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Report on the Evaluation of Judicially Led Responses To Eliminate School Pathways to the Juvenile Justice System

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2016
54 pages
This report presents the findings and methodology of an evaluation sponsored by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) that examined the operation and impact of a judge-led collaborative model intended to keep children and youth in school and out of juvenile court.
Called the "Teske model" after judge Steven Teske of Clayton County, GA, the intervention involves leveraging judicial status and authority to convene critical groups to reduce the number of school suspensions, expulsions, and referrals to juvenile court. The evaluation was impeded by the lack of access to data from each demonstration site needed to examine trends in suspensions, expulsions, and court referrals; only one site was able to provide the requested and required data. Thus, evaluators were unable to determine any changes in practice or outcomes potentially associated with the intervention. This report focuses on the process component of the evaluation and the challenges posed for data collection related to the outcome component of the evaluation. Recommendations address future research and purposeful data collection. The evaluators report evidence that intensive on-site technical assistance by a judge-expert team was associated with improved understanding of school discipline issues, stakeholder roles, and the need for collaboration. They also gained a better understanding of the complexities sites face in attempting to track data that crosses multiple systems and sites. The NCJFCJ will be offering to each of the original 16 demonstration sites intensive data training in a technical assistance visit. Ongoing research and replication on interventions to keep kids in school and out of court remains an important objective. 7 references