December 4 , 2007
For immediate release
Drs. Michael Furlong, Michael Gerber, Shane Jimerson, and Jill Sharkey of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School are founding members of the newly established Consortium to Prevent School Violence. Committed to reducing school violence nationally, The Consortium to Prevent School Violence (CPSV) is focused on advocacy that promotes effective implementation of positive school violence prevention practices, and fostering technical assistance, information dissemination, and professional development based on high-quality scientific research. CPSV promotes open access where researchers, practitioners, and other stakeholders in schools and surrounding communities are an integral part of the Consortium’s work.
“When is comes to the safety of our school children, the stakes are too high to use poor information when making decisions about school violence prevention,” say Michael Furlong. “The Consortium to Prevent School Violence was born out of the interest of school violence researchers to disseminate the best information about school violence prevention in support of sound educational practice.”
Following the school shootings of fall 2006, a group of 20 researchers and practitioners in the field of school violence prevention collaborated on the creation of a position statement on the school shootings. In the process, it became apparent that an alliance of researchers and practitioners in school violence prevention to further the common goal of reducing school violence would be highly valuable.
“The Consortium represents a very serious attempt by a broad range of professionals to pool knowledge and effort to reduce the likelihood of violence in the schools,” says Michael Gerber. “We will make schools safer not only with better training and policy, but ultimately when all children and youth are achieving and know that they are.”
Among their other accomplishments, Drs. Jimerson and Furlong have edited the comprehensive and indispensable Handbook of School Violence and School Safety: From Research to Practice (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006). Jimerson and Furlong take an objective look at the causes of and solutions for school violence. Their book maps the boundaries of a rapidly growing, multidisciplinary field that now makes it possible for schools and communities to implement school safety programs founded on sound scientific research. Furlong is the incoming editor of the Journal of School Violence. Jimerson is a lead on the National Association of School Psychology’s PRePARE school crisis training.
Dr. Gerber’s work has emphasized the root problems of managing students’ behavior effectively in school classrooms. According to Dr. Gerber, “Teaching and behavior management are not two separate tasks for classroom teachers, but one combined effort. Disorderly behavior interferes with instruction and breeds greater disorder and rule violation. Poor instruction permits poor behavior.” Dr. Gerber has published several scholarly articles on the application of cognitive-behavioral techniques designed to teach self-control to incarcerated delinquents, students with emotional disturbance and behavior disorders, and young children who are disorderly during instruction. Young children who are failing to learn to read can become serious behavior problems in adolescence. His research aims to help teachers better manage small groups of these young students during instruction so that they will be better behaved and learn to read.Dr. Sharkey’s experience as a principal investigator includes an early career grant from the Society for the Study of School Psychology to examine systematic response to juvenile delinquency. In addition, her research grants have focused on tracking the after-school participation of at-risk youth, identification of bully victims, and examining the impact of a community health initiative. Sharkey was also Chair of a Special Topic Workgroup on Threat Assessment as part of the National Association of School Psychology’s Crisis Prevention and Intervention Workgroup.
[Michael Furlong, Michael Gerber, Shane Jimerson, and Jill Sharkey are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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