These professional development training opportunities are specifically designed for professionals (e.g., administrators, teachers, counselors, social workers, prevention specialists) to improve the school climate.

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The School Safety Strategy Continuum Creates a Safety Culture

For District Admins, MS/HS School Administrators, Educators, Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists | 4 hours

New safety programs are implemented daily with mixed success.  Some problems are solved, while others linger.  A safe school requires more than armed guards, body armor, bullet-proof backpacks, and surveillance cameras.  And yet, a $3 billion industry has emerged to “target harden” schools by protecting people from harm and mitigating severely harmful incidents.  School administrators and school safety teams often select safety strategies to address a specific safety problem (e.g., active shooter drill) at the expense of a different safety problem (e.g., ineffective school disciplinary policies, which lead to more unsafe behavior).  So, how does a school create a safety culture?  An assessment and training on the School Safety Strategy Continuum.

The training includes three components: 1) a school assessment to assess the presence or absence of school safety strategies, 2) an overview of the School Safety Strategy Continuum and the associated evidence-based, safety-related programs and practices, and 3) a mindset self-assessment on promotive and preventive thinking to determine how participants think about safety.

The School Safety Strategy Continuum categorizes evidence-based safety strategies into one of eight domains, from most proactive to reactive:

  • Promote: rewarding desired behaviors and building skills

  • Prevent: stopping a harmful action/event from occurring

  • Protect: securing for a probable harmful action/event (threat or hazard)

  • Mitigate: reducing harmful impact (severity)

  • Respond: intervening to stop a harmful action

  • Discipline: teaching/ applying consequences to address a student’s harmful action

  • Restore: repairing relationships and improving offender’s functioning

  • Recover: renew the environments, mental health and well-being of all involved

The assessments and training provide individuals (e.g., school administrators, educators, SROs) and school teams (e.g., school safety, school crisis, threat assessment) with the strategies to improve their safety climate in each of the eight domains to create a safety culture.

Advising Youth-Led Change for School Clubs

For After-School Club Advisors | 90 minutes OR 4 hours

After-school programming benefits the development of participating youth. However, only select after-school clubs focus on youth-led change to improve the school climate. Some after-school clubs use youth-led programming to focus on preventing problems, including bullying, violence, and substance use.  Some clubs focus on promoting aspirations, such as diversity and inclusion, mentoring, and spreading kindness.  Although clubs in the same school may focus on different school climate goals, they both consist of a group of students who are motivated to address a common problem (e.g., bullying, mental health stigma, exclusion).  To create youth-led change, the club should transform from a group of people with a shared goal to a team of empowered youth who can develop, implement and evaluate their own youth-led campaigns and initiatives. 

This training includes three components: 1) a team diagnostic/ assessment of the youth team’s functioning to determine opportunities for enhancing team cohesion, team effectiveness, and team well-being, 2) a facilitated dialogue for club advisors to share their best practices with others, 3) an innovative team functions model (e.g., for recruitment, feedback, problem solving) to determine whether adults or youth are best positioned to take responsibility for specific team functions. 

A team diagnostic tool is used by club advisors to assess the state of the team, including the strengths and improvement areas for 15 team functional domains:

  1. Composing your youth-led team

  2. Defining your youth-led team’s mission

  3. Establishing your youth-led team’s expectations and goals

  4. Creating a structure and plan for your youth-led team

  5. Training and developing your youth-led team

  6. Implementing sensemaking activities for your youth-led team

  7. Creating feedback processes for your youth-led team

  8. Monitoring your youth-led team

  9. Managing your youth-led team’s boundaries

  10. Challenging your youth-led team

  11. Ensuring youth-led team members perform tasks

  12. Helping your youth-led team solve problems

  13. Providing resources for your youth-led team

  14. Encouraging self-management within your youth-led team

  15. Creating and supporting a positive social climate within your youth-led team 

The team diagnostic and training provide club advisors with an assessment of the team and included best practices for achieving better team functioning to address school climate aims.

Preventing Problems by Promoting Positive Practices

For School Resource Officers & School Administrators | Led by Xero Associates  |  8 – 12 hours

The P5 approach aims to strengthen relationships between law enforcement agencies, the communities they serve, and school districts to achieve school and community safety.  These two entities view safety goals, priorities and strategies differently.  Law enforcement officers differ from educators in their beliefs, mindsets, roles and responsibilities for creating a safer school. 

Numerous issues are affecting school safety, from target hardening approaches of protection and mitigation strategies to address crime and violence.  Ineffective public policy and an over-reliance on reactive disciplinary involvement has led to high rates of school suspensions and expulsions for youth in schools.  Biased-based decision making from school professionals disproportionately affect students of color. 

This training course was developed with input from stakeholders, activists, policy makers, educators, and school resource officers from the COPS Office (Department of Justice) grant-funded project.  

This course facilitates self-reflection on mindsets and biases for SROs and school administrators, clarifies roles and responsibilities related to safety and discipline, and facilitates a team-based action plan to strengthen partnerships and collaboratively build a positive school climate.The four-module training focuses on: environment (wellness promotion and crime prevention through environmental design), relationships, engagement, and safety/discipline. Together, school resource officers and school administrators create a shared action plan to address the school climate.

P5 is implemented through Xero Associates, Inc, led by Jennifer Panagopoulos, Ph.D.

Jennifer earned a doctorate in sociology with a major in criminology and minors in theory and research methods. She has 30 years of management, training, facilitation, evaluation and instructional development experience. She has worked collaboratively with colleges and universities, associations, advocacy groups, the federal government, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to promote safety and reduce violence on campuses. She has personally conducted as well as assisted colleges and universities in conducting self-audits around compliance. For seven years, she was the deputy director of the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) and the chief administrator of the American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI) where she directed the research, publications, training, and technical assistance activities of APRI’s major prosecution centers serving the nation's prosecutors.

Promote Care and Prevent Harm Presentation

For Everyone | 30 – 90 minutes 

This research-informed, school-wide, prevention education assembly is designed to raise awareness and address school climate and cultural problems, from mental health stigmatization, threat of school violence/shootings, and student substance use. The presentation empowers high school students to serve as “positive deviants” to counter these norms by caring actively.  While a deviant is an individual who “departs from usual or accepted standards,” a positive deviant challenges harmful norms and standards by deviating with positive actions.  The presenter explains how a group of “positive deviants” created a youth-led movement to spread care, from the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting to Chardon HS after their shooting in Ohio, and far beyond to other states.  

This customizable presentation will briefly educate students about any specific school problems (e.g., bullying, mobile phone addiction, drug abuse, mental health) and provide actionable strategies for youth to change their climate and culture. 

Informed by research-based models of change, students will learn how to move from bystanders to upstanders, for promoters of good to preventers of harm. To promote good, students learn the value of how recognizing positive behaviors performed by peers via a wristbands that are continually passed along from one upstander to the next has and can create a more positive school climate and culture. Using a unique tracking number on each wristband and the coinciding mobile app (coming November 2019), students will see the ripple effects of recognizing and reinforcing kind acts by tracking the wristbands as their action spreads from one student to the next. To prevent harm, when students see a peer upstand and intervene when a harmful behavior has occurred, they are motivated to recognize the helping behavior with a wristband. Through the mobile app, students will see how, when hundreds of students are mobilized to promote good and prevent harm, a school culture and climate can change. This presentation expands beyond prevention education and awareness by concluding with a clear message – look for kindness and use the wristbands to thank others and join an after-school club focused on promotion (inclusion, care) or prevention (drugs, bullying, violence). We can create a movement of youth leaders who change their climate and communities.