Community Matters Impact & Results

Applying what we know from school climate and bullying prevention research and implementing recognized best practices can have significant positive results, including:

  • Reducing bullying and other forms of mistreatment
  • Reducing discipline incidents, along with the associated time and dollar costs
  • Increasing attendance
  • Increasing academic achievement and performance
  • Improving the overall school climate

Whole School Climate Approach Works

Over a ten-year period, the Petaluma City School District (CA) changed its approach from Outside-In to Inside-Out. They replaced School Resource Officers with student and family support specialists, replaced punitive disciplinary policies with formative ones, provided extensive training and support for staff and invested in engaging and empowering students to be contributors. While more than doubling its population of Limited English Proficiency students, the district experienced:

  •     34% fewer suspensions, and 28.5% fewer suspension days
  •     2% increase in attendance, resulting in $950,000 more revenue annually
  •     11% improvement in performance on state standardized tests

Results: Petaluma USD

Effectiveness of Safe School Ambassadors® Program

A multi-year evaluation conducted in partnership with Texas State University, San Marcos and the University of Georgia, Athens, and completed in 2011 found several statistically significant outcomes:

  •     increased rates of intervention in bullying incidents by male Ambassadors;
  •     improved school climate among friends of Ambassadors, who also reported increased rates of intervention in bullying incidents by their peers;
  •     suspension rates averaged 33% lower than pre-SSA rates at schools that implemented the program as designed, while rates at demographically matched control schools rose 10% during the same years. Download Report

Evidence of Success: Safe School Ambassadors® Program Results

  •     Decrease in DAEPs saves district more than $215,000

In the Clear Creek Independent School District outside of Houston, Texas, in 2007-2008, the first year of implementing the Safe School Ambassadors® program, mandatory DAEPs (District Alternative Education Placements) for drugs, alcohol, weapons, fights and assaults declined from 316 students to 230 students. That 27% decrease saved the district more than $215,000.

  •     Weapons Located; Fight Prevented
"This morning a Safe School Ambassador® reported a serious safety concern to his teacher/family group advisor. Ambassadors are trained to report to an adult if there is a serious safety concern. He said there were rumors about a serious fight that was going to happen after school, with lots of weapons involved. He said one student had shown him a crow bar in his backpack. We worked on this situation from about 9:30 - 3:30 today. We did find two students in possession of 3 and 3 1/2" locking blade knives. We did find the crow bar, intended for use in the fight. We prevented the fight and did end up with three five-day suspensions and two expulsion recommendations... but our kids are safe, no one was hurt, and there wasn't a fight.
"You can't measure the success of this by a reduction in suspension numbers, but you can measure the success by a safer school where students are trained to and feel comfortable reporting to adults on campus. It was a tough day, but I am proud of many of our students. When I told the young boy I was proud of him for being brave and smart, reporting to us, he replied, 'Of course I did that. I am a Safe School Ambassador!'"
    - Principal, Middle School, California


To see additional Benefits to Schools click here.

For additional information on Measurement and Impact click here.

To read more testimonials on the effectiveness of SSA and our other programs and services, click here.

The Ambassadors have already stopped or prevented
many acts of violence on our campuses, from teasing and bullying to fights and drug deals.
—Dave Heard, Director of Safety and Security Perris Union High School District, CA

Safe School Ambassadors® is included in SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices

Read the Intervention Summary

Redondo Beach USD in California implemented the Safe School Ambassadors program in three pilot schools in 2009, and district-wide in 2011. The district's Violence Prevention Action Committee prepared this 2012 Evaluation Summary, demonstrating the effectiveness of the SSA program in reducing bullying and harassment on their campuses.

Download the RBUSD Evaluation Summary

Don Shigekawa: Clear Creek Independent School District Don Shigekawa of Clear Creek Independent School District talks about the impact and results of implementing the SSA program


A Success Story from a Safe School Ambassador®

In September 2010, Community Matters (CM) had a unique opportunity to interview a former Safe School Ambassador®, Maria, now a 24-year-old mother of two young boys. Read about the positive impact this program had on Maria and on the students around her.