Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research

School Safety and Student Performance Partnership

In a three-year project funded by NIJ through their solicitation for “Developing Knowledge About What Makes Schools Safe,” FSU is partnering with the School District of Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to implement and evaluate a school-based intervention that aims to increase school safety while reducing delinquency referrals and improving student outcomes.

The project features a school-based delinquency intervention with wraparound mental health and substance abuse services. It builds upon a promising pilot initiative undertaken by the School District of Palm Beach County. The project will be implemented in several high schools and serve youth who will be randomly assigned to either a treatment group or to a control group. The intervention targets at-risk youth.

Using a set of matched high schools, a second component of the project will test the impact of the intervention on overall school safety and student performance.

A third component of this project will assess how well the intervention is implemented, document barriers and facilitators to effective implementation of the intervention, and identify strategies that other school districts could use to successfully adopt a similar intervention.

The project will allow educators and law enforcement to better understand how best to improve school safety, as well as how to improve student performance outcomes which include improved attendance and grades and fewer suspensions.


Principal Investigators: Daniel Mears, Ph.D. and Sonja Siennick, Ph.D.

Project Director: George Pesta, Ph.D.

Research Advisor: Thomas Blomberg, Dean and Sheldon L. Messinger Professor of Criminology, FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Graduate Student: Andrea Lindsey, Nicole Collier, and Samantha Brown

Funding Agency: National Institute of Justice

Dates: 2018

Funding Amount: $3,909,116