Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $811,316)
Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education, through its Center for Educational Partnerships, will serve three high-need school districts in New York City, the nation’s largest local educational agency (LEA) serving nearly 1 million students. The partner LEAs, Community School Districts (CSDs) Four and Five and the Manhattan High School District, are all located in NYC’s Borough of Manhattan and serve more than 52,000 elementary and secondary school students, 96.2 percent of whom are minorities (primarily African American and Hispanic), and 79 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged based on their eligibility for free and reduced-price meals. The Borough of Manhattan has a demonstrated need for school violence prevention services. The project will serve 480 participants over a 36-month period. The target audience will consist of 240 students in grades K–12 and 240 school personnel (e.g., principals, teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, family workers and NYPD School Safety Agents) over that span. The project’s primary interventions will consist of workshops covering three topic areas: (1) Mental health-based strategies that help participants recognize, understand, and respond to stressors and triggers that lead to student violence; (2) Evidence-based strategies for improving school climate and culture to prevent and/or reduce incidents of youth-related violence; and (3) Restorative Justice Practices that can be used as alternatives to suspensions and other severe types of student discipline. The project will focus on culturally sensitive and appropriate techniques specific to the partner LEA’s large minority enrollment. Interventions for kindergarten to grade 12 pupils will include socioemotional learning (SEL) driven classes that cultivate prosocial behaviors (i.e., mindfulness) while also helping these young people better understand and deal with negative emotions.