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Friday, June 12, 3:30 pm

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When schools call on police: Boston police involvement in behavioral health crises in Boston Public Schools
Presenter: Jennifer Greif Green, Boston University


Natalie Goodman, Emma Lincoln, Rebecca Muller, Tanvi Shah, Boston University
Melissa Morabito, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Jenna Savage, Boston Police Department
Jill Battal, Andria Amador, Boston Public Schools

Studies consistently find that schools are under-resourced to meet the behavioral health needs of children and adolescents. In the absence of adequate numbers of mental health providers, school staff may call upon police to respond to student behavioral health crises that occur on school grounds, including acts of violence, threats of suicide, and substance use. Although police departments frequently collaborate with urban schools for these purposes, there has been little research to answer foundational questions about police involvement in schools including how frequently school staff call upon police to respond, the nature of events that precipitate police involvement, and the outcomes of police-involved incidents.

Our project team includes stakeholders from the Boston Police Department and Boston Public Schools, as well as university researchers. Over the past year, we have used data from the Boston Police Department to study police involvement in Boston Public Schools. In this presentation, we will first report on patterns of calls from Boston Public School addresses during the 2017-18 school year, using 911 call records. Specifically, we will report on the distribution of calls over the course of the day, the week, and across months of the year, with the goal of identifying patterns of school use of police services. Second, we will use police incident narratives to describe events that precipitated police involvement in schools and the outcomes of police involvement. Ultimately, our goal is to use these data to generate novel policy and practice interventions that have the potential to reduce the need for police in schools and to improve outcomes associated with police involvement in behavioral health crises.

BPS Comprehensive Behavioral Health Model
Presenter: Jill Battal, Boston Public Schools


Amy Kaye, Boston Children’s Hospital

Melissa Pearrow, UMass Boston

Brian Daniels, UMass Boston

Jennifer Green, Boston University

Whitney Walker, UMass Boston

Alexis St. Ervin, UMass Boston

The 2014 Health of Boston Children report, authored by the Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Children’s Hospital, noted that one out of every five Boston children experienced two or more Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs. Results from the 2017 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) demonstrate that a third of all BPS High Schoolers report feeling sad or hopeless every day for two weeks or more. As the “silent epidemic” of mental health continues to impact schools across our country, Boston Public Schools has strategically engaged partners and stakeholders to innovatively strengthen school based mental health services to better serve Boston youth and families.

The Boston Public Schools’ Comprehensive Behavioral Health Model (CBHM) was developed in collaboration between Boston Public Schools’ Behavioral Health Services Department, the Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) and UMass Boston/School Psychology Graduate Program. The CBHM is designed to provide a system-wide framework for the implementation of social, emotional & behavioral intervention and supports within schools. The CBHM is built on the premise that by integrating social, emotional & behavioral health services into schools, we will create safe and supportive learning environments that optimize academic outcomes for all students.  The CBHM provides a district-wide framework for the implementation of social, emotional and behavioral instruction and support. It is implemented within the context of a data-driven format (continuous improvement) of evidence-based service delivery with the goal of providing high quality and equitable access to behavioral health services for all students of the Boston Public Schools (BPS). This is accomplished in partnership with principals, school staff, community agencies, students and parents.

Universal screening of student’s social, emotional & behavioral health is a recognized best practice within the field of school mental health, but still quite innovative in that many schools and districts have not yet adopted the process in a meaningful way. BPS is an emerging leader in this practice due to the utilization of the Behavior Intervention Monitoring Assessment System, Second Edition (BIMAS-2) within CBHM schools. In addition to providing educators and school-based partners with critical information to support instructional equity, data from the screening can further help inform district-wide needs and evaluate CBHM implementation overtime.

This presentation will present findings from an ongoing internal program evaluation designed to support data-driven implementation and continuous improvement. In particular, we will present evidence that the implementation of school-wide social, emotional & behavioral supports positively impacts all students, but particularly those most at risk for disengagement. Outcomes will be disaggregated in order to examine trends among different racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and English language learners.

The State of Early Education and Care in Boston: Examining a Cross-Agency Data Collaboration
Presenter: Fernanda Q. Campbell, Boston Opportunity Agenda


Pratima A. Patil, Ed.M., A.M.

Kristin McSwain – Boston Opportunity Agenda

Inequalities persist across Boston’s neighborhoods and data by geographical area is essential to tackle the most pressing issues in the city. For the first time in the early education and care space, we gathered data from seven relevant agencies by ZIP-codes to address the issue of supply and demand of child care.

Our presentation will explore the process of identifying data to answer questions raised by a data committee, including establishment of partnerships and the feasibility of yearly update of baseline data. We will also explore how limitations on the quality of data and missing information prevented us from answering some questions. A cross-sector collaboration was necessary to identify, collect and determine the implications of relevant data. Such collaboration with policy makers, philanthropy and business must continue to improve access, quality and affordability of child care in Boston.

Finally, we will highlight the main findings of the first State of Early Education and Care in Boston: 1) finding quality, affordable child care for kids under age 5 is a challenge for parents across Boston; and 2) there is a need to improve data collection and analysis of quality care providers to improve understanding of the early education and care landscape.

The Massachusetts Post-Secondary Early Warning Indicator System
Presenter: Nyal Fuentes, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education


Kate Sandel, Mass. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education

This session will describe the Post-Secondary Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) and associated data tools developed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that are available to all Massachusetts public schools through the Commonwealth’s data warehouse, Edwin Analytics. Our focus as an educational agency is to assist schools in closing persistent achievement gaps in Massachusetts public schools.
The Equity challenge:
At least some college education is increasingly important for success in the workforce
there are deep gaps in college-going patterns when comparing groups of students statewide particularly along racial and ethnic groups.

How can all students be set up for success?
The Massachusetts EWIS identifies students at risk across the academic trajectory, from early elementary through postsecondary participation. With EWIS, educators can develop targeted interventions, allowing students to follow a path to success. Using EWIS in combination with local data and context, educators can explore underlying factors leading to academic risk and respond early, meeting the unique strengths and needs of their students. This approach may lead to interventions at the individual, small group, and whole school or district-wide levels.

The Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education has developed the Postsecondary EWIS to help districts understand who is at risk of missing college readiness milestones so that they can intervene early and prepare all students for success after high school.

EWIS: A data-informed approach
With EWIS, educators can see exactly who is at risk of missing three important college readiness milestones.

College Enrollment: Students attending post-secondary education
Academic Readiness: Students ready to take non-developmental credited college coursework
College Persistence: Students moving from 1st year of college to 2nd year of college

Educators use EWIS on the aggregate and student level along with local data and context to understand students’ strengths & needs and modify student supports. This data-driven approach may lead to interventions at the individual, small group, and school- or district-wide levels.
How does it work?
Schools are encouraged to use a cycle of inquiry to help ensure success for their students.
• Early in the year, schools review EWIS reports to understand who is at risk.

• Then, explore causes to determine why they are at risk. For example: Are students not taking higher-level courses because they do not recognize the options; or due to scheduling limitations; or for other reasons?

• After considering why students are at risk, assign supports.

• Then, monitor risk through the year to ensure supports are having desired effects. By tracking ABCs (Attendance, Behavior and Course selection & performance) and monitoring FAFSA completion, educators can update their view of which students are still at risk and adjust supports.

Moderator: Tom Crohan, Vice President & Counsel, Corporate Responsibility & Government Relations, John Hancock