Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $150,000)
The Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program is a life-skills competency program designed to provide students with the skills they need to avoid gang pressure and youth violence. G.R.E.A.T.'s violence prevention curricula help students develop values and practice behaviors that will help them avoid destructive activities. G.R.E.A.T. program staff coordinate project activities with federal, regional, state, and local agencies, as well as individuals from community and civic groups. The goal of the program is to train criminal justice professionals to deliver a school-based curriculum that teaches life-skills competencies, gang awareness, and violence-avoidance techniques.
The School Board of Miami-Dade County, through the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department (M-DSPD), will implement all four components of the G.R.E.A.T. program. Miami-Dade County Public Schools is the largest local education agency in Florida and the fourth largest in the nation, with more than 353,283 students in 212 elementary, 22 K-8 Centers, 69 middle, 52 senior high, and 23 alternative schools. The M-DSPD proposes to use the FY 08 G.R.E.A.T. funds within the City of Miami Gardens and the North West area of Miami-Dade County, which has the greatest incidence of youth crime, violence, and gang involvement, as assessed by MPACT and the Juvenile Justice Court. The M-DSPD employs sworn, state-certified law enforcement officers, with county-wide jurisdiction, and is the fifth largest law enforcement agency in Miami-Dade County with 215 officers and 50 civilian employees. The M-DSPD is the jurisdictional first responder to all incidents on school grounds, investigates all campus crimes, completes background checks, and coordinates local public safety responses to crimes in and around the schools.
The elementary and middle school components will be implemented in tandem, in order to decrease travel time and maintain continuity of service. Three G.R.E.A.T. officers will teach six classes per day, five days per week at the 23 targeted schools. Approximately 85 fourth and fifth grade classrooms will receive the six-week elementary school component; officers will teach five classrooms per day. Approximately 99 sixth and seventh grade classrooms will receive the 13-week middle school component.
The summer component begins in June. Outreach workers from the Miami Partnership for Action Community Task Force will begin recruitment for the summer component during the first month of the grant. The summer component will be developed by the three G.R.E.A.T. officers during the first three months of the grant and includes instruction in the G.R.E.A.T. core concepts. In addition, the M-DSPD will provide field tips, recreational/sporting events, and outdoor game activities for the G.R.E.A.T. participants. The family component starts in October and continues through February. During the four months, two G.R.E.A.T. officers will conduct four, six-week parenting programs. Each program consists of 12 families, for a total of 48 families to be served. The G.R.E.A.T. families component is followed by outdoor interactive games between parents and students facilitated by the G.R.E.A.T. officers.