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Eleven Ways the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Framework Implementation Toolkit (Safe Schools FIT) Can Make Your School A Safer Place This Year

As students and educators head back to the classroom this fall, issues like school safety and mental health are undoubtedly top-of-mind. But, how can schools create safer, healthier learning environments with limited resources? Where can communities and schools get the tools they need to make school a great place for all?
The Safe Schools Framework Implementation Toolkit, or Safe Schools FIT, is the answer. 
Since 2013, 21 communities in seven states have successfully implemented SAMHSA’s Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) Framework. We have known for some time that we need to “walk the talk” about expanding the SS/HS model nationally. That’s why we have been busy for over a year crafting and refining the most comprehensive online toolkit imaginable to implement and sustain the SS/HS model anywhere in the United States. Now, any state, community, or school district is free to adapt this innovative solution themselves using the Safe Schools FIT.
Here are just a few reasons to explore the SS/HS FIT today!
  1. The Safe Schools FIT is now accessible online at, and it’s free! Every state and school district must contend with budget considerations, and what’s so great about the Safe Schools FIT is that it doesn’t cost anything to access. Use one resource in the toolkit or 20; it’s entirely customizable to your location’s needs and funding, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. 
  2. The Safe Schools FIT meets you where you are. Whether you’re just starting to plan a needs assessment for your community or if you’re ready to evaluate a recent effort, the Safe Schools FIT has resources and tools to meet your needs. The toolkit is broken into three phases: Planning, Implementation, and Sustainability.
  3. The Safe Schools FIT is built on best practices in real-world settings. The Safe Schools FIT was created using lessons learned from years of testing in real schools across the country. When you choose a tool to use, you can be sure that it has been refined and improved by real-world experiences.
  4. The Safe Schools FIT fills a critical need. Communities across the nation are looking for solutions to make schools safe for students. There are many ideas floating around, but with the Safe Schools FIT, you can be sure you’re getting tools that are evidence-based and highly adaptable. 
  5. Implementing the Safe Schools FIT allows communities to drive systems change. If “business as usual” hasn’t gotten you where you want to go, the Safe Schools FIT can help. It shows schools and communities how to break down silos; share critical resources between organizations, schools, and key stakeholders; and build lasting partnerships. 
  6. Sustainability is built into the Safe Schools FIT. One-off events or pilot projects can be useful, but lasting change is created through programs that are sustainable in the long term. The Safe Schools FIT shows you how to sustain and even expand successful interventions and programs: a crucial step in improving school environments. 
  7. The Safe Schools FIT helps you share your success! Say you’re rolling out a new curriculum and want as many teachers as possible to embrace it. Or, say you have great outcome data that others outside of your initiative should see. Now what? The Safe Schools FIT can walk you through a strategic communication planning process to reach every stakeholder and audience with just the right message. It also has tools, templates, and resources for crafting success stories or create eye-catching infographics. Just the kind of assets that can gain support or funding. 
  8. The Safe Schools FIT helps engage families and the community at-large. Schools are most successful when they work in harmony with the community. The Safe Schools FIT’s planning tools can help you chart a path to engage families and other local stakeholders in your programs. 
  9. The Safe Schools FIT is more than a guidebook. The Safe Schools FIT is designed to be interactive. On the website, you’ll find worksheets, webinars, templates, and even podcasts! The resources are designed to ensure ease of use and success at any stage. 
  10. Cultural and linguistic competency are woven into the Safe Schools FIT. Just as the causes of youth violence may vary between locations and populations, so do the solutions. The Safe Schools FIT allows communities to thoughtfully tailor programs to their own cultural and linguistic needs. 
  11. The Safe Schools FIT considers solutions that are developmentally appropriate. One of the Safe Schools FIT’s guiding principles is to use interventions that consider children’s physical, social, emotional, behavioral, and academic stages. The resources will help educators and communities choose age-appropriate activities and programs to meet their needs.