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Toward Better and Safer Schools - A School Leader's Guide to Delinquency Prevention - Books in Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
This summary highlights principles to guide school-based delinquency prevention programs, as well as selected strategies that have been successful in improving public schools and reducing delinquency.
Following an overview of the original report's contents is a discussion of the rationales underlying school-based delinquency prevention. It emphasizes the importance of increased communications, well-defined and fairly applied standards of behavior, and student, staff, and community involvement. The summary explains a six-step process for selecting and implementing a program: assessing strengths and weaknesses, setting goals and objectives, developing an action plan and task force, implementing the program, and gauging success. Samples of the handbook's 45 program models are presented in 6 categories: school organization, instructional techniques, curricula, student motivation, school-family relationships, and school-community relationships. Each description covers the program's purpose, rationale, target audience, format and content, evidence of effectiveness, and space, equipment, and personnel requirements. Some examples of schools' strategies include dividing a large school into smaller units to combat alienation, dividing students into competitive teams to promote cooperative achievement, providing law-related education or an alternative pursuits program where groups of teenagers meet and explore an area of their own choosing (e.g. Eastern philosophy or career development), providing home-school coordinators who act as a liaison between the school and families of students who need additional help, and implementing a program whereby students can work at a career occupation during most of the school day. The conclusion emphasizes that improving school safety is fundamental to enhancing the learning climate. Four references and four sources of additional information are supplied. For the full report, see NCJ 94262.