“No school can be a great school—and ultimately prepare all students for success—if it is not first a safe school.”
~ Arne Duncan[i], January, 2014
The goal of the Center for School Safety is to assist NYS’s Office of Student Support Services in their efforts to create and maintain safe schools throughout the state. Our approach to school safety is to incorporate current research and practice about what makes schools safe with our extensive experience in systems change to promote a school safety improvement process.
Regional technical assistance and professional development programs in key topic areas such as New York State’s Project SAVE and Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) legislation are available for all schools and districts. More intensive and targeted support is provided to schools with specific needs including schools designated as persistently dangerous.
At the core of our work are efforts to support all schools in NYS to incorporate actions consistent with the U.S Department of Education (ED) guiding principles[ii] for improving school climate and discipline:
Create positive climates and focus on prevention;
Develop clear, appropriate, and consistent expectations and response, supports, and interventions to address disruptive student behaviors; and
Ensure fairness, equity and continuous improvement.
The role the Center for School Safety plays is in creating processes, resources, and tools that schools need to create and/or maintain a positive school climate that fosters student success. Measurement Incorporated has selected a team of seasoned specialists who have diverse expertise in school administration, professional development and research methods, and law enforcement. As a team, we have comprehensive experience as both researchers and practitioners charged with addressing school safety and social emotional development,. Our broad and deep understanding of the issues make our team not only highly-qualified for the work but also competent and flexible across a wide set of circumstances and specific needs.
As the Director of the Center for School Safety, I want to underscore the importance of the work we are undertaking with the Office of Student Support Services. As someone whose experience with safe schools initiatives began with the federal programs that came in response to Columbine, I understand the value of educating students in a positive school environment and the difference that can make for students and school staff. I have witnessed the importance of family and community support in creating and maintaining healthy school environments.
I speak for all our team when I say that we will dedicate our vast array of resources and our collective human capital to ensure the success of the Center. We believe in its mission and its goals. We know that every student deserves to be educated in an environment that celebrates their diversity, encourages their academic success, cares about their social-emotional development, and affords them the opportunity to realize their full potential.
[i] Dear Colleague Letter, Duncan, A. (2014) Guiding Principles: A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline; U.S. Department of Education; January, 2014
[ii] Guiding Principles: A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline; U.S. Department of Education; January, 2014