The Five Elements of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative
When writing a grant application to become a Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) community, project directors immediately notice the emphasis on five focus areas or elements that SS/HS partnerships will address during the course of the grant:
- Safe school environment and violence prevention activities
- Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention activities
- Student behavioral, social, and emotional supports
- Mental health services
- Early childhood social and emotional learning programs
These elements are the fundamental components of SS/HS Initiatives. Forging strong relationships among all the partner organizations, generating systems for referrals, and creating changes in the local schools and communities by focusing on these elements can have a long-lasting impact on the health and well-being of children and youth.
Purpose of the Element Briefs
After being awarded SS/HS funding, project directors work in partnership with schools and communities to create safe and healthy school environments in which youth can learn and develop. To achieve this goal, project directors and other SS/HS staff often find it helpful to step back from this big-picture view and remember the importance of the five elements to their work.
For both newer and veteran grantees, this series of briefs explains each element, its importance to SS/HS, and how each element is interrelated with the others and to the larger whole of the SS/HS Initiative. The briefs also allow project staff to “check in” and see how they are addressing and evaluating each element. Project directors can use the briefs to engage or reinvigorate partners by explaining the backbone of the SS/HS work in a concise, organized fashion.
The Importance of Evidence-Based Practices and Programs
When planning programming to address the elements, it is imperative to choose evidence-based practices and programs that fit the individual needs of your schools and communities for each element.