Few empirical studies exist on SSSCs. The NIJ funded the JPRC to conduct an evaluation to address this gap. Two prior reports from this project have been issued: States’ School Safety Centers: A Brief Look into History, Characteristics, and Activities; and Research and Evaluation on School Safety: The Structure, Services, and Products of State School Safety Centers.

The recently released third report summarizes the research that JPRC conducted to better understand the structure, services, and perceptions of SSSCs to identify promising practices and models for replication, expansion, and evaluation. This report uses data from interviews with key education leaders involved in school safety efforts in each state who engage with their states’ SSSC services, as well as a survey of superintendents and principals in states with an SSSC.

Key Insights:

  • Awareness of SSSCs: The majority of district and school leaders were aware of their SSSCs, but there is an opportunity to further expand awareness to principals and teachers.
  • SSSCs assume primarily a guidance role: Online resources, training, and technical assistance are the most used SSSC supports.
  • Participants and interested parties have positive perceptions of SSSCs: Services are rated as easy to access, useful, comprehensive, high quality, and aligned with safety needs. However, there may be an opportunity for improvement in ensuring that services align seamlessly with state safety requirements and encompass best practices.
  • There are opportunities for improvement: Feedback from surveys identified areas for possible improvements, including increasing staff capacity; improving websites; increasing outreach; and adding new supports for threat assessment, mental health, and leadership trainings.