Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 433–449 | Cite as

Building Schools’ Readiness to Implement a Comprehensive Approach to School Safety

  • Beverly KingstonEmail author
  • Sabrina Arredondo Mattson
  • Allison Dymnicki
  • Elizabeth Spier
  • Monica Fitzgerald
  • Kimberly Shipman
  • Sarah Goodrum
  • William Woodward
  • Jody Witt
  • Karl G. Hill
  • Delbert Elliott


Research consistently finds that a comprehensive approach to school safety, which integrates the best scientific evidence and solid implementation strategies, offers the greatest potential for preventing youth violence and promoting mental and behavioral health. However, schools and communities encounter enormous challenges in articulating, synthesizing, and implementing all the complex aspects of a comprehensive approach to school safety. This paper aims to bridge the gap between scientific evidence and the application of that evidence in schools and communities by defining the key components of a comprehensive approach to school safety and describing how schools can assess their readiness to implement a comprehensive approach. We use readiness and implementation data from the Safe Communities Safe Schools project to illustrate these challenges and solutions. Our findings suggest that (1) readiness assessment can be combined with feasibility meetings to inform school selection for implementation of a comprehensive approach to school safety and (2) intentionally addressing readiness barriers as part of a comprehensive approach may lead to improvements in readiness (motivation and capacity) to effectively implement a comprehensive approach to school safety.


School safety Readiness Implementation science Evidence-based programs 



This project was supported by Award No. 2015-CK-BX-K002, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.


Funding was provided by National Institute of Justice (US) (Grant No. NIJ-2015-4163).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All data collection for this project involving human subjects has been reviewed and approved by the American Institutes for Research's Institutional Review Board (IRB), IRB00000436, Federalwide Assurance Number is FWA00003952.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beverly Kingston
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sabrina Arredondo Mattson
    • 1
  • Allison Dymnicki
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Spier
    • 2
  • Monica Fitzgerald
    • 1
  • Kimberly Shipman
    • 1
  • Sarah Goodrum
    • 3
  • William Woodward
    • 1
  • Jody Witt
    • 1
  • Karl G. Hill
    • 1
  • Delbert Elliott
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral ScienceUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.American Institutes for ResearchWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Criminology and Criminal JusticeUniversity of Northern ColoradoGreeleyUSA

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