Our Work

CSPV partners with schools to integrate the Safe Communities Safe Schools (SCSS) model. SCSS is a comprehensive public health approach to school safety designed to operationalize what we know works to create a positive school climate and a culture of safety, and to inform the identification of and intervention with students presenting mental and behavioral health concerns. SCSS addresses the key risk and protective factors that are linked to reduced violence, improved mental and behavioral health, and prosocial behavior. The SCSS model integrates over twenty years of research into a process that meets schools where they are at, creating true partnerships and ensuring local knowledge remains at the forefront.

Our Approach

The SCSS model consists of three core components to successfully deliver the most effective strategies for impacting school safety:

  1. Engage a multidisciplinary school team and develop key community partnerships
  2. Implement an effective information gathering system to collect and interpret data
  3. Develop an evidence-based multi-tiered system of supports to address the range of school needs

SCSS builds the readiness and capacity of schools to implement a comprehensive approach to school safety though a five-phase approach:

  1. Build a foundation for implementing the model
  2. Use data to identify the school’s strengths, challenges, and gaps
  3. Create an individualized school action plan
  4. Implement the school’s action plan
  5. Evaluate and sustain the plan

Contact us to learn more about the SCSS model and opportunities to collaborate with our team.

Our Partners

SCSS was developed by multiple stakeholders in 1999, in the wake of the tragedy at Columbine High School in Colorado, with funding from the Colorado Trust. From 2008-2012, CSPV received funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for the development of auto-generated reports for our school climate surveys.

Most recently, CSPV received funding from the National Institute of Justice’s Comprehensive School Safety Initiative to implement and evaluate the SCSS model with 46 middle schools in Colorado. To date, SCSS climate surveys have been implemented in nearly 200 schools nationwide.

As part of a comprehensive approach to school safety, CSPV partners with Safe2Tell, a live, anonymous, 24/7 reporting tool led by law enforcement, to accept reports whenever a Colorado youth or concerned adult perceives a threat to their safety or the safety of others.

CSPV is also thrilled to partner with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival on Shakespeare & Violence Prevention. A beautiful and moving synergy of art and science, this school touring project combines professional Shakespeare performances with violence prevention research. Over 92,000 students throughout Colorado have experienced this innovative program since its inception in 2011.

Our Impact


Our study on readiness (Kingston, 2018) suggests that intentionally addressing readiness barriers as part of a comprehensive approach to school safety can lead to improvements in readiness over time.

  • Improvements were found in schools’ leadership to support the SCSS model and in the school team’s level of priority to implement the model.
  • Supportive climate for implementation increased.
  • School teams reported establishing clear standards at their schools for implementing the SCSS model and a belief that the SCSS model is important for improving children’s mental/behavioral health at the school.

SCSS offers a variety of instruments to help administrators better understand their school’s strengths and needs. Learn more.

School partners are able to make data-driven decisions on how to address their specific needs by utilizing reports customized for each school after data are collected through the SCSS process.  These reports include:

  • “Thank you for supporting our needs and listening to our concerns.”

    School Partner
  • “I feel that our partnership with SCSS is extremely important.”

    School Partner
  • “You do a great job promoting a comfortable and positive environment.”

    School Partner


To ensure lessons are learned beyond this project, we create resources and publish in scientific journals to provide researchers and practitioners access to information that can help improve school safety:

  • Top 10 Recommendations for School Safety (PDF)
  • Colorado Attorney General’s School Safety Guide (PDF)
  • Kingston, Beverly & Wilensky, Rona (2018). Building adult social and emotional capacity: A key ingredient for unleashing the power of prevention. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 9(4):783-797.
  • Kingston, Beverly, Arredondo Mattson, Sabrina, Dymnicki, Allison, Spier, Elizabeth, Shipman, Kimberly, Fitzgerald, Monica, Goodrum, Sarah, Woodward, William, Witt, Jody, Hill, Karl, Elliott, Delbert. Building Schools’ Readiness to Implement a Comprehensive Approach to School Safety (2018). Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 21(4):433-449.