Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $999,744)
The Syracuse City School District (SCSD) STOP School Violence Program will provide a comprehensive, trauma-informed approach to increasing school safety and developing and ensuring a positive school climate in a city that is in desperate need. The program will operate in 6 of the SCSD’s 32 schools, those with the highest need as determined by local crime data, State School Report Cards, and Behavior/Attendance/Grade (BAG) Reports. Each year, the schools will deliver two engaging, interactive assemblies for more than 4,500 students while 90 students with need for violence-prevention intervention will receive comprehensive case management, mentoring support and referral services. Additionally, as many as 400 teachers and other staff will participate in training on topics related to violence prevention, such as trauma sensitivity, culturally responsive practices, de-escalation strategies, and mental health awareness. Programming will be provided by the SCSD and two local, youth-focused, community-based organizations (CBOs) with expertise in the areas of juvenile justice, local gang activity, culturally responsive practices and evidence-based violence prevention strategies. Full-time staff from Street Addiction Institute, Inc. and Good Life Youth Foundation, who live within and have their finger on the pulse of the targeted community, will have school-based offices but will conduct community outreach and be available to students around the clock, seven days a week. They will deliver assemblies and provide intensive supports to targeted program participants, as well as provide high-quality professional development for school district staff. A certified SCSD social worker will be responsible for day-to-day program operations, overseeing implementation and reporting, and acting as the primary liaison among the students, school building staff, CBO partners and the community-at-large. An advisory committee comprised of various stakeholders (SCSD, CBOs, students, parents, juvenile justice, mental health providers, and law enforcement) will convene monthly initially, then quarterly, to monitor progress and advise on mid-course corrections. Through the STOP School Violence Program, the SCSD will forge a strong community network that will, over the next three years, deliver direct service to as many as 13,500 students (through school assemblies), 270 extremely high-risk youth (through one-on-one mentoring and casework) and 1,200 school staff (through professional development). (Depending on targeted schools each year, these figures may include duplicate counts year-over-year.) Ultimately, this program will benefit the entire Syracuse community and its more than 145,000 residents, as we work collaboratively toward the common goal of preventing and reducing school violence.