Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $996,879)
Spokane Public Schools, located in Eastern Washington, serves over 30,000 students and families. Spokane Public Schools has been transformative over the last four years in developing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports or MTSS. Despite developing an exhaustive list of prevention and intervention strategies to promote a safe environment for both teachers and learners, school violence is still a growing concern. Knowing families are the experts of their children, Spokane Public Schools proposes partnering with its families to prevent school violence.
Spokane Public Schools aims to build the capacity of its Office of Family and Community Engagement to implement a new framework that will build and, in some instances, rebuild relationships with families to prevent school violence. The Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships (Version 2) was developed in research and best practice by Karen Mapp, Ph.D. with support of the U.S. Department of Education in 2013. The framework is not a roadmap, but rather a compass to guide school districts in supporting the development of family engagement strategies, policies, and programs.
Goal one of Spokane Public Schools’ Students, Teachers, Organizations, and Parents (S.T.O.P.) School Violence Project is to decrease school violence through improving family engagement to ensure all students and families have equitable access to resources. Federal funds will be used to hire three Family Engagement Specialists and a Substance Abuse Counselor to partner with families identified by the district’s In-School Diversion Program, created to offer accountability to students at-risk of suspension or arrest. The long-term outcome of creating these new positions is to create authentic relationships with families to provide the needed capacity, connections, and confidence to access supports for their children and themselves.
Goal two of the S.T.O.P. School Violence Project is to increase a positive climate in schools by implementing on-going professional development around family engagement for school staff, students, and their families. To develop partnerships with families to reduce school violence, there must also be mutual trust between both parties. To make systemic changes around improving school climate, Family Engagement Specialists will coordinate listening sessions with families and students to understand different perspectives on how schools can improve school safety, feelings of connectedness to school, and challenging the “code of silence.” A long-term outcome of this goal is to have staff and families who can initiate and sustain effective partnerships on reducing school violence and improving climates of schools.