Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $981,706)
Mabelvale Middle School, which is within the Little Rock School District and located in Southwest Little Rock, Arkansas is the first middle school to transition to a Community in School model in Little Rock and seeks to establish the school as a hub for the surrounding community. Through this project, Mabelvale Middle School will increase its capacity to address youth violence by equipping educators with evidence-based skills and engaging community-based organizations to provide training and resources. The project will improve prevention and early intervention to reduce violence through Trauma Resource Initiative for Schools (TRIS). Too Good for Violence (TGFV), school-based violence prevention/character education program, will be implemented to build student character and promote positive behaviors. Simultaneously, an existing partnership with Tendaji will be expanded to provide an on-site behavior specialist to provide interventions for all students. Tendaji will collaborate with current school mental health providers to specifically focus on students who exhibit behavior problems. These expansions will be used to develop tailored services for students and families. School Community Cafes will be used to engage families in discussion and solicit responses to youth violence reduction efforts. To integrate and improve communication, ParentPower texts will be used for facts, tips, and growth assessment as it relates to children and family topics. This project will expand the Handle with Care program between Little Rock School District and Little Rock Police Department, improving communication between the two agencies regarding violent/traumatic events experienced by students. Parent surveys will be used to assess progress on each of these activities and the project will include a final school safety plan. Expected outcomes include reducing in-school disciplinary issues, improving school attendance and engagement, increasing family engagement, and developing a sustainable collaborative steering committee to continue to address youth violence long term.