Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $964,670)
iEmpire Academy, part of the REAL Journey Academies network, is the lead Local Education Agency (LEA) for a consortium of seventeen public charter schools in San Bernardino County, California, serving 9,898 students in grades K-12. As the lead LEA, iEmpire Academy will work closely with all schools to implement our San Bernardino County Charter School Consortium for STOP School Violence Prevention Program (“SBCC”). SBCC serves a diverse, high-needs population at 17 school sites: 84% are classified as economically disadvantaged by the California Department of Education; 71% are Hispanic, 21% African American, 4% White, and 4% of mixed-race. More than 60% of our students live in single-family homes, with a high school graduation rate of only 68%.
Unfortunately, San Bernardino ranked 19th amongst the most dangerous cities in the U.S. for 2021. and is the most dangerous city in California. San Bernardino filed bankruptcy in 2012 following the 2008 financial crisis which severely impacted the city’s ability to address violence in our community. Consortium schools have a significant need for STOP grant funding and reside in a federally designated Qualified Opportunity Zone.
Our request is aligned with the five purpose areas: 1) Implementing school safety technology; 2) Developing and implementing multi-disciplinary behavioral threat assessment teams (BTA) which will conduct evaluations that track data pertaining to the use of BTA, the demographic characteristics of those who undergo assessments and the referral results of those assessments; 3) Training school personnel and educating students on preventing school violence; 4) Conducting specialized training for law enforcement who work in schools and with school-age population; and 5) Hiring school personnel to directly support the prevention of school violence. Programs, training and activities to support our goals are evidence-based, comprehensive, and designed to meet the individual needs of our staff, students and community. Our application includes resumes for key personnel, a timeline, and a Memorandum of Understanding with community partners. Our overarching objective is to improve security at SBCC schools by providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize, respond quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence and ensure a positive school climate. The related goals, objectives and specific outcomes are included in the narrative section of our application. iEmpire Academy has designed a management plan to achieve all the objectives of the proposed program on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities of staff, community partners, and contracted service providers.