School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program

An Effective Practice

Description

The School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program uses civic education to ameliorate or diminish tendencies toward violence among youth. The program operates from the theory that the development of responsible citizenship skills, both intellectual and participatory, can play a defining role in the way students act and think. The School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program curriculum consists of three sets of materials:

- We the People... The Citizen and the Constitution teaches the essential concepts and fundamental values of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and is available at three grade (or skill) levels.
- We the People... Project Citizen promotes competent and responsible participation in State and local government, by actively engaging students as they learn how to monitor and influence public policy.
- Foundations of Democracy: Authority, Privacy, Responsibility, and Justice concentrates on four concepts fundamental to understanding politics and government.

The curriculum emphasizes performance-based learning outcomes, with We the People... The Citizen and the Constitution culminating in a simulated congressional hearing and We the People... Project Citizen ultimately producing a problem-solving portfolio. These activities seek to promote social cooperation and positive group memberships, and they encourage positive attitudes toward social inclusion and tolerance for the ideas of others.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this program is to reduce violent tendencies among youth through civic education.

Results / Accomplishments

The first phase--the pilot year of the program--was conducted in seven school districts in the United States: Los Angeles (Calif.) Unified, Denver (Colo.) Public Schools, Jefferson County (Colo.) Public Schools, Wake County (N.C.) Public Schools, Philadelphia (Pa.) Public Schools, Community School District 30 (Queens, N.Y.), and District 23 (Brooklyn, N.Y.) Public Schools. The evaluation found that there were statistically significant gains in knowledge of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in all seven cities and statistically significant positive shifts in attitudes toward police and authority figures in six of the seven districts. In Queens and Denver, there were statistically significant gains (when compared with control group gains) in the experimental group students' sense of civic responsibility and in their tolerance for the ideas of others and inclusion for all people in the political process. Queens also had a statistically significant positive shift in relation to authority and the law.

Qualitative information was gathered using focus groups, classroom observations, and teacher questionnaires. Qualitative data was quite positive. There was clear improvement in teacher morale and confidence in teaching about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in all seven districts. Teachers appreciated and enjoyed receiving high-quality social studies textbooks in sufficient quantity, receiving professional development in an important area of their responsibility, meeting with teachers from other schools and other districts, and learning new teaching strategies. The teachers indicated that they gained appreciation for the power of performance-based assessment strategies. They also improved their knowledge of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. New teachers acquired skills, and experienced teachers indicated that they felt renewed by their participation in the program. Teachers also indicated that the students demonstrated a greater interest in civics, government, and social studies as a result of participating in the program.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Maria Gallo
Center for Civic Education
5145 Douglas Fir Road
Calabasas, CA 91302-1440
(818) 591-9321
gallo@civiced.org
http://new.civiced.org/svpdp-program
Categories
Education / School Environment
Social Environment / Children's Social Environment
Social Environment / Social Tolerance
Organization(s)
Center for Civic Education
Source
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Model Programs Guide (MPG)
Date of publication
2001
Geographic Type
Urban
For more details
http://www.ojjdp.gov/mpg/mpgSearch.aspx

Related Content