Arizona Safe and Supportive Schools

Safe Drug Free School Graphic

The Arizona Department of Education will use a systematic approach to improving conditions for learning in eligible schools through improved measurement systems that assess safety and other conditions for learning, and the implementation of programmatic interventions that address problems identified by data. The measurement systems will use valid and reliable instruments to gather comprehensive data related to school engagement and school environment from students to assess conditions for learning and from school staff and students’ families or guardians to assess school engagement.

Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) Grant Details

S3 Grant Goals and Objectives
Goal 1 – Improve conditions for learning in eligible schools by utilizing valid and reliable data.
Objective 1 – Intervention schools will experience a decrease in the percentage of students who report personal harassment or bullying on school property.
Objective 2 – Intervention schools will experience an improvement in their school safety score.
Objective 3 – Intervention schools will experience a decrease in the number of suspensions for violent incidents without physical injury.
Objective 4 – Intervention schools will experience a decrease in the percentage of students that are offered, sold or given an illegal substance on campus.
Goal 2 – Reduce high-risk student behaviors that present barriers to learning in eligible schools by using valid and reliable data.
Objective 1 – Intervention schools will experience a decrease in the percentage of students who report current (30-day) alcohol use.
Objective 2 – Intervention schools will identify and refer more students for appropriate interventions for substance use.

As a process for achieving higher levels of academic and behavioral success for all students, Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) programmatic interventions focus on providing a continuum of prevention interventions to improve conditions for learning with varying levels of support. These supports are organized into a three tier system. The first tier consists of strategies that are delivered to all students to prevent problem behavior, commonly referred to as Universal interventions; strategies found within the second tier, referred to as Targeted interventions offer additional supports to reduce current problem behaviors for student or prevent problem behaviors of students who have not yet exhibited the behavior but have shown signs or have predispositions towards risk taking, or violence, or academic struggle; and the third tier, for those students who have already exhibited the behavior, comprises of Indicated interventions that are specifically designed to meet the needs of students to reduce any barriers, the intensity, or the severity of current problem behaviors.

When interventions are provided across the continuum, the result is that approximately 80 percent of students will have no need for more focused interventions, greatly freeing up time and resources to focus on those with greatest need, and significantly contributing to a positive school climate.

Three major S3 Strategies/Interventions
Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS), BreakAway and Student Assistance Programs (SAPs) were selected as the three major prevention/intervention strategies for the S3 Grant. Participating schools also selected additional targeted and indicated strategies to address specific issues on campus.

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a school wide set of processes that facilitate development of a positive school climate through a broad range of systematic and individualized data driven strategies for achieving important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behavior with all students. PBIS applies a three-tiered system of support, and a problem-solving process to enhance the capacity of schools to effectively educate all students. Tier 1 focuses on setting and teaching behavioral expectations in all areas of the school including the hallway, bus, cafeteria and classroom. Tier 2 and Tier 3 allow educators to focus more closely on the needs of groups or individual students. Core components of PBIS include creating a system for acknowledging positive behaviors, creating a system for handling behavior errors, training for staff and students on behavior expectations and making data driven decisions. PBIS results in reduced office referrals and truancy, and increases in attendance rates, school safety, and positive student-teacher relationships.

The BreakAway Program focuses its efforts on intentionally creating conditions that promote the academic success of students in the school community. BreakAway provides a framework that emphasizes youth involvement by actively engaging students as advocates for positive change on campus. A BreakAway school team comprises of the principal and other administrators, a staff member who serves as a team “champion,” students, and additional members as needed. Selected student team members must be representative of the entire school community as they will be involved in the planning process for changing school conditions in need of attention including, but not limited to: disruptive behavior, bullying, and drug use. Students serving on BreakAway provide access to the “pulse” of what is occurring within the school community and encourages their action in intervening where needed.

Student Assistance Programs (SAPs)
Student Assistance Programs (SAPs) is a comprehensive school-based program designed to identify issues which prevent students from learning and being successful in school. Student Assistance Programs provide education, prevention, early identification, intervention referral, and support groups for students. Commonly referred to as student support groups, SAPs foster risk reduction and positive asset development within students. SAPs provide a safe place in which students are free to express their feelings and concerns as they develop positive relationships with peers and adults and acquire knowledge, skills and attitude development leading to student success in the school setting. Curriculum sets for SAP cover a wide range of topics that address many of the challenges students face, such as substance use.

Grantee Overview