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Violence Prevention Network for Schools (VPNs)

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $999,842)

The Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio (ESC of NEO) and its partners propose to develop and implement a Violence Prevention Network for Schools (VPNs), a multi-tiered systems of support framework for K-12 schools in Cuyahoga and Montgomery County. This project builds upon an ongoing statewide effort to address school violence through prevention and intervention efforts to support students. The VPNs’ multi-tiered framework includes developing behavioral threat assessment (BTA) teams, enhancing district and building level policies and procedures, Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG) training, suicide prevention training, and implementing an electronic case management software. Ohio’s HB123 legislation requires BTA teams to retain members with expertise in school administration, instruction, counseling, and law enforcement, as a multidisciplinary perspective is critical when conducting threat assessments. Despite best efforts to implement BTA and a tiered violence prevention framework in both counties, schools continue to experience challenges around establishing and maintaining fully trained BTA teams and developing policies and procedures across the tiered levels. To successfully implement BTA and a tiered framework in schools, VPNs needs to provide ongoing, accessible training and coaching to entire teams to ensure team members understand the purpose and processes involved in BTA and throughout the framework. Additionally, in Cuyahoga County specifically, threats to self-remain prevalent. Educating the school community on suicide and suicide prevention will increase the likelihood of recognizing warning signs and reporting concerns to BTA teams for appropriate intervention.
To address local challenges, the VPN proposes to enhance the implementation of multidisciplinary BTA teams by delivering the evidence based CSTAG model through a high-quality eLearning training platform for school teams to build, strengthen, and maintain knowledge and skills in BTA and suicide prevention. CSTAG training includes eLearning modules and interactive virtual or in-person team training that provide both the background needed to implement BTA and the practical hands-on skills. The VPNs will also work with local law enforcement agencies to offer CSTAG eLearning modules designed specifically for law enforcement. The case management software will guide multidisciplinary teams as they document and assess cases, and more effectively implement harm reduction plans for at-risk students that are trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate. These tools will be made available to participating districts over a 36-month period using a cyclical and phased approach to implementation. Specific elements are also embedded within our proposal that will ensure these activities have the long-term impacts desired beyond the life of the grant.

Date Created: September 27, 2023