Professional Development for Educators Could Be Key to Violence Reduction in Area Schools

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    In an effort to significantly reduce or eliminate violence in area schools, Urban Lights, LLC has partnered with the University of Detroit Mercy’s Department of Education (UDM) to train educators in districts around the region in violence prevention techniques. Providing students with a safe environment ensures and promotes academic achievement. It is a proven fact that students who feel safe in their schools achieve at much higher levels than those who feel threatened by violence in and around school. “At my old school, I saw some form of violence almost every day. I couldn’t concentrate on my work and my grades suffered. But, when I transferred to my new school (where there was a no-tolerance rule to violent acts), I could concentrate on my schoolwork and my grades improved,” says Maya a junior at Grosse Pointe North High School.

    According to the US Department of Education, youth violence and crime affect a community’s economic health, as well as individuals’ physical and mental health and well-being. Homicide is the second leading cause of death for youth in our country. In 2008, more than 656,000 young people ages 10-24 were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained from violence. Urban Lights, LLC and UDM collaborated to train educators on the Second Step Violence Prevention Program. Second Step is a research-based, data-driven curriculum developed by the Committee for Children out of Seattle, WA. From minor classroom disruptions to verbal insults; gang violence to threats with weapons, this program has been proven to reduce violence by up to 40% among elementary and middle school students. In addition to valuable violence- reduction techniques learned, participants of the training can earn State Board-Continuing Education Unit (SB-CEU) credits.

    The Second Step curriculum is so user-friendly that the program can be retrofitted into daily lesson plans and offered as a developmentally-appropriate supplement to student learning. “While there are seldom seen incidences of violence in our school, particularly in my classroom, I believe that any program that helps to support a non-violent environment only amplifies our ability to educate our students,” asserts Montinique Davis, 3rd Grade Teacher at Ronald Brown Academy in Detroit. While there are many violence prevention programs available to educators. Second Step has been proven effective in districts throughout the country and here in the metro Detroit area.

    In addition to the Second Step Violence Prevention Program, Urban Lights, LLC offers a variety of courses and initiatives aimed at community enrichment and social stabilization. To enroll in the Second Step Violence Prevention Program training or to inquire about additional program offerings, visit our website at http://www.urbanlightsprogram.org.

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