has really come to fruition and really benefiting us as we reenvision school safety and see it in a different way.
And so we will end with that.
Dr. Gray, do you want to say something before we close out, before we say, "Check this out," or...
I think really just to sum up just to say that I hope that what you've been able to see here is that we have been coming at this learning curve in different ways.
But really this is all one arc, right? Really this is a progression of work away from exclusionary and punitive discipline that began with a policy shift in 2012, 2013 and continues now.
The goals of our grant-funded projects have evolved as we've gotten better at certain things and identified new areas where we needed to focus.
But essentially, it's really been a building process, and it's brought us a long way.
We still have a long, long way to go.
Kevin said we'd love to come back next year and talk about where we've gotten in that time.
And I want to highlight here these two presentations that we've been mentioning.
Dr. Fink and Dr. Goldstein are both presenting on aspects of the work that we talked about today and they'll give you a lot more depth and information than we were able to provide in this time.
So I really encourage you to check out their sessions later today.
I think that's it.
So we have our e-mails up here in case there are questions.
I know we have some question time.
But should we run out of time, or you think of something later, you can always reach out to us.
>> I think we have about 15 minutes left so I think Nadine is coming in to...
>> Thank you, everybody.
My name is Nadine Frederique.
I am a Senior Social Scientist at the National Institute of Justice, and I'm going to be facilitating the Q and A for today.
So as a reminder, you can put in questions on your screen submit to Q and A on the side of your screen and we will go ahead and ask those questions of our participants.
So you can do that now.
As you're thinking about your questions, I do want to say thank you to Abby and Kevin for what a great presentation, what a great story and how wonderful it is to hear the real impact that research has had on the practice in the school district of Philadelphia.
What a wonderful story for you to share with us and a great way to kick off the conference.
So I'm going to ask one question quickly but then also turn it over...
We'll go to the questions in the Q and A.
The question I had is for Mr.
Bethel, Kevin, you really talked about the importance of relationships, and it came through throughout your discussion.
So I kind of wondered how did the relationship that you started off with Dr. Goldstein and Dr. Gray, how did that begin? And how have you maintained those working relationships throughout the course of the work in your school district? >> That's a very good question.
It's ironic because I met Dr. Goldstein through my...
when I started my diversion work, we were part of a DNC committee which he was a part of, supporting the work around some law enforcement work that we were doing in disproportionate minority contact.
So in that meeting, I started to kind of talk about what I was doing and my vision, and what I was looking to do.
And someone who had come from the department but was kind of immersed in research, I think I just kind of started talking out loud about what my needs were and the next thing I know I get a, I don't know if it happened exactly like this, but a tap on the shoulder.
Someone introducing themselves to me, Dr. Goldstein, and from there it kind of took off.
We've had our bumpy roads just like anything else.
I mean, she's a researcher, and I want to get it done, control groups, what the heck is a control group? I'm like, "Control group? What is a control group?" I can't not do that and do this and those kinds of things.
But I think through that process we gained a lot of respect for each other, and so it was that first entree into that space.
But what I always appreciated about Dr. Goldstein's work is, she met me at where I was.
So often times, we get caught into these spaces where I'm here, and you're here.
But when you can come to the place where I was doing the work and get on the ground, it showed me a lot.
It showed me a lot when she came before my folks and did training with them and took time to really walk me through this process because sometimes it can be confusing, someone who doesn't come from that research-based space trying to figure out, "Well, why are we doing it this way?" But also being moldable to really say, "Hey, I can't do it operationally that way, here's what I have, can you use that as your basis?" And being able to do that was very important to our work, and I think it's given it the longevity in our relationship over that period of time.
And as it relates to Dr. Gray, a friend of yours, a friend of mine as well because Dr. Gray and Dr. Goldstein are very close friends, but I commented at work with Abby earlier in the process.
And to be honest with you I'm a get-it-done kind of person and she sits in a room and she gets it done, right? And I'm like, who is this person who's like, "Let's go, let's go, let's go.
This is how we get it done"? And so that's how I'm like.
Coming from operations, I just gravitate to people like that.
But also, she also came with that same understanding who I was.
I don't try to present myself to be more than I am, right? I'm a law enforcement for 30 years who has now had this total transformation process of wanting to change juvenile justice from a law enforcement perspective.
So she met me also where I was.
And so as a result, that level of respect, that level of understanding where I am, understanding my limitations really set us on a course of, well, we met here.
There was nothing more greater than man, that's somebody I like.
You know what I mean? And she's now over there climbing, and I'm over here.
And the first calls we made when we got here was me to her saying, "Hey, Abby, what can we do to work together?" And since that point, all the things I need to do, my re-envisioning work and the school district from climate side and really open-ended stuff to restorative, being the pillar is because of the work Dr. Gray has allowed her team to immerse into our work, so it's been a great experience.
I know it doesn't always happen like that, but it's been a phenomenal experience.
And I am not saying that because she's on the presenter with me or that Dr. Goldstein.
They know truly how I feel about them, and we're friends.
We're colleagues, and we believe in the work.
>> Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Thank you, Kevin.
>> We have built a really great team over the years that includes Dr. Fink, Dr. Goldstein, Kevin, myself, Rachel Halsman, Jody Greenblatt, my predecessor.
So we all have been, I think, very aligned in the vision from day one.
So it's a matter sort of how do we collaborate most effectively in order to achieve that vision.
We're all very, you know, I think the like-mindedness has been very clear, as Kevin mentioned, from day one.
>> All right.
Thanks, Kevin and Abby.
We'll move on to our next question.
This is from an audience member, "Each of the grant programs you've highlighted had different goals and focuses.
To what extent do the goals of the grant programs drive your decision-making versus steps that you would have taken anyway?" >> So we made the goals of the grants in order to do what needed to be done next, if that makes sense.
So each of the grants taught us something.
We took what we learned from that grant and we applied it to our next one.
So it's all...
I mean, from a big umbrella, or I guess at a micro level, you could say the goals of the grants are different because we're, like, fine-tuning the operations as we go.
But from a macro level, it's all the same.
Get rid of...
break the school-to-prison pipeline.
Treat kids in schools the way that human beings should be treated.
Like, get rid of punitive and exclusionary discipline.
That's the goal.
>> Yeah, and I'll concur with that.
Even in my...
I had started my diversion work before the keeping kids in school and out of court grant came on.
But I remember at the time, the administrator enlisted me, and I think Scott Petrick and those guys, they knew my work was underway, and they reach out and like, "Here's a grant." And I mean, I thought it was my name on it, "This is my grant," because I knew I wanted to research the work and I knew I wanted someone to come in and to be able to do that.
So in that regard, we really are...
We're going to always do the work.
We had already started the work, but now we wanted to be able to enhance the work.
So even with the grants that are ascribed now, I'm going to do restorative work whether there's money or not.
I'm going to tell you that, you know, that's the core of what we are as an organization now.
But having the benefits of the grants and the supports that go with that obviously is able to increase the speed at which I can do that and the efficacy of what I can do with that.
So all of it is interlaced, but I can tell you the work that we're doing right now, we're going to do regardless of whether there's funding or not because the work is too important not to.
Thank you for that.
Another question from our audience is, "Has communicating about the progress of this work had any impact on any community calls to reduce police in schools?" >> I can't say...
I mean, we have had some calls for us to be taken out of the school.
My school system, we had school safety officers but not sworn police officers.
We're security officers.
But even in that regard, so what I have done is, really, I'm working with those same groups who came to the school district and the board and said that we want them removed.
I've reached out to them and now working in particular with one group, really sharing them the working we're undergoing.
Even allowing them to come in to our training though they haven't taken part into that, allowing them to...
we re-wrote our job description of the person we want to bring into the organization.
Sharing with them that my folks' security staff or my staff are representative of the community.
Sixty-five percent of my staff, their students, their kids go to our schools, our public school system.
Most of them graduated from our public school system.
And a part of, I think, was the breakdown is that we did not have a bridge to really share with them who we were as an entity.
Our job in the school district is to keep the school safe, the 200,000 students who come in and the 19,000 teachers and administrators who come into that space as well.
So if safety is our regard, it should not be about arresting kids and locking them up and putting them away.
That's not safety, right? So even to the point where we have metal detectors in our school, and we recently just changed that it is a safety apparatus.
So no child can be arrested coming through our school metal detectors unless they have an actual gun.
And so but there's really an opening of a conversation and a dialogue with those organizations and those entities to let them kind of see who we are, what our transitional work is going to be, how we're going to be more restorative and the ability to reach out to our kids and have these relationships.
But we also have a responsibility to keep our schools safe.
And I know I'm getting long-winded with this answer, but we also live in a city where we had 500 homicides last year, 3,500 shooting incidents, and I'll shut down some of my schools over 100, 200 times because of gunshots in the area where we put our kids into lockdown.
So there is a need for safety in the school.
The question is, what does it look like? And oftentimes, we put police officers in schools with no training, no guidance, no direction, and then we're surprised when they are locking up and arresting kids.
And I think the next iteration of who we are in school safety is really defining that we are there to keep the safety of the community but at the same time practicing restorative practices, so we're not unnecessarily putting our children into the criminal justice system.
I think we can do both, you know? >> Yeah.
All right, thank you for that, Kevin.
Can you speak more about how you integrate school safety officers and the PBIS framework in the schools? >> I'm probably going to kick that over to Dr. Gray as she's more granular in that.
Because operationally, I'm moving the pieces together but Dr. Gray's team is one and Dr. Goldstein are the ones that really are interfacing that.
>> Yeah, so, we actually want to train the officers.
So not all of our schools are PBIS schools.
Some of them use other framework, Tier 1 climate programs like restorative practices.
So whatever the program is in that school, we want the officer along with all of the staff to be trained in that.
However with PBIS as sort of a test case as part of our first comprehensive school safety initiative grant, the Drexel team led by Naomi, they built this manual.
And our PBIS coaches are the coaches for the officers.
So the coaches work with the officers and the manual really walks them through a series of sort of exercises, reflections and conversations and some of it is, like, training the officers about how to use incentives that are used to reward positive behaviors in PBIS.
So, you know, one of the exercises in the manual will be explaining to the officers how the PBIS reward system works and why it's important and what kinds of behaviors you can reward.
And then just have the officer try it and see how it works.
And when they try it, they see that it works really well.
It's really more just sort of guiding them into practices that then they can experience the rewards of those practices themselves.
So Naomi can say a lot more about the manualized training, but it is a 16 Series manual, session manual, and it's led by the PBIS coach.
So we really want to expand that to target other noninstructional staff in our buildings.
We want to also expand it to make sure it encompasses not only PBIS but our sort of broader climate programming as well.
All right, thank you for that.
As we are running to the end of our time, we again want to say thank you.
If we were all gathered together, I'm sure we'd hear a loud applause for this presentation.
So virtually we're sending you a loud applause and a big thank-you.
>> Thank you.
>> I want to let everybody know that after this we're going to have about a 30-minute break, so you can stretch your legs, have a bio break, get some more coffee which I am going to do.
After that, we're going to move into our first series of breakout sessions.
Those are breakouts one through three.
So those sessions you can choose, they'll start at 12:45.
You can choose from "Preparing For And Responding To Threats And Violence" or "School Transitions In Student Responses To Victimization" or "The Alternative To Traditional School Discipline." As Abby and Kevin mentioned, if you want to hear more about the Philadelphia story, you can also check out the other presentations that are scheduled for today by Dr. Naomi Goldstein and Dr. Ryan Fink.
So with that, we'll close out our plenary session.
Thank you all for attending, and we'll see you in a half an hour.
Opinions or points of view expressed in these recordings represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these recordings are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Trauma in Schools - Roundtable Discussion, NIJ Virtual Conference on School Safety
- Alternatives to Traditional School Discipline - Breakout Session, NIJ Virtual Conference on School Safety
- Advancing Understanding, and Informing Prevention of Public Mass Shootings: Findings from NIJ Funded Studies, Part 2