Our Work

The Safe Communities Safe Schools (SCSS) model is a comprehensive public health approach designed to help schools create a safe and positive school climate by putting what we know works into practice.  The SCSS model addresses the key risk and protective factors that are linked to reductions in violence, improved mental health, and increased prosocial behavior. SCSS 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.

As part of SCSS, school partners are able to make data-driven decisions on how to address their specific needs by collecting data and using customized reports. These reports include:

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 prevention and intervention supports to address the range of school needs

SCSS builds schools’ capacity 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. To date, SCSS climate surveys have been provided to nearly 200 schools nationwide.

Most recently, CSPV received funding from the National Institute of Justice’s Comprehensive School Safety Initiative to implement and evaluate the SCSS model with 44 middle schools in Colorado.

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 also partners with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival on Shakespeare & Violence Prevention. 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 et al., 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 the implementation of the SCSS model 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.

The SCSS team feels fortunate for the opportunity to collaborate with schools and the relationships that we have developed:

  • “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:

  • Visualization of Safe Communities Safe Schools (PNG)
  • SCSS Model Overview (PDF)
  • 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.
  • Goodrum, S., Evans, M.K., Thompson, A.J., & Woodward, W. (2019). Learning from a Failure of Threat Assessment: Eleven Questions and Not Enough Answers. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 1-19. DOI: 10.1002/bsl.2399
  • Goodrum, S., Thompson, A.J., Ward, K. & Woodward, W. (2018). A Case Study on Threat Assessment: Learning Critical Lessons to Prevent School Violence. Journal of Threat Assessment and Management, 5(3), 121-136.
  • Goodrum, S., Woodward, W. & Thompson, A.J. (2017). Sharing Information to Promote a Culture of Safety. NASSP Bulletin 101(3): 215-240.
  • Goodrum, S., & Woodward, W. (2016). Report on the Arapahoe High School shooting: lessons learned on information sharing, threat assessment, and systems integrity. Denver: Denver Foundation. An executive summary of the report and supporting documents are available.