Safe Passages, The Middle School Strategy

An Effective Practice


The Middle School Strategy provides alternatives to suspensions to modify student behavior. National best practices regarding early intervention show that a multi-component approach is most effective at improving school climate and student social skills. Suspending students has not been proven to modify student behavior, and removes students from the structure and safety of the classroom. To improve student behavior, the program utilizes coordination of services, case management, a violence prevention curriculum, mental health services, parental engagement, and after-school activities.

Goal / Mission

The main goal of the Middle School strategy is to reduce the incidence of violence among youth measured by the reduction in suspensions for violence and to improve the perception of safety at school.

Results / Accomplishments

In 1998, Safe Passages established the benchmark of serving 5,000 middle school students annually to reduce suspensions by 30% at some of Oakland's most under-performing middle schools. Safe Passages not only met this goal in the Spring of 2004, but surpassed it. By the end of the school year in June, over 7,760 children and 904 families were receiving services through the strategy. More impressively, the data revealed that suspensions due to violence in the Safe Passages MIddle Schools decreased by 49%. The target schools have also experienced a 28% decrease in absenteeism between the 2001-2002 and 2003-2004 school years.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Alicia Perez
Safe Passages
250 Frank Ogawa Plaza Ste 6306
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 238-6368
Health / Teen & Adolescent Health
Health / Mental Health & Mental Disorders
Education / School Environment
Safe Passages
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Geographic Type
Alameda County
For more details
Target Audience