NH School Safe: Threat Assessment Micro-grant (NH Department of Education) [October 2021]

Posted: October 12, 2021

Application Due Date: TBA

Questions? Email Jen Doris at jennifer.f.doris@doe.nh.gov

View Application Here

In 2018, the New Hampshire Department of Education’s Bureau of Student Wellness and Nutrition (NH DOE BSW) received a STOP School Violence Threat Assessment grant. This program is “designed to improve school security by providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize, respond quickly to, and prevent acts of violence. It provides funding to “develop threat assessment and crisis intervention teams, designed to identify threats before they materialize, including those that originate from individuals with mental health issues; and for the training of students, school personnel and local law enforcement officers so that they can partner in preventing violent events from happening.”

Therefore, the primary aim of the NH School Safe project is to support the creation or enhancement of behavior intervention teams (BITs) in schools based on best practices. While many LEAs have crisis intervention teams that fill emergency response roles, as well as student management teams (tier 2/3 teams) that flag concerning student behavior, it is common for those teams to function as siloes from each other and additional community supports.

A BIT, by contrast, is a multi-disciplinary group that helps detect early indicators of potential disruptive conduct, self-harm, and violence to others. The team uses an established protocol to support students, employees, faculty, staff, communities, and workplaces. When a BIT gets a report of problematic or concerning behavior, the team determines the best way to support, intervene, and respond, which may mean employing a clinician to conduct a threat assessment. The team then deploys its plan and coordinates a follow-up. Student voice and choice are central to threat assessment and subsequent care planning.

Through NH School Safe, awarded LEAs will use data to determine needs and gaps before launching or revamping their behavior intervention teams. All of this work will be done under the umbrella of New Hampshire’s Multi-tiered System of Supports for Behavioral Health & Wellness (MTSS-B). MTSS-B is a community-driven preventative framework and process for aligning a continuum of supports. Within MTSS-B, participating communities mobilize people to collect and analyze data, make a data-driven strategic plan, and implement and evaluate evidence-based strategies to support the behavioral health and wellness of all students (universal), those with slightly elevated needs (targeted), and those experiencing the most challenges (intensive). MTSS-B is a culturally competent approach that is family- and youth-driven.

Selected districts will attend a foundational training designed to provide grant staff with an introduction to the central tenets of MTSS-B and the ways in which this grant opportunity fits into the framework. The training will include didactic elements and will provide participants opportunities for reflection, skill building, and action planning. Participants will understand the importance of the development of protective factors and the elimination and mitigation of risk factors in preventing school violence.

Through participation in the NH School Safe project, local districts and schools are expected to:

  • Create or enhance a behavior intervention team (BIT) with diverse stakeholders
  • Build the capacity of the BIT through training, shared understanding, common tools, policies and procedures, including establishing a threat assessment protocol
  • Explore Multi-tiered Systems of Support for Behavioral Health and Wellness (MTSS-B) as the holistic framework through which threat assessment activities succeed

Areas of focus include:

  • Implementation of threat assessment tools
  • Creation of strategic relationships
  • Identification and enhancement of existing protective factors
  • Identification and analysis of community needs