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Making it Happen: The Safe Schools/Healthy Students Framework Tool

The SS/HS initiative offers schools/districts and communities an interactive Framework tool that connects the core components of the SS/HS approach, a roadmap of how to plan and implement programs, and the values at the foundation of it all. The interactive Framework tool allows states and communities to proactively develop a comprehensive plan—rather than rely on a set of patchwork solutions—that addresses their unique needs in mental health promotion and youth violence prevention.

The Framework integrates the SS/HS Elements with Strategic Approaches and Guiding Principles.

  • The SS/HS Elements are the five core components of the initiative—that is, the content areas to address when developing a comprehensive plan to prevent youth violence and promote mental health. The SS/HS Framework Tool demonstrates the interaction of these Elements with the Strategic Approaches and/or the Guiding Principles. The core components include:
    1. Promoting early childhood social and emotional learning and development;
    2. Promoting mental, emotional, and behavioral health;
    3. Connecting families, schools, and communities;
    4. Preventing behavioral health problems; and
    5. Creating safe and violence-free schools.
  • The Strategic Approaches comprise the roadmap of the SS/HS Framework, with methods such as collaboration and partnership, technology, policy change and development, capacity building, and systemic change and integration. These approaches ensure successful planning and implementation of youth violence prevention and mental health promotion programs and support collaboration between different agencies at the local and state levels. When paired with the five Elements, each of the Strategic Approaches offers a strategy, opportunity, or tool to leverage change and improvement in those content areas.
  • Finally, the Guiding Principles are the values that form the foundation of the SS/HS Framework, connecting the Elements’ content areas and the Strategic Approaches’ methods. These principles unite the Framework and ensure that youth violence prevention and mental health awareness plans meet local and community needs. The principles include:
    1. Cultural and linguistic competency,
    2. Serving vulnerable and at-risk populations,
    3. Developmentally appropriate,
    4. Resource leveraging,
    5. Sustainability,
    6. Youth guided and family driven, and
    7. Evidence-based interventions.