Schools Learn What Works in Preventing Violence Among Youth

“School-Based Violence Prevention: Can We Make a Difference?” will be the question addressed by teachers, principals, program directors and policy makers at a Yale University-sponsored conference on Wednesday, July 19, at 12:45 p.m.

J. Lawrence Aber, a leading reseacher on conflict resolution and violence prevention programs and director of the National Center on Children in Poverty, will share insights from the research on what makes certain prevention programs effective.

Aber’s speech is part of the 11th annual conference of the School of the 21st Century (21C) initiative. The conference, entitled “Schools as Resources for Families and Communities: A New Day,” will be held July 18-21, at the Omni-New Haven Hotel.

Violence prevention is a special focus of this year’s conference, which will attract 450 participants from 33 states working to implement school-based child care and family support services. Aber sees violence prevention as an important piece of the overall goal of the 21C to make schools safe places for children to develop and learn.

“The research clearly shows that effective violence prevention programs are multifaceted and sustained over time, theoretically driven and well-integrated into the overall working of the school,” Aber said. “This conference is the perfect audience for this message because 21C schools understand that affecting children’s lives requires a constellation of high quality services and attention to the needs of children and families over time.”

The School of the 21st Century, also known as the Family Resource Center in some communities, transforms elementary schools into year-round, multi-service centers operating from early morning to early evening, offering services such as: guidance and support for parents; all day, year-round preschool; before and after school and vacation care for school age children; health education and services; networks and training for community child care providers; and information and referral services for families.

Yale Professor Edward Zigler, one of the principal architects of the federal Head Start program and founder of the 21C initiative, said, “21C schools are putting together a constellation of services that help children stay healthy and learn well. While there is no magic fix for schools, 21C offers many of the supports children and families need to succeed.”

Other featured speakers at the four day conference include: Kyle Pruett, professor at the Yale Child Study Center and author of “Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child;” Roberta Newman, founder of the American Child Care Foundation and author of Building Relationships with Parents and Families; Grover J. Whitehurst, professor of psychology and pediatrics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and Cyril Kent McGuire, assistant secretary, Office of Educational Research and Improvement of the U. S. Department of Education.

Since 1988 more than 600 schools in 17 states have implemented the School of the 21st Century program. The model has proven successful in urban, rural and suburban settings as well as in affluent, middle class and poor communities.

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