NIJ Virtual Conference on School Safety
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WELCOME/OVERVIEW and The Philadelphia Story
Opening, Jennifer Scherer, NIJ
Overview of the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative and School Safety Research at NIJ, Mary Poulin Carlton, NIJ
A Philadelphia Story: Innovating and Improving in a Large Urban District, Abigail Gray and Kevin Bethel, School District of Philadelphia
The presenters will share experiences and insights from the School District of Philadelphia. Through strong partnerships with the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and other collaborators, the district has leveraged several NIJ and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) grants to steadily improve school climate and safety. The presenters will describe the ongoing evolution of SDP's multi-faceted approach, which combines evidence-based programming, a focus on implementation, and innovation.
Dr. Gray is Deputy Chief of the Office of School Climate & Culture at the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). She is responsible for all climate programming, including the development of a strategic vision for school climate for the district, the identification of evidence-based approaches in alignment with that vision, and the design of implementation supports for schools. Prior to assuming her current role in 2019, Dr. Gray was a Senior Researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Consortium for Policy Research in Education, and led multiple federally funded research studies on school climate and restorative alternatives to punitive discipline. She holds a PhD in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences Fellow. She is a certified reviewer of group design studies for the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse, a former SDP teacher, and the parent of two SDP students.
Kevin BethelKevin J. Bethel, Chief of School Safety for the School District of Philadelphia, is a retired Deputy Police Commissioner for the Philadelphia Police Department, the 4th largest police department in the nation with over 6,600 sworn personnel. Prior to his retirement in January 2016, Kevin commanded Patrol Operation’s for the entire city. This appointment included oversight of the 21 Patrol Districts, Neighborhood Services Unit, Philadelphia School District Police and Community Relations Unit. Upon his retirement from the Philadelphia Police Department, Kevin continued to pursue his passion of Juvenile Justice Reform through his work at Drexel University as a Senior Policy Advisor supported by the Stoneleigh Foundation. During this time, he worked to expand implementation of the successful Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program nationally.
The Stoneleigh Foundation continued to support Kevin in establishing the Law Enforcement Juvenile Justice Institute (LEJJI). Through LEJJI Kevin used his decades of experience and passion for advocacy in reforming the Juvenile Justice system to work with organizations, service providers and community members; to provide training on evidence-based solutions to protect and serve our nations youth’s.
Throughout his career, Kevin has done extensive work in the Juvenile Justice Field; most notably his development of a School Diversion Program within the Philadelphia School System. The program diverts first time, low-level juvenile offenders by utilizing programs within the Department of Human Services. Since the inception of the program in 2014, school arrests have been reduced by 84 percent.
Kevin continues to serve on various committees and boards in the field of Juvenile Justice. He testified before the President’s 21st Century Task Force, co-chaired by former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey on the need for a conserted effort by law enforcement leaders to address the school-to-prison pipeline across the nation. He currently serves on the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Disproportionate Minority Contact Subcommittee and is a former member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Law and Justice Committee.
He previously served as a faculty member for the International Association of Chiefs of Police Juvenile Justice Leadership Institute, and a regular lecturer, on school diversion and racial and ethnic disparities at Georgetown University. He is also a former member of the Philadelphia Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI), and currently a member of Pa Governor Wolf’s Juvenile Justice Task Force.
In addition to his formal education, Kevin has benefited from extensive specialized law enforcement training such as the FBI Leadership and Specialized Training Course - Class 208, as well as the FBI National Executive Institute Session XXXIV at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy in Quantico, VA.
Kevin has received numerous accolades and awards throughout his 30+ year career, which includes his selection as the recipient of the Philadelphia Daily News 2008 Fencl Award. The Fencl Award is bestowed upon a police officer that brings a unique blend of courage, integrity and determination to the job.
Kevin Bethel holds a Master’s Degree in Public Safety from St. Joseph's University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Chestnut Hill College. He is also a member of the Chestnut Hill Libris Society, an honor given to graduates of the College who distinguish themselves in their personal and professional lives while exemplifying the College motto; Fides. Caritas. Scientia. - Faith. Charity. Knowledge.
National Institute of Justice
Acting Director, National Institute of Justice
Jennifer Scherer, Ph.D., is a highly experienced researcher and evaluator with more than 20 years of experience successfully leading national and international research and evaluation projects in support of the U.S. Federal government, non-profits, for profits, and foreign government entities. Over the course of her career, she has conducted research and evaluation in a wide range of settings and with an array of unique populations. She has completed several complex formative research projects and has worked on the full spectrum of evaluations including basic process evaluations to outcome evaluations to impact evaluations. To complement this work, she has created and implemented scientific and administrative policies and procedures. In addition, she has developed educational curricula and implemented a range of training and technical assistance activities for 1000’s of participants across the globe. Dr. Scherer has published extensively and presented at national and international forums.
At NIJ, she serves as Principal Deputy Director providing strategic guidance on mission-based initiatives and support to the NIJ Director in leading, managing, and directing all scientific and operational functions of the office.
Mary Poulin Carlton, Ph.D. is a Social Science Research Analyst at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. At NIJ, Mary works on multiple research portfolios including those pertaining to school safety, gangs, violent crime, and white collar crime. Prior to NIJ, Mary held positions at the Office of Research and Evaluation at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency in Washington, DC and the Justice Research and Statistics Association in Washington, DC. In 2005, she received her doctorate in criminal justice from Temple University.
Nadine P. Frederique, Ph.D. is a Senior Social Science Analyst in the Research and Evaluation Division of NIJ. I manage NIJ's Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (CSSI) to improve the safety of our nation's schools.
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PREPARING FOR AND RESPONDING TO THREATS AND VIOLENCE
Preliminary Data from a Statewide Anonymous Tip Line and Multidisciplinary Teams in Nevada, Al Stein-Seroussi
In 2018, the State of Nevada launched SafeVoice, a statewide anonymous tip line for students to report events that might be harmful to them, their peers, or their school community. Harmful events are far ranging and include suicide threats, bullying, harassment, depression, and planned school attacks. The goal of SafeVoice is to provide a mechanism for students to inform responsible adults who can then prevent harmful events before they happen or to stop them from continuing. Although often referred to simply as a "tip line," SafeVoice also requires each school to have a multidisciplinary team (MDT) available around the clock to respond to tips. The Nevada Department of Education administers and oversees SafeVoice; the Nevada Department of Public Safety operates a 24/7 communication center that receives tips from students and then disseminates them to the appropriate local school district or law enforcement agency. SafeVoice is funded primarily by a grant from NIJ (2016-CK-BX-0007) to Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation which is responsible for all research components. During this session, we will present program data about the volume and type of tips and preliminary data from our MDT survey about the experiences of those who receive and respond to tips.
Student Threat Assessment as a Safe and Supportive Prevention Strategy, Dewey Cornell
In 2013, Virginia became the first state to mandate student threat assessment in its public schools and in recent years many other states have required or encouraged its use. This project examined the statewide use of threat assessment in Virginia and identified ways to improve training and implementation. In this presentation we explain why student threat assessment must be distinguished from other kinds of threat assessment. We report some of the difficulties in statewide implementation of threat assessment and describe our development and testing of an online educational program for students, parents, and staff to encourage support for threat assessment. Next, we present outcomes for a sample of 1,865 cases assessed in 785 schools. As expected, threat assessment produced low rates of disciplinary and legal outcomes. Furthermore, there were no statistically significant differences for Black, Hispanic, and White students. These findings reflect the potential for threat assessment to provide an alternative to zero tolerance that is less punitive and more equitable. Finally, we describe next steps for future research on this rapidly growing violence prevention strategy.
Evaluation of the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System to Improve School Safety, Justin Heinze and Hsing-Fang Hsieh
Background. Anonymous reporting systems (ARS) have the potential to improve school safety through facilitating reporting and improving school climate. Yet, they have not been evaluated with experimental designs for either the effects they have on student reporting behavior and attitudes or school violence.
Method. We seek to understand the effectiveness of the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS) program in improving school climate and preventing school violence by examining underlying psychosocial factors in a cluster randomized control trial among students in 19 middle schools in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Using repeated survey responses, we compared students' self-efficacy and intention to report warning signs, perceptions of school climate, and exposure to violence at school in treatment versus control student populations.
Results. Results indicate that SS-ARS improved both short-term (3-month) and longer-term (9-month) outcomes for students to report warning signs. The intervention had positive effects on students' perceptions of school climate and reduced students' reports of violence exposure at school.
Conclusion. Our findings suggest that the implementation of ARS systems can be effective when they include ARS training that is integrated into a more comprehensive approach to improve school climate.
This is Not a Drill: Student and Staff Comprehension of Emergency Operations Protocols for School Violence, Josh Hendrix
School shootings in the past few decades have raised questions around how schools prepare for active shooter situations and the extent to which they are ready to respond to an emergency. We reviewed safety plans from 10 middle and high schools, assessed variation in lockdown protocols, examined staff and student comprehension of procedures, identified areas of strong and weak mastery, and highlighted characteristics associated with comprehension.
Al Stein-Seroussi, PhD is a Senior Program Evaluator at Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE). His area of expertise is assisting states, territories, tribal nations, and communities evaluate and monitor their substance abuse prevention and behavioral health initiatives. He has been directing state- and community-level evaluations of substance abuse prevention, violence prevention, and mental health promotion initiatives in many states across the county including Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and the US Virgin Islands. Al has also led several research studies related to substance use and violence prevention. He is the Principal Investigator for a study funded by NIJ to examine the effects of an anonymous tip line and multidisciplinary response teams in all schools throughout the state of Nevada. He was the subcontract director for an NCI/FDA-funded randomized control trial of cigarette warning labels. He also led a randomized control trial of a smoking cessation program for adolescents. Al received his PhD in social psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and his BA in psychology from Brandeis University.
Dewey G. Cornell, Ph. D. holds the Virgil Ward Chair as Professor of Education in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. As a forensic clinical psychologist, Dr. Cornell has worked for more than 30 years with juvenile and adult violent offenders and consulted on school violence prevention efforts. He has authored more than 200 publications in psychology and education, including studies of bullying, school climate and safety, and threat assessment. He is the principal developer of the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines and is currently conducting research on statewide implementation of threat assessment in Florida public schools.
Dr. Heinze is an educational psychologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. His research investigates how schools influence disparities in violence and other risk outcomes from an ecological perspective that includes individual, interpersonal, and contextual influences on development. He is particularly interested in structural features of school context and policy that perpetuate inequity in violence and firearm outcomes, but also how these institutions can serve as a setting for intervention.
Dr. Hsing-Fang Hsieh is an Assistant Research Scientist whose work focuses on minority health, applying resilience theory and multi-domain analysis to investigate the relationships between socio-environmental exposures (family environment, peer influence, neighborhood stress) and health outcomes in inner-city settings. Her research focuses on advancing the understanding of violence exposure and its long-term effects on health risk behaviors and chronic conditions among minority youth.
Dr. Hsieh is the Co-PI on the NIJ funded evaluation of Sandy Hook Promise Anonymous Reporting System and Co-I on several school safety projects and the project director for the University of Michigan Flint Adolescent Study, a 20-year longitudinal study of youth growing up in Flint, MI. She is also leading the evaluation team for the National Center of School Safety.
Dr. Joshua Hendrix is a research scientist at RTI International in the Center for Community Safety and Crime Prevention. He specializes in school safety, violence prevention, victimization, and policing. His recent research has been featured in Preventing School Failure, Journal of Forensic Sciences, and Journal of School Violence.
Phelan Wyrick, Ph.D. is the Director of the Research and Evaluation Division at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). He leads a team of social scientists that develop and oversee federally-funded research, evaluation, and data collection projects related to criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services. His division works to build knowledge and advance evidence-based practices to address national priorities on topics that include: firearms violence, human trafficking, terrorism prevention, violence against women, elder abuse, gangs, school safety, juvenile justice, and white-collar crime. Dr. Wyrick also leads NIJ’s international activities in coordination with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.
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SCHOOL TRANSITIONS AND STUDENT RESPONSES TO VICTIMIZATION
Student Perceptions of School Safety and the Transition to a New School: Is there a Honeymoon Effect?, Dan Abad and Chris Melde
School transitions represent a salient event in a student's life with negative experiences often associated with the change. Student concerns with their safety is a noted issue faced by youth as they enter a new school. The current study examines three waves of panel qualitative data gathered from 60 students before, during, and at the end of their transition from elementary to middle and high schools in a high-risk context. Results suggest student perceptions of safety are consistent with what is known as a "honeymoon effect," where noted problems are temporarily reinterpreted in a positive manner, only to be experienced in more negative ways over time. Implications for the honeymoon effect on student perceptions of safety are discussed.
School Transition and School Violence: Longitudinal Research in Oregon Emma Espel Villarreal, Paul Smokowski and Julia Dmitrieva
This study employed a multi-systems approach to understanding the root causes of school violence. Quantitative analyses utilized longitudinal data from multiple agencies in the state of Oregon from 2004/05 to 2012/13. Qualitative thematic analyses examined the extant research literature on school violence. The study was designed to examine root causes and related factors contributing to school violence, disciplinary responses, and the factors related to school-to-prison pipeline. This session will provide an overview of the study and findings that highlight the deleterious effects of transitions to middle school and early school disciplinary actions such as suspensions, and identified promising school safety strategies.
“I felt like a hero” Ethnically Diverse Teens Talk About Revenge & Resolving Conflicts, Karin Frey and Adaurennaya C. Onyewuenyi
Daily routines and social interactions as contexts for school violence: a qualitative study, Bernadette Hohl
School violence is a major public health concern; disruptive to the educational environment and associated with negative mental health, school performance, and delinquency outcomes. The purpose of our analysis was to understand how students’ daily routines and social interactions influence risk of violence with the goal of informing intervention. As part of a large-scale, mixed-methods study we conducted semi-structured interviews (n=56) with 12-18 years old who lived/went to school in Philadelphia, PA, and were involved (victim/perpetrator) in a violent school-related assault in the six months prior to their interview. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and entered into NVivo 12 for coding and analysis. Using a modified grounded theory approach, we developed a codebook matching common themes identified in the interviews. Results suggest school-related violence is infrequently a random act; instead there was usually a precipitating event, and these incidents almost always involved people who knew each other. Important emerging themes included: opportunities to intervene; role of adults and peers in encouraging/discouraging violence; varied attitudes towards school supervision; role of social media; and presence of trauma and importance of emotion regulation. Social environment was considered in the context of the physical environment to enhance the meaning of place. School violence occurs with some regularity, and violent acts or incidents are often the final culminating events, offering several areas of modifiable factors for intervention leading up to the incident. Findings from this study lend important insights for to reduce school violence and will inform training and policy recommendations at the local level which can also be adapted nationwide in similar settings.
Dan Abad is a doctoral candidate in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. His research interests include youth victimization, juvenile delinquency, school safety, and interpersonal relationships. Specifically, he focuses on examining the ways students cope with in-school victimization and how they manage relationships with peers. His work has been published in various peer-reviewed outlets including the Journal of Crime and Justice as well as Victims & Offenders.
Chris Melde is Associate Director, Director of Graduate Studies, and Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University.
Emma Espel Villarreal
Emma Espel Villarreal, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate at RMC Research with expertise in designing and conducting innovative, rigorous, and theory-driven research and evaluation and a focus on developing a deeper understanding of the school-to-prison pipeline. Through a NIJ-funded CSSI project, she led work that used a longitudinal dataset to identify trends, risks, and protective factors related to the school-to-prison pipeline in Oregon. Prior to RMC, Dr. Espel examined gender differences in risk factors and mechanisms of offending among justice-involved adolescents. Dr. Espel completed her PhD and MA in Developmental Psychology at the University of Denver.
Paul Smokowski. Ph.D., LCSWA, C.P., is a Senior Fellow at RMC Research Corporation and Director of Research and Development at the North Carolina Youth Violence Prevention Center. He has an interdisciplinary background in social welfare, child development, and public health. Dr. Smokowski was a faculty member at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for 16 years. His past 15 years of work in youth violence prevention culminated in the North Carolina Youth Violence Prevention Center (NC-YVPC), a nonprofit agency specializing in helping rural communities promote healthy youth development that Dr. Smokowski founded with a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Smokowski's research teams have been awarded more than $18 million worth of federal funding from the CDC, the National Institute of Justice, and the National Institutes of Health. As a prolific author, he has published more than 110 articles, books, and book chapters on issues related to risk, resilience, acculturation, adolescent mental health, family stress, and youth violence prevention.
Adaurennaya C. Onyewuenyi
Dr. Adaurennaya "Ada" C. Onyewuenyi is an assistant professor in The College of New Jersey's Psychology Department and leads the Identity Development across the African Diaspora (IDAD) Lab. She received her Ph.D. and M.Ed. in educational psychology from the University of Washington and her B.S. in human development with minors in education, sociology, and psychology from the University of California, Davis. Her research interests lie at the intersections of education, psychology, and sociology. Her scholarship investigates how racial and ethnic identity, immigration, and racial discrimination influence the academic trajectories and mental health of Black American, African, Caribbean, and Afro-Latinx adolescents and young adults.
Bernadette HohlBernadette Hohl, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Rutgers School of Public Health. She has over 20 years of violence prevention practice and research experience including delivering community health education programs, managing large scale state and federal grants focused on health and safety for high risk youth and supervising teams of site coordinators providing services to at-risk youth and families. Dr. Hohl is a is a mixed-methods researcher who uses community engaged approaches to address health and safety issues for high risk communities. She has conducted observational studies focused on identify modifiable risk factors for violence as well as community trials of social and physical environment interventions aimed at reducing youth violence in highly disadvantaged neighborhoods. Dr. Hohl’s research is supported by extramural funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institutes of Justice, and CDC. Her work has been presented at national and international scientific meetings and appears in high-impact, peer reviewed journals. She is an active member of several National organizations including the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR) for which she now serves as president-elect.
Barbara Tatem Kelley
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ALTERNATIVES TO TRADITIONAL SCHOOL DISCIPLINE
A Randomized Controlled Trial of Restorative Justice in New York City High Schools, Lama Hassoun Ayoub
Restorative justice (RJ) practices—which seek to build community and hold school community members who cause harm accountable—ostensibly represent an antidote to exclusionary disciplinary approaches and punitive school environments. In partnership with the New York City Department of Education, this evaluation examines the process and outcomes of RJ implementation in Brooklyn high schools with the highest suspension rates in New York City. The study employs a randomized controlled trial design, where 10 high schools were randomly assigned to either the control group (business as usual) or the treatment group (RJ). Because schools in the control group were also poised to receive standard RJ training from the NYC DOE, we also incorporated a matched comparison group of schools from nearby neighborhoods without any exposure to RJ. The study has involved process evaluation and an ongoing outcome evaluation. Results from the process evaluation indicate varied approaches to school-wide implementation of RJ and the key roles that leadership, beliefs, and resources play in facilitating or challenging implementation. Using multi-level modeling, the outcome study will examine the impact of RJ on student incidents, suspensions, and attendance. Outcome results will be final by May 2021.
Pursuing Equitable and Restorative Communities (PERC) Initiative: Pittsburgh's Restorative Practices Program, John Engberg
Restorative practices (RP) are a strategy to reduce suspension rates by proactively improving relationships among students and staff and by building a sense of community in classrooms and schools. We examine the implementation of RP in Pittsburgh Public Schools and estimate its impact on student outcomes such as suspensions, transfers to alternative placements, attendance, arrests, and test scores; on staff such as attendance, classroom control and value added; and school climate.
A subset of Pittsburgh schools implemented SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change program for two school years (2015-16 and 2016-17), in conjunction with the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP). IIRP provided four days of professional development. Each principal was assigned an IIRP coach. All school staff were asked to participate in monthly professional learning groups (PLGs).
RP was successful at reducing exclusionary disciplinary practices without harming classroom or school climate, particularly at the elementary level. RP as implemented was not successful in middle school grades. Training provided to school staff by IIRP was valued and effective, although care should be taken by district staff to set expectations and establish priorities. Attention should be paid to data systems that will allow staff to monitor changes in disciplinary incidents and sanctions.
The Impact of the Safe Public Spaces in Schools Program on School Safety, Student Behavior, and Discipline Events, Kimberly Kendizora and Juliette Berg
The Safe Public Spaces in Schools Program (SPS) is a schoolwide, multi-component approach to enhance safety in out-of-classroom spaces in schools. It was studied in a randomized trial with 24 urban middle schools. The implementation evaluation used independent observation and interviews to find that SPS was well-implemented, but that comparison schools also had high levels of safety activities similar to key components of the SPS program. The impact evaluation used a comparative interrupted time series (CITS) approach and found differences in baseline trends. Control schools were getting slightly better while SPS schools were getting slightly worse in terms of behavioral incidents and suspensions. During the two-year implementation, SPS schools maintained their trajectory, but the control schools also showed increasing numbers of incidents and suspensions in those years. The CITS estimates for suspensions overall, suspensions for serious incidents, and suspensions for serious incidents in public spaces were statistically significant. The data show a modest harm reduction effect: there was no change in trend for SPS schools but engaging in SPS may have kept treatment schools from experiencing worse outcomes than they otherwise might have. There were no effects of SPS on student-reported safety, student-teacher trust, classroom behavior, or bullying.
Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline While Enhancing School Safety: The Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program, Naomi Goldstein
Designed to keep youth out of the justice system and in school, the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program offers voluntary community-based services to eligible youth accused of minor school-based offenses in lieu of arrest. With funding from NIJ and OJJDP, this study examined Police School Diversion Program outcomes, revealing an 84% decrease in the annual number of school-based arrests across Philadelphia in the program’s first five year, a 34% decrease in the annual number of serious behavioral incidents in schools, and a significantly lower recidivism rate two-years after the referring incident for diverted youth relative to youth arrested for similar offenses in the year prior to Diversion Program implementation. Additionally, diverted youth were less likely than a matched group of arrested youth to experience exclusionary school discipline in the year following the school-based incident that led to police referral. This presentation will review these promising findings and discussion the ways in which this pre-arrest diversion program prevents youth from entering the justice system and helps them stay on normal developmental paths as adolescents and as students.
Lama Hassoun AyoubLama Hassoun Ayoub, MSPH is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Court Innovation and has led a diverse portfolio of research and evaluation for the last ten years. She is Principal Investigator of several DOJ-funded studies, including a randomized controlled trial evaluating restorative justice in Brooklyn schools, an NIJ tribal-research capacity building project, and a BJA-funded study developing and validating a novel tribal risk-need-resilience assessment tool. She is also principal investigator of an evaluation of trauma-informed programs in Manhattan schools, funded by the District Attorney of New York. She recently completed work on several other NIJ-funded research projects, including an evaluation of neighborhood-oriented probation, a comprehensive study of school safety, discipline, and climate in all New York City schools, multi-site evaluation of Defending Childhood Demonstration Program, a multi-site evaluation of Second Chance Act reentry courts, and a randomized controlled trial evaluating violence prevention programs in schools. Ms. Hassoun Ayoub also serves as the co-Chair of the Center’s IRB. She received her Master’s of Science in Public Health from Harvard University and is currently a doctoral candidate in developmental psychology at Wayne State University.
John Engberg (he/his) is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. Engberg's ongoing projects include a research study of the Wallace Foundation's Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative and a randomized trial of public defenders at bail hearings.
Kimberly KendizoraKimberly Kendziora, Ph.D., is a Managing Researcher at AIR whose work focuses on research and evaluation of school- and community-based student support initiatives. She has particular expertise in research on programs related to students' social and emotional learning, behavior, mental health, and health. She has also conducted evaluations of community-based programs, including Mental Health First Aid, Say Yes to Education, the Anchorage Youth Development Coalition, and family advocacy organizations. She has studied collaboration among school professionals and technology transfer in mental health, prevention, and addiction fields. Dr. Kendziora has also been involved in the measurement of the conditions for learning (school climate) in schools. She directed the development of AIR's Conditions for Learning survey and has consulted with New York City and the District of Columbia on their school stakeholder surveys. She has studied and published on how conditions for learning relate to other variables used for school and district performance management. Taken together, her work has helped to advance understanding of how schools and communities can productively work together to support all children's academic, social, and emotional development.
Juliette Berg, Ph.D. is a Senior Researcher at AIR. She focuses on how research, practice, and policy can help create the conditions and opportunities for children and youth to develop strong social, emotional, behavioral, and academic skills. Berg has extensive experience conducting applied child development research to inform practice and policy. She has been involved as project director or analyst in several large-scale randomized control trials of programs to improve the learning environments and social, emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes of children and youth, including Montessori, City Year, Safe Public Spaces Program, the 4Rs program, Opportunity NYC, and the PATHS program. She also provides conceptual and technical guidance on the development of measures of social and emotional skills and learning environments. She has methodological expertise in research design, measure development, program evaluation, implementation science, and advanced quantitative methods. Berg holds a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology from New York University. She completed her post-doctoral work at University of Virginia.
Naomi GoldsteinNaomi E. Goldstein, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology, Co-Director of the JD/PhD Program in Law and Psychology, and Director of the Juvenile Justice Research and Reform (JJR&R) Lab at Drexel University. Dr. Goldstein collaborates with community stakeholders to use social science research to improve juvenile justice policy and practice. Partnering with juvenile justice agencies, she conducts translational research to guide large-scale system change, leads implementation projects to promote high-quality dissemination of juvenile justice reforms, and evaluates the effects of new programs and policy changes on youth and communities. For more than 20 years, her interdisciplinary work has focused on the role of adolescent development in legal decision making and legal outcomes. She currently focuses on cross-systems efforts to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, reform juvenile probation systems, establish positive police practices, and reduce racial and ethnic disparities within the justice system.
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ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION 1: Impact of COVID-19 on School Safety
Impact of COVID-19 on School Safety, Christine Harms
Christine Harms, MS is a former teacher, administrator, mental health professional and trainer with 30+ years of experience working in schools, private practice and victim serving agencies.
Nadine P. Frederique, Ph.D. is a Senior Social Science Analyst in the Research and Evaluation Division of NIJ. I manage NIJ's Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (CSSI) to improve the safety of our nation's schools.
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ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION 2: Tip Lines
Tip Lines, Michael Planty
Michael Planty leads RTI's Center for Community Safety and Crime Prevention. The Center conducts research, technical assistance, and training across a range of topics related to the prevalence, characteristics, and harms associated with criminal victimization, police and criminal justice response, provision of victim services, and efforts related to crime prevention. Before joining RTI in 2017, Dr. Planty served as deputy director at the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, overseeing multiple national data-collection projects on victimization and law enforcement issues.
Dr. Caleb Hudgins is formally trained in behavioral neuroscience and behavior analysis. He received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University and M.S. from the University of North Texas. Prior to joining the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship (STPF) Dr. Hudgins served as the Research Director for a health services start-up where he evaluated the impact of company services on family and infant health and safety. After joining the AAAS STPF Dr. Hudgins found a placement at the National Institute of Justice where he works to leverage insights from the neuro and behavior sciences to promote evidence-based solutions to improve public health and safety.
ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION 3: Bureau of Justice Statistics: Survey of Law Enforcement in Public Schools (SLEPS)
ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION 3: Bureau of Justice Statistics: Survey of Law Enforcement in Public Schools (SLEPS)
Bureau of Justice Statistics: Survey of Law Enforcement in Public Schools (SLEPS), Kevin Scott and Elizabeth Davis
Kevin ScottDr. Scott is the Chief of the Law Enforcement Statistics Unit at the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). In that role, he supervises surveys of law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, of medical examiners’ and coroners’ offices, and of forensic crime laboratories. Prior to his time at BJS, Dr. Scott served as the Director of the Policy Analysis Unit in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy and as an analyst for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. His academic research focuses on the federal judicial system. He received his doctorate in Political Science from Ohio State University
Elizabeth Davis is a Statistician in the Law Enforcement Statistics Unit at the Bureau of Justice Statistics. She works on a variety of projects, including the Survey of Law Enforcement Personnel in Schools, the Survey of Campus Law Enforcement Agencies, the Police-Public Contact Survey, and the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics survey. She has a Bachelor's in Criminology and International Studies from The Ohio State University and a Master's in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati.
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BULLYING PREVENTION AND RESPONSE
Reducing Youth Violence by Leveraging the Influence of Network Brokers: Preliminary Results of Comprehensive School-Wide Intervention, Richard Gilman
The involvement of peers holds much promise for school-based anti-violence efforts to reduce the "bystander effect" (individuals who notice but avoid disclosing information to help a real or potential victim). This presentation will show how network "brokers" (i.e., those having direct relationships with peers who themselves do not have a direct relationship with each other) can be used to reduce the bystander effect. Data obtained over the first three years of a four-year study reveal significant reductions in school-reported violence episodes, self-reported aggression, and collective interpersonal distress, and significant increases in peer-to-broker disclosure.
Evaluating the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in U.S. Urban Middle Schools, Terri Sullivan
We evaluated the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) using a multiple-baseline experimental design. For teacher ratings, we found significant main effects across all subtypes of aggression and victimization, with some variability in the timing of effects. The pattern of findings showed delayed intervention effects for boys and a weaker impact of the OBPP on 6th graders. We found main effects for student-reported cyber aggression and victimization, relational aggression, and a composite of physical, verbal, and relational victimization. Decreases in victimization emerged in the 1st or 2nd year of intervention, and reductions in aggression emerged during the 3rd year. Qualitative data that help to better understand these patterns of findings will also be presented.
Randomized Impact Evaluation of the No Bully System, Thomas Hanson
The No Bully System (NBS) is a set of interventions that are designed to activate adult and peer support for targets of bullying in a school. The goal of the study was to determine whether NBS reduced the recurrence of bullying perpetration and victimization among students, whether NBS specifically reduced bullying perpetration and victimization among those students at risk of bullying involvement (victims and perpetrators), and whether NBS improved perceptions of school safety, peer support, and other indicators of school climate among all students in participating schools. The impact evaluation used a cluster randomized experimental design that involved 24 elementary schools in the Oakland Unified School District (California). Results indicated that bullying victimization declined and safety perceptions increased among bully victims. Students in intervention schools who were at very high risk of being bully victims at baseline exhibited substantial reductions in victimization compared to their counterparts in control schools. No impacts were detected on school-wide measures of school safety, peer support, and other indicators of school climate for all students in participating schools.
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Interventions to Decrease Cyberbullying Perpetration and Victimization, Josh Polanin
Numerous school-based programs have been implemented to decrease cyberbullying perpetration and victimization. Although several previous meta-analyses have been conducted on the topic, the current review is comprehensive of the published and unpublished literatures and uses modern meta-analytic techniques. A total of 50 studies and 320 extracted effect sizes spanning 45,371 participants met the review protocol criteria. Results indicated that programs reduced cyberbullying perpetration (g = -0.18) and victimization (g = -0.13). Translated to the newly developed probability of positive impact, we estimate that future implementations have a 76% and 73% probability of decreasing cyberbullying perpetration and victimization, respectively.
Rich Gilman is a licensed clinician psychologist who is the research PI for NIJ grant NIJ-2016-9304 (Identifying and Embedding Brokers into a Multi-tiered System of Services to Reduce the Bystander Effect Leading to the Reduction of School Violence). He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and is formally recognized for his work in social network analysis and risk/resiliency factors in youth. Dr. Gilman earned his Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina and his MBA at University of Oxford. He is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications on resilience/risk.
Terri Sullivan is a Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of prevention programs aimed at increasing youths' safety and well-being in school and community settings.
Thomas Hanson is a Senior Managing Director at Wested. He conducts rigorous research on the effectiveness of programs, products, and practices intended to improve student outcomes. He has been Principal Investigator on two large-scale randomized controlled trials funded by the National Institute of Justice: The Capturing Kids’ Hearts and No Bully System impact evaluations. The Capturing Kids’ Hearts trial investigates the impacts of a school climate program designed to enhance the relationships between and among school staff and students. The No Bully System study examines the impacts of a bullying intervention program on the resolution of bullying incidents, bullying perpetration, and victimization. Hanson also serves as lead methodologist for several studies examining the impacts of education interventions.He has extensive experience in developing and validating survey instruments designed to measure school climate and other outcomes. For example, he directs and conducts evidence-based research for the California School Climate, Health, and Learning Surveys (CalSCHLS), a comprehensive whole child, school climate, and youth risk behavior data collection service available to local education agencies.
Joshua R. Polanin, Ph.D. is a principal researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR). He has extensive experience in quantitative methodology and has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles across education, criminology, public health, and methodology, including more than 20 peer-reviewed, published meta-analyses. In addition to leading several ongoing meta-analyses, he is the Co-PI of two methodological training workshops on meta-analysis. In 2020, he won the Early Career Award from the Society for Research on Educational Evaluation. Dr. Polanin holds a Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Vanderbilt University's Peabody Research Institute.
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MULTI-COMPONENT EFFORTS TO IMPROVE SCHOOL SAFETY
Exploring the Relationship Between School Climate and Safety: Restorative Justice and PBIS, Troy Smith, Karen Crews, Sean Kelly
Recent research has identified concerns about traditional, exclusionary approaches to school discipline, including negative impacts, lack of positive impacts, and racially disproportionate use of suspensions and expulsions. To address these concerns, K-12 teachers, and school and district leaders have turned to positive approaches to school discipline. RAND and Montgomery County Public Schools partnered together to test the effectiveness of two approaches: Restorative Justice (RJ) and School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS). These programs are increasingly being used together and there are theoretical reasons to believe that there are complementarities that make the combination more effective than either program alone. However, there has been no rigorous research to evaluate the effectiveness of SW-PBIS+RJ on school climate and safety. In this study, 23 schools that were implementing SW-PBIS were randomized to either continue with SW-PBIS only or to also introduce RJ practices along with SW-PBIS. An additional 20 schools that were doing neither approach were randomly assigned to continue their traditional disciplinary approach or to introduce both SW-PBIS and RJ together. Using qualitative and quantitative data, the study examines the implementation, impact, and cost-effectiveness of the two programs in combination. NIJ provided funding and implementation was scheduled to last two years.
The Causes and Consequences of School Violence: The Impact of Social Media on Delinquency, Timothy McCuddy
The UMSL CSSI is a multi-year study that investigates the causes and consequences of school violence as well as factors contributing to safe learning environments. In total, the project includes three annual surveys of students, two surveys of school personnel, 197 semi-structured interviews, and 37 in-depth interviews across six school districts in St. Louis County. These data address a number of areas related to patterns of school violence, with an emphasis on the identification of correlates via multiple sources. After proving a brief overview of this project, the presentation will focus on a specific set of findings related to the timely issue of students' use of social media and the impact of online peers. In particular, I discuss findings related to 1) the influence of online peers, 2) gang members' use of social media, and 3) the intersection between cyberbullying and school bullying victimization.
Suspension Diversion and Gang Prevention: Taking a Comprehensive Approach to School Safety, Stephanie Hawkins
Suspension and expulsion are common responses for students that violate school discipline policies, yet these practices are not effective in meeting the needs of students. In fact, these practices may exacerbate the very problems they are attempting to reduce. The objective of the Shelby County Comprehensive School Safety Initiative is to evaluate school safety strategies designed to reduce violence and misbehavior of students while minimizing the severity of negative outcomes. This presentation describes how the perceptions of safety changed within the Shelby County School District when they shifted their diversion and gang intervention efforts from high schools to middle schools.
Troy Smith is an economist at RAND where he studies education, labor markets, and innovation. Besides work on restorative justice and PBIS as alternatives to punitive discipline in elementary and middle schools, he has researched STEM education in low income school districts and the supply of private schooling and the effect of public school policies on the private school market. Troy also teaches an economics core course at Pardee RAND Graduate School. Troy graduated with degrees in Economics and International Studies and minors in Math and African Studies from Brigham Young University. He has a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.
Karen CrewsDr. Karen Crews has served as a school leader for over 20 years. She is currently the Director of Student Well-Being and Achievement for Montgomery County Public Schools. She has worked in public school education as a school counselor, school-based administrator and central office leader. Dr. Crews has designed and implemented numerous professional development programs focused on student achievement, college and career readiness, school leadership and use of data. She has experience presenting at local, state and national conferences in the field of education an administration. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, School of Education and worked at the Education Trust’s National Center for Transforming School Counseling for several years.
Sean KellySean P. Kelly has been working to make student systems of support in public education more effective and equitable for 15 years. He has been a leader in the work of bringing Restorative Justice to the 200+ schools in his home district (Montgomery County Public Schools, MD) as well as to the discipline reform efforts of the State. From suspensions to special education to secondary athletics, Mr. Kelly has worked tirelessly to bring students to the center of every conversation about success.
Timothy McCuddyDr. Timothy McCuddy is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Memphis. He previously worked as the project director of the University of Missouri - St. Louis Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, a longitudinal study on the causes and consequences of school violence. His research focuses on how technology affects social processes related to crime, with an emphasis on peer group dynamics and delinquency. He is also interested in how broader contexts, such as schools and neighborhoods, are associated with crime and delinquency.
Dr. Stephanie Hawkins is a clinical psychologist at RTI International. She serves as the Director of the Youth, Violence Prevention, and Community Justice program and is leading the RTI International Racial Justice and Transformative Research portfolio. Dr. Hawkins’ research expertise spans the substantive areas of community-based violence prevention, school safety, juveniles involved in the criminal legal system, and equitable outcomes for youth. She has been the Principal Investigator on national and state level studies funded by the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the District of Columbia Department of Behavioral Health, to name a few. She is the author of numerous articles, chapters, technical reports, and presentations on a range of topics and employs both quantitative and qualitative methods in her research.
Barbara Tatem Kelley