Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,991,780)
The Maine School Safety Center (MSSC), housed within the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) is proposing this project to further enhance the development and implementation of Behavioral Threat Assessment teams at districts across the state. This project will further build upon an already ongoing statewide effort to address the problem of school violence through prevention and intervention efforts to support students. The State of Maine has aligned with federal recommendations and adopted threat assessment as a key strategy to identify threats and implement effective interventions. With the support of a statewide Threat Assessment Advisory Committee (TAAC), the state has identified the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG) methodology as the most appropriate model given the strength of the approach and the specific consideration given to address the challenges of rural areas. Despite these efforts in Maine, we still require additional support to get our threat assessment program fully in place as soon as possible to address the growing needs of districts. As statewide data suggests, there is still significant need to support our communities as they continue to experience exposure to social, emotional, and familial risk factors. The focus on identifying threats to safety has never been more critical than now as schools strategize the return to fully occupied buildings.
To address these challenges, the State of Maine is proposing to enhance the implementation of our multidisciplinary threat assessment teams by delivering our evidence-based CSTAG model through a high-quality eLearning training platform for our school teams to build, strengthen, and maintain knowledge and skills in threat assessment and suicide prevention. The threat assessment training will include both eLearning modules and an interactive virtual or in-person team learning components that not only provide the background needed to implement threat assessment, but the practical hands-on skills. The case management software will guide multidisciplinary teams as they document and assess cases, and more effectively implement harm reduction plans for at-risk students that are trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate. We will make these tools available to all districts throughout the state over a 36-month period using a cyclical and phased approach to implementation. We have also embedded specific elements within our proposal that with ensure these activities have the long-term impacts we desire even after the conclusion of the grant.