Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,000,000)
The Laconia School District seeks to address the critical need for violence prevention, mental health services, and promotion of a positive school climate through the Building Bridges to Safe Schools Project. This initiative aims to (1) reduce school violence, (2) promote a positive climate, (3) increase school safety, and (4) increase access to behavioral and mental health services for students within the Laconia School District. Project activities include implementing restorative justice at the middle and high school levels, non-violent Crisis Prevention Institute verbal de-escalation training, adopting the NH Multi-Tiered System of Support for Behavioral Wellness framework, and offering professional development opportunities for staff in self-care and mental health. The project also involves the implementation of an evidence-based social-emotional curriculum, hiring student outreach coordinators, and providing Crisis Prevention Institute training for staff members. Moreover, the project will establish a multi-disciplinary risk assessment Emergency Planning Team, provide training in Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate strategies, and create a school-based student suicide awareness and prevention training program. Furthermore, after-school clubs at both the middle and high schools will be offered, allowing students to participate in school safety initiatives. Expected outcomes include reduced suspension durations, increased instructional time, decreased office discipline referrals, improved school safety, and enhanced access to mental health services for students. Key deliverables and milestones include the successful implementation of restorative justice and de-escalation training, the establishment of an Emergency Planning Team, and the recruitment of a full-time mental health clinician for the three elementary schools. The service area of the proposed project is the Laconia School District, which includes one middle school, one high school, and three elementary schools. The intended beneficiaries are students within the district who require support in addressing behavioral health challenges, as well as the teachers and staff who will be equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to create a positive and supportive learning environment. By addressing these critical needs, the Laconia School District's Building Bridges to Safe Schools Project aims to empower students and teachers to recognize, respond quickly to, and prevent acts of violence, and ensure a positive and supportive school climate.