Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,000,000)
Purpose of Project: Stratford School District proposes Project Uplift, a program designed to reduce school violence by addressing specific factors affecting Stratford Public Schools students: interpersonal skills deficits, background/current experiences of trauma, and a local juvenile justice system, which has evolved away from juvenile court interventions but has not yet replaced them with an effective, restorative strategy.
Primary Activities: Project Uplift consists of three main strategies, all evidence-based:
1) A multidisciplinary intervention team that both responds to actual or potentially violent incidents in schools and monitors the schools’ data related to violence.
2) Training staff teams from all four buildings in trauma-informed instruction and climate.
3) Training staff teams from all four buildings in Restorative Practice.
Expected Outcomes: Project Uplift will serve approximately 385 students and their families over the grant period: 85 in Year 1, 150 each in Years 2 and 3, with a total of 70% of enrolled students completing the program. Stratford School District expects to see significantly lower rates of sanctions (particularly out-of-school suspensions), arrests, and engaging in violent acts. Participating students will demonstrate improved interpersonal and stress management skills.
Service Area: The service area will be the Town of Stratford, Connecticut.
Intended Beneficiaries: The direct beneficiaries of Project Uplift will be middle and high school students in the Stratford Public Schools who:
1) are at risk of committing violent acts or offenses, or
2) have committed a violent act or offense but have not entered the juvenile court system due to diversion.
Project Uplift will provide such students with a case-managed suite of services designed to address trauma and encourage non-violent, restorative participation in the school communities. Participating students’ families will also be included in, and benefit from, the programming.
Stratford’s entire, diverse secondary student community will benefit from restorative, trauma-informed climates in their schools. This is particularly important in the Stratford Public Schools, which is increasingly diverse, with 38% Hispanic, 30% White, and 25% Black (7% other) students. The district’s diversity has increased from 1%-2.5% per year over the past decade, requiring students to develop greater interpersonal skills to function in a diverse environment.
The Stratford community will benefit from reduced risk of youth violence and decreased court involvement of students.
There are no subrecipients for this proposal, but the district’s partners include the Town of Stratford Community Services and its Juvenile Review Board (representing several community agencies), and the Stratford Police Department.