Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $803,529)
This project aims to address a critical gap in school safety by training K-12 school personnel and the members of community mental health agencies who support them in the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) PREPaRE curriculum. PREPaRE is an evidence-based and widely used model that helps school safety crisis teams recognize, respond quickly to, and prevent school violence and other crises. Louisiana schools and students experience high rates of violence. Trained and prepared school crisis intervention teams are a key element of a school’s comprehensive strategy to prevent violence and promote a positive school climate. Effective intervention is predicated upon having a team already established, trained, and ready to spring into action. Despite the importance of being prepared, many school personnel lack the training and expertise necessary for comprehensive school safety planning and preparedness. This project will be carried out with two objectives. First, we will build the capacity of school safety and crisis response teams by coordinating a team of 9 trainers to provide PREPaRE trainings to school staff and school mental health providers, including training up to 800 school personnel in the PREPaRE Core Workshop 1 and 320 school mental health providers in the PREPaRE Core Workshop 2. Workshops will be provided in the five largest metropolitan areas in Louisiana (reaching 77% of the state population). In addition, Workshops will be co-listed with the Lousiana School Psychological Association annual conference and will also be provided virtually, together assuring Workshop reach into rural Lousiana. To bridge the gap between didactic training and in-school implementation, we will also provide 150 hours of Technical Assistance. Second, we will ensure state-wide sustainability of the model by building three cohorts of 18 total new trainers using the NASP PREPaRE Training of Trainers (ToT) approach. We will support these new trainers in becoming expert trainers through a learning community and a tiered mentorship structure. These new trainers can then independently offer Workshops in their districts, laying the foundation of affordable and sustainable implementation over time. Finally, we will undergo key tasks to ensure that the project, trainings, and trainers are accurately and transparently represented on national, state, and project-specific websites and social media outlets. Taken together, the momentum that this project will build will carry school crisis preparedness forward across the state of Louisiana for a decade or more, addressing a critical gap in comprehensive school safety planning.