Community Impact Story – Safe Schools Summit

As Oklahoma’s largest educational conference, the Safe Schools Summit targeted thousands of students across the state with positive messages and role models, while offering teachers, administrators, law enforcement personnel and community agency partners information, training and programs they could take back to their schools and communities.

Managed by Public Strategies, the Summit supported and promoted programs that foster a safe and drug-free learning environment and that enhance student academic achievement. Each year the Summit had a different focus related to this goal, such as encouraging tobacco-free environments, responsible decision-making, preventing violence, alcohol and drug abuse, and other risky behaviors.

With so many community concerns about the safety of our schools and challenges to fostering positive youth development during the critical in-school and after-school hours, Public Strategies utilized this project to provide high-quality and free-of-charge training opportunities to any citizen with a stake in our school systems. The adult track of the annual event included a Prevention Conference with workshops that included the Communities That Care model; environmental prevention strategies; empowering youth to become leaders in prevention of underage drinking; and research on prevention of alcohol abuse among adolescents.

Evaluation forms were distributed at the conference, with ninety-one percent of respondents selecting “Yes,” when asked whether the information presented in the workshop would be useful to them in the future. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning ineffective and 5 meaning very effective, respondents rated the conference as “4” when asked about its effectiveness in informing them on prevention of underage drinking and other high-risk adolescent behaviors. Additionally, these opportunities were used to implement various statewide and community-based policies and procedures related to violence prevention and safe schools planning.

The Summit was hosted by the Governor, the State Department of Education and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.