Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $999,816)
RTI International, in collaboration with McGrath Training Solutions, will implement the McGrath Response System (MRS) in six priority school districts in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit. The purpose of the MRS is to prevent bullying, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and discrimination based on race, color, national origin, and sex by improving school capacity and infrastructure for identifying, reporting, and investigating concerns, complaints, and rumors from students, school personnel, and parents or community members. Project activities will include training 150 administrators, counselors, and other designated personnel in the intake and investigations of safety and equity-based concerns, and training approximately 24 school and district staff to become certified instructors of the MRS. Certified instructors will then train approximately 500 school staff and 5,000 students in how to recognize, report, and respond to safety concerns. The anticipated outcomes of these trainings include improved awareness among students and staff of how to prevent, report, and respond to safety concerns and improvements in districts’ capacity and infrastructure to identify, report, and investigate safety and equity-based concerns compliantly with federal civil rights laws (Titles VI, VII, and IX). The project will include an implementation study to document services delivered, number and types of participants, and perceived impact and quality of the trainings. Also, the project will include an outcome evaluation to assess the impact of the trainings on student and staff knowledge and on district- and school-level processes and procedures for preventing and addressing safety and equity-based concerns. Pre- and post-implementation surveys and district-level risk assessments will be used to measure changes in student and staff understanding of training materials and in districts’ capacity to address safety issues. Interviews with administrators and other key personnel will be conducted to understand perceptions of the MRS’s impact, facilitators of success, and challenges and lessons learned from their participation.