NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Talk of the Sound recently obtained several reports and other documents related to School Safety and Security in the New Rochelle school system from the period 2009 to 2012. Some are low quality photocopies. We will present several of them over the coming weeks.
In 2009, 2010 and 2011 there were comprehensive reports on 5 Elements: (1) Safe School Environments and Violence Prevention Activities; (2) Alcohol and Drug Prevention Activities; (3) Student Behavioral, Social, and Emotional Supports; (4) Mental Health Services; (5) Early Childhood Social and Emotional Learning Programs.
To the best of our knowledge these annual reports were never shared with the public. We are publishing 5 articles based on the 5 Elements contained in the the 2012 report that covers 2009, 2010 and 2011 over the coming weeks but first we are publishing a summary of the five elements. Future articles will provide further details on each of the five elements.
Funded by the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice, the Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) Initiative works with community partners to address five elements:
1) Safe School Environments and violence prevention activities
2) Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Activities
3) Student Behavioral, Social, and Emotional Supports
4) Mental Health Services
5) Early Childhood Psychosocial and Emotional Development.
The City School District of New Rochelle received the four-year SS/HS grant in 2008. This is an update on grant activities for school year 2009 - 2010.
Element 1: To reduce overall violence in schools and community and achieve safe and orderly schools so that New Rochelle youth can learn effectively.
• An Olweus Bullying Prevention Coordinator worked with the following schools to implement the Olweus Bullying Prevention program: Isaac E. Young, William B. Ward, Henry Barnard, Jefferson, Trinity, and Daniel Webster. Training on the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has been conducted with results indicating that the trainings have been well-received by the school staff.
• Olweus Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committees have been formed in these schools to encourage system-wide change to reduce bullying behaviors. The Olweus Bullying Questionnaire has been administered to 2,424 students at Isaac E. Young, William B. Ward, Jefferson, Daniel Webster, and Trinity since the spring of 2009 to determine the extent of bullying. The results have been used to provide tailored recommendations on ways to reduce bullying and violent behaviors.
• The GR.E.A.T (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program was taught by three New Rochelle Police Officers to all sixth grade students in both Isaac E. Young and Albert Leonard.
• At the end of the G.R.E.A.T. program, 282 students com pleted the evaluation form at Isaac E. Young. The results were overwhelmingly positive - 91% of students indicated that they liked the program either "a lot" or "some", 92% indicated that they learned new skills, and 93% indicated that the information that they learned in the program was useful to them.
• BOCES of Southern Westchester conducted building safety and security reviews of the ten school facilities in the spring 2009. Recommendations for improvements in safety were provided.
• In the spring 2009, there were 69 school staff members, including school social workers, psychologists, school nurses, teachers, and administrators, who participated in the Emergency Response/Safety Team Training presented by BOCES Southern Westchester.
• In June 2010, a Non-Violent Crisis Intervention training was conducted with security officers in the high school and middle schools.
• A draft of the revised and updated Security Handbook was submitted for review.
• In the spring 2010, four Power of Peace workshops, which focus on conflict resolution and anti-violence, were implemented with 74 high school students. Results from the pretest to the posttest indicated that the Power of Peace program was effective in changing student attitudes in a positive direction. The majority (88%) of students indicated that other students should attend the program.
Element 2: To prevent and reduce substance use among New Rochelle youth.
• A Parent Coordinator ha s conducted five Staying Connected with Your Teen programs, one in English and four in Spanish, with a total of 41 parents. Results of the evaluation were overwhelming positive.
• The three Boys and Girls club sites, Mascaro, Remington, and Respect, all implemented the SMART (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) Moves program once a week. During the school year, there were 243 students who attended the program. The SMART Moves program was conducted at Mascaro over the sum mer with a total of 68 students.
Element 3: To create a stronger web of school, family, individual and community supports to foster the healthy development of children and youth in New Rochelle.
• A Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) training was conducted by Effective Educational Practices in the fall and spring. Columbus, Webster, Jefferson, Isaac E. Young, Trinity, and Ward schools have organized PBIS Teams and have created their PB IS school philosophy.
• A staff member at the high school is the Best Buddies Coordinator. Several high school students are Best Buddies Advisors who work with others who have intellectual disabilities.
• Family University, an educational evening for parents and students, was held in April to promote awareness of the challenges facing high school and middle school students and their families.
Element 4: To create an enhanced, integrated and coordinated system of mental health services in New Rochelle for children, youth and families that will result in an increase in access, capacity and quality.
• During the school year, 124 referrals were received at the Guidance Center for children attending schools in the New Rochelle School District (NRSD).
• A Family Service Coordinator (FSC) from the Guidance Center acts as a liaison between the family and/or school and the Guidance Center. The FSC has been assisting parents in completing the Child and Family Clinic Plus, a free emotional wellness/behavioral health screening for the children
• Four Multiple Family Group (MFG) therapy programs were conducted at the Guidance Center, two in the spring and two in the summer with 32 families; two groups were in English and two were in Spanish.
• During the school year, the school psychiatrist saw 33 students (18 elementary school students, 9 middle school students, and 6 high school students).
• A Response to Intervention (RTI) Steering Committee has been formed to focus the RTI effort district-wide. An RTI Coordinator will be identified to assist and coordinate efforts aligned with needs of each school.
Element 5: To enhance the healthy social and emotional development and learning of young children
in New Rochelle.
• There were 38 children enrolled in the Parent Chil d Home Program (PCHP), which provides half hour, twice-weekly visits by eight home visitors who use specially selected toys and books to provide cognitive enrichment through verbal interaction and special game play. There were 1,478 home visits during the 2009-10 program year. There was a waiting list of 90 children in New Rochelle.
• The attendance rate for the PCHP was 87% for the program year. Families were administered the Family Participation Assessment at the beginning and end of the program year with results demonstrated that 97% improved in their total score with an overall average gain of 15%.