Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Transfer of School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training, Knowledge, and Skills: Training, Trainee, and Work Environment Predictors

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Transfer of School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training, Knowledge, and Skills: Training, Trainee, and Work Environment Predictors

Article excerpt

Preparing school personnel to prevent and respond to a range of crisis situations is important for safeguarding students, staff, and communities. Despite advancements in understanding the effect of trauma on children, legislative mandates, and technical assistance for schools to engage in emergency management, there is a lack of research on effective ways to build schools' capacities to prevent and intervene with crises (Nickerson & Gurdineer, 2012). The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which participants trained in a comprehensive school crisis prevention and intervention curriculum use the skills and knowledge gained in training in their work in schools. The study also examined the extent to which characteristics of trainees, training, and work environment predicted the transfer of skills and knowledge.

School Crisis Training

Schools are one of the safest places for children, but crisis events (e.g., student suicide, staff death, natural disasters) impact nearly every school (Brock et al., 2009; Jimerson, Morrison, Pletcher, & Furlong, 2006) and can have serious and enduring consequences for those exposed (Nickerson, Reeves, Brock, & Jimerson, 2008). Advanced planning and preparation can mitigate the negative effects of crisis events (Nickerson & Heath, 2008; Osher, Dwyer, & Jimerson, 2006), and several federal and state laws require schools to be prepared for crises (Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2014). Despite these mandates, crisis plans frequently lack various recommended components, such as primary prevention and/or differentiated response based on the type of crisis event (Adamson & Peacock, 2007; Aspiranti, Pelcahr, McCleary, Bain, & Foster, 2010). Additionally, school professionals often do not have the training to create and implement these plans (Brock et al., 2009; U.S. Government Accountability Office [U.S. GOA], 2007). School psychologists and other school-based professionals indicate that they are not prepared to prevent and respond to crisis events (Allen et al., 2002; Nickerson & Zhe, 2004; Trump & Lavarello, 2003) and lack the specialized training needed to acquire expertise (U.S. GAO, 2007).

Recognizing the need for comprehensive professional development, the National Association of School Psychologists developed the PREP[a.bar]RE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training Curriculum (Brock et al., 2009, 2016). PREP[a.bar]RE stands for Prevent/Prepare for psychological trauma; Reaffirm physical health, security, and safety; Evaluate psychological trauma; Provide interventions (and) Respond to psychological needs; and Examine the effectiveness of prevention and intervention efforts. The PREP[a.bar]RE training curriculum consists of two separate but complementary workshops and a training of trainers (TOT). Crisis Prevention and Preparedness: Comprehensive School Safety Planning (Workshop 1) is a full-day training that provides a broad overview of the school safety and roles and responsibilities of school crisis teams, with a special emphasis on prevention and preparedness. The training is appropriate for all individuals who may serve on a school crisis team (e.g., school resource officers, administrators, mental health professionals, transportation). Crisis Intervention and Recovery: The Roles of School-Based Mental Health Professionals (Workshop 2) is a 2-day workshop that provides a specific examination of the school-based mental health professionals' roles and responsibilities, with a special emphasis on crisis intervention and recovery, including conducting psychological triage and responding to individual and group needs. Each workshop also has a TOT that teaches participants how to deliver the training.

PREP[a.bar]RE addresses all five mission areas (prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery) of crisis preparedness detailed by the U.S. Department of Education (2013), whereas most training focuses on only one aspect (e. …

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