This report presents the findings and methodology of a research project that assessed the readiness, implementation, and effects of the Safe Communities Safe Schools (SCSS) components in 46 middle schools.
The goals of the SCSS are to prevent and reduce behavioral incidents in schools, address students’ mental and behavioral health concerns, and increase prosocial behavior in schools. These goals are addressed through three core program components: 1) development of a functioning multidisciplinary school team, 2) building capacity for data collection and use, and 3) selecting and implementing evidence-based programs. The study first examined whether participating schools met baseline criteria and experienced readiness for SCSS components over time, and then considered whether the SCSS model was implemented as intended; whether it was feasible, acceptable, and effective when implemented schoolwide; and whether it had the intended effects on school climate, safety, related behavioral and mental health indicators, and academic outcomes. The study found that the participating middle schools met the pre-developed readiness criteria and reported improvements in readiness measures over time. Some components of the SCSS model were implemented as intended, proving to be acceptable and effective from the educators’ perspective; however, increased knowledge, understanding, and skills under the SCSS model were limited to school team members. Regarding the SCSS model’s impacts on school climate, safety, behavioral and mental health indicators, and academic outcomes, variations tended to reflect the features of the components’ implementation. This report also advises that since the full implementation of an evidence-based program typically takes 2-4 years, this study was not a reliable indicator of the full implementation and operation of the SCSS components over a sufficient time frame. Ways of extending knowledge of SCSS components beyond the leadership team are suggested. 13 tables, 12 references, and appended model for achievement analysis