L. Lee Davis
FAX: (434) 245-2610
Charlottesville City Schools
1400 Melbourne Road
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901
Charlottesville City Schools has a close working relationship with community agencies including juvenile justice and area health resources/facilities that support safe and drug free schools and community. As a member of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Prevention Coalition, we sponsor and participate in parent and community workshops and educational/information sharing events that promote school safety and a drug free educational environment.
The School Health Advisory Board (SHAB) acts as the advisory committee for our Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Program. With their recommendation and support, our school division conducts the PRIDE Survey every other year with all students in grades 6-12. The results of this assessment are reviewed and the results compared to the previous results. This information was shared with our advisory board and with school administrators and is the basis for the SDFSCA proposal.
Our grant monies have allowed us to purchase and implement violence prevention as part of our school guidance curriculum in grades K-8.
The Second Steps Program is designed to reduce impulsive, high-risk and aggressive behaviors and increase children’s social-emotional competence and other protective factors. The program’s content varies according to grade level and is organized into three skill building units:
- Empathy – students will learn to identify and understand their own emotions and those of others;
- Impulse control and problem-solving – students will learn to choose positive goals; control impulsivity, and evaluate the consequences of their behavior in terms of safety, fairness, and impact on others;
- Anger management -- students will learn to manage emotional reactions and engage in decision-making even under stressful circumstances.
Additionally, SDFSCA funds fully support a purchased service contract with Community Attention (a division of the Charlottesville Department of Social Services) to coordinate a service-learning program, Teens GIVE.
For students in grades 5-6 at Walker Upper Elementary, Teens GIVE emphasizes career awareness and supports the social skills development of the Second Steps Program. Through service experience, Teens GIVE teaches the value of giving back to the community and empowering students to “make a difference.” The remainder of funds is spent supporting the integration of a Service Learning Model coordinated by Teens GIVE for all ninth grade students as part of their transition to Charlottesville High School.
In 2006, the city of Charlottesville, was awarded a grant from Department of Criminal Justice Services, Juvenile Justice Prevention for the implementation of two evidence-based programs: 1) the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program to prepare staff to consistently recognize and respond to student behavior in a positive manner; and 2) Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RiPP) to provide students with conflict resolution strategies, skills and training in peer mediation.
These programs address the following “risk factors”:
- early initiation of problem behavior (RI-3);
- favorable attitudes towards antisocial behavior (RI-4); and
- susceptibility to negative peer pressure (RP-3) while strengthening the “protective factor” of promoting positive social skills (PI-3).
Olweus Bullying-Prevention Program
The Olweus Program seeks to restructure the existing school environment to reduce opportunities and rewards for bullying through the actions of school staff, and has been found to reduce bullying among children, improve social climate of classrooms, and reduce related antisocial behaviors such as vandalism and truancy. The purpose of primary prevention efforts is to reduce the incidence of a particular problem by addressing specific needs within an entire population (Caplan, 1964), as opposed to working with a sub-group of high-risk students within a school, thus the target group is all students in grades K-8 The Olweus program targets all children at grade levels K-8.
Responding In Peaceful and Positive Ways
Responding In Peaceful and Positive Ways is designed to provide students in middle/junior high with conflict resolution strategies and skills thus enhancing their ability make good decisions when confronted with conflict. This program provides students with needed skills to transition to the high school setting; enhances services for the student population in grades 6, 7, and 8; and supports other bullying and gang prevention programs being recommended by our local prevention coalition and other stakeholders.
In addition to these efforts, the city schools is exploring the model of Restorative Practice to be implemented in both Buford and Charlottesville High Schools, grades 7-12. As an increasing number of schools worldwide adopt restorative practices as a means of dealing with discipline and improving school culture, school leaders are beginning to analyze the impact of restorative methods. The numbers tell a powerful story: Schools implementing restorative methods have seen a drop in disciplinary problems, decreased reliance on detention and suspension, and an improvement in student attitudes.