Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Highmark Gives Bullying Prevention Grants

Two Pennsylvania bullying prevention programs will receive a combined $3.3 million from the Highmark Foundation.

Dr. Matthew Masiello of the Windber Research Institute says his organization and the Center for Safe Schools will essentially split the grant in half, but both entities will continue their work as two components of the same coalition.

“The Center for Safe Schools is responsible for implementing this evidence-based bullying prevention program, that now has been ongoing in the school systems of western Pennsylvania for the past several years,” says Masiello. “The role of the Windber Research Institute is to concentrate on the research and evaluation and monitoring of that implementation.”

Both organizations use the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, which trains school faculty on how best to reduce bullying. Masiello says after the trainer leaves, the school district creates its own committee to continue the Olweus program.

Masiello says Windber uses before-and-after surveys of kids, teachers, and parents to determine the effectiveness of the program.

Masiello says while there will probably never be an “absolute end” to bullying, efforts like this take strides in reducing it to create a better learning environment.

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