The SSCP framework designed to address two key components of creating safe schools: (1) Policy: Ensuring that schools have successfully adopted required safe school laws and (2) Practice: providing the technical assistance and support around a framework of eight elements that can create policy fidelity and sustain safe school climates: Buy-In; Leadership; Data; Family and Community Engagement; Programs and Practices; Training; Student Engagement; and Enforcement.
The fundamental purpose of school is to teach students what they need to know in order to experience academic success. When kids learn to their maximum potential, they become better citizens and take important steps toward being an educated, productive, contributing member of society. Research demonstrates that students’ academic achievement is fundamentally tied to the nature of the school climate in which they learn. In fact, there’s ample evidence that a school’s climate is the single most predictive factor in its ability to promote student achievement. Simply put, a quality school climate predicts high levels of student success.
School leaders strive to make their schools safe. They are eager to try the latest programs and practices that promise great results. But not all programs and practices will work in every situation, and many times, even the most successful programs cannot sustain success. In order for their programs and overall safe school work to have the best chance at long-term success, schools need to focus first on developing “organizational capacity,” or the buy-in, support, and resources needed to sustain efforts over time. The certification framework helps schools build organizational capacity, and it begins with having a clear policy and implementing eight key elements to sustain safe schools.
The first step in the certification process is to express an interest in the program by contacting the program office through the interest form (See the page). To get a better idea of what the process is the certification, check out the page.
The SSCP helps schools adhere to the requirements of federal and state laws. Beyond this, however, there are many reasons why a school would be honored to receive certification status.
· First, it allows schools to understand their current reality around bullying prevention and safe school efforts—potentially reducing redundancy and cost and time lost on programs and efforts that are making little impact on school climate.
· Second, schools receive technical support and guidance that build each school’s individual capacity which can help ensure that efforts are planned with purpose and sustained over time.
· Finally, there is great prestige earned by the school that becomes certified, in which parents and the local community can take pride—knowing their school is not just implementing the letter of the law but the spirit of the law as well.
The SSCP is funded by a portion of the Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools Grant which was awarded to the State by the federal government in late 2010. The grant is administered by the Iowa Department of Education and focuses on statewide efforts to assess and improve the learning environment of all schools. The grant’s ultimate goal is to improve safety and reduce substance abuse. The Safe School Certification Program is honored to be a part of this grant so that it can help bring the Iowa Safe Schools Law to life in schools all over the state.
We also are funded through partnerships. Nonprofit groups such as the Oregon Safe Schools and Communities Coalition and the Q Center in Portland, Oregon, applied for foundation funding to support a pilot of the SSCP within their state. The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights secured funding though collaboration with the Mayor’s Office to begin a pilot of SSCP in Washington, DC.
Currently, we are looking for additional sites to pilot SSCP. If you are in a community that wishes to bring SSCP to your local schools, please contact us as we can potentially help support efforts to secure funding in order to make it possible for your school to participate.