The Center for Safe Schools and Center for Schools and Communities recognize Pennsylvania school district, distinguished professor and publisher for innovation and excellence in developing and promoting efforts to keep kids safe, inspire learning and support families.
Photo left to right: Shileste Overton Morris, Center for Schools and Communities director, Jack Hartman, Hazelden Publishing’s northeast regional sales manager, Jane Riese accepting on behalf of Dr. Susan P. Limber, Clemson University, Dr. Timothy Steinhauer, Mt. Lebanon School District’s superintendent, Randall Fox, Center for Safe Schools director
HARRISBURG, Pa., October 3, 2019 — The Center for Safe Schools today named Safe Schools Champions for outstand¬ing work in developing, supporting and promoting safe learning environments that benefit children, youth and families across Pennsylvania. The awards took place during the 2019 Safe Schools Conference, which brought together state leaders, school administrators, student support and assistance personnel, educators, school nurses and resource officers, law enforcement and other community partners. The 2019 Safe Schools Champions are Mt. Lebanon School District, Hazelden Publishing and Susan P. Limber, Ph.D.
“Safe Schools Champions lead through example,” said Shileste Overton Morris, Center for Schools and Communities director. Their outstanding commitment and hard work were recognized by the peers, leaders and community members who nominated them. We are thrilled to shine the light on their inspiring accomplishments.”
Mt. Lebanon School District in Pittsburgh has supported a district-wide approach to bullying prevention and positive school climate. They have incorporated evidence-based practices based on the individual needs of each building, but coordinated their efforts across the district. They integrated programs like Responsive Classroom, Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, mindfulness and other activities that foster a supportive, preventive and responsive whole school system, and make student needs a priority.
“They routinely examine their progress using data and feedback to address needed change; and to sustain their efforts, they pooled funding resources from the Highmark Foundation, state and local foundations and private donations,” said Randall Fox, Center for Safe Schools director. “Their persistence and creativity in helping the kids at Mt. Lebanon School District stay safe is inspiring.”
Hazelden Publishing, as a part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, is dedicated to helping young people live healthy lives and provides resources and evidence-based programming that addresses the struggles and barriers youth face today.
“Hazelden Publishing has been a partner of Center for Safe Schools, Clemson University and the Highmark Foundation for more than 10 years and works diligently to provide innovative resources, training and support for our youth in violence prevention,” Fox said.
Susan P. Limber is director of the Center on Youth Participation and Human Rights, and professor of psychology at Clemson University. She is a developmental psychologist and one of the authors for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. She has provided research and writing on the impacts of youth violence, children’s rights and protection. Limber’s work with Pennsylvania has most notably been providing evidence-based interventions and prevention programming to reduce the incidents of bullying by and against youth.
“Sue’s work with the Center for Safe Schools, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and many other youth serving agencies has helped Pennsylvania become a leader in the nation on bullying prevention and intervention,” Fox said.
According to the National Centers on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, “An extensive amount of research has linked a positive school environment to higher test scores, graduation rates and attendance rates. For example, effective and highly qualified teachers with high expectations for students and good teaching conditions have been linked to strong academic performance in multiple studies. Peer support for achievement-oriented behaviors, such as studying or participating in class, is also strongly tied to positive school climate and academic achievement.”
The annual Safe Schools Conference features state and national experts presenting the latest research and trends in school safety and violence prevention, bullying prevention, school climate and student assistance; and effective program models and promising practices. The 2019 event is sponsored by the Highmark Foundation.
About the Center for Safe Schools
For more than two decades, the Center for Safe Schools at Center for Schools and Communities has been committed to serving as a statewide clearinghouse for schools, law enforcement, parents and others on school safety and youth violence prevention. Through expert staff, as well as access to a network of state and national researchers and practitioners, the Center provides state-of-the-art professional development and technical assistance to schools across Pennsylvania. Learn more at Safe Schools.