Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,999,313)
This proposal describes an innovative coaching and technical assistance model to scale best practices in threat assessment and violence prevention across a large urban district. The University of South Florida (USF) has partnered with Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) over the last three years to develop best practice guidance for Behavioral Threat Assessment (BTA) teams, including district-wide implementation of the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG) and the provision of violence reduction intervention services. HCPS is the 7th largest school district in the nation, serving over 223,000 students in 294 schools. The district’s population is geographically diverse, with rural agricultural communities, suburban neighborhoods, and an urban core. HCPS has experienced a 59% increase in threat assessments over the last two years; this increase is specifically prevalent in middle schools. Noting the increase in TAs and high educator turnover, a critical need exists in HCPS to install best practice threat assessment training to middle school BTA teams, and train school personnel and students on trauma-informed threat prevention, including developing and maintaining a supportive school climate. Training provided to school personnel and students focuses on prevention, intervention, and postvention for students identified as at-risk using trauma-informed and evidence-based practices. This proposal will address these critical needs through (1) supporting the development and implementation of BTA in middle schools and improved stakeholder communication with trauma informed training and a coaching and feedback model, (2) expanding BTA training to new populations (school personnel and student populations), including monitoring and fidelity plans, and strategies to improve school climate, and (3) building district internal capacity to promote sustainability via development and installation of a Train the Trainers model. These trainings will bolster TA and BTA team support and awareness within local schools to improve the sustainability of BTA teams and violence prevention after grant funding is exhausted.