Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $978,021)
Para Los Niños (PLN), a community organization based in Los Angeles, California, will establish the Caring Community Initiative (CCI) to prevent violence and cultivate safe, inclusive classrooms at its three charter schools, serving transitional kindergarten (TK) through 8th grade students. PLN’s education model centralizes safety for every student by providing integrated educational, mental health, and family support services on-site. The CCI will expand upon current Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) efforts by adopting systems, training, and services that deeply integrate violence prevention best practices.
Activities: Administrators and school support teams will collaborate to integrate bullying and violence prevention into cultural norms and maintain trauma-informed systems that reduce obstacles for students who experience violence. CCI plans include training, capacity building, and services for students and families. Specifically, PLN will: (1) reduce disciplinary incidents by at least 25% by providing violence prevention programming for 1,000 students and families by adding a full-time middle school social worker and engaging TK-8 students in PBIS activities; (2) increase all teachers’ and staff members’ knowledge and skills to prevent and respond to school violence by training 160 TK-8 staff in the evidence-informed HRC Welcoming Schools program, supporting two Project Innovations LA Innovations 2 Coaches to support teachers to adopt social and emotional best practices in the classroom, as well as providing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training for all full-time staff; and (3) engage 20 to 35 parents per year as leaders in creating safe schools by training Promotora peer educators and parents in Welcoming Schools and Best Start Region 1 (BSR1) programs.
Products and deliverables will include Welcoming Schools, BRS1, DEI staff, and parent training materials and training modules; school social work intervention activity plans; and evaluation data and program reports. As a result of CCI, approximately 1,000 students and 160 educators will receive training and education to increase school safety.
Service area: PLN charter schools are in Los Angeles’s Central City East neighborhood, informally known as Skid Row, which is widely recognized for having high poverty and violent crime rates. The area has the highest rates of homelessness, substance use, and overdose deaths in L.A County.
Beneficiaries: PLN’s three charter schools serve 1,000 students in TK through 8th grades and their families. Most (92%) families live at or below the federal poverty level; 91% are Latinx, 7% are African American, and 69% are English learners.