Kentucky has taken a major step to address the issue of school safety. With the passage of House Bill 330 in the 1998 General Assembly, an opportunity was established to create safe, secure learning environments where all children can successfully achieve.
The mission and scope of work for the Kentucky Center for School Safety (KCSS) demanded that a statewide collaborative effort be undertaken. This collaborative partnership brings together a dynamic blend of experience and expertise in project management and the provision of training and technical assistance to education, human service and justice professionals, teacher preparation, applied research, electronic communication, and school and community needs assessment.
Eastern Kentucky University serves as the KCSS contract agency with the cooperation and support of the three partner agencies, the University of Kentucky, Murray State University and the Kentucky School Boards Association.
Guided in its work by a twelve-member Board of Directors whose members are appointed by the Governor, the KCSS has established a broad-based School Safety Advisory Council (SSAC) that provides the Center staff and Board of Directors with a mechanism to ensure the interest and needs of the Commonwealth are addressed. To actively involve all the teacher preparation programs, a statewide Post-Secondary Education School Safety Task Force meets regularly to design and provide faculty development, teacher preparation, and continuing education opportunities related to school safety.
The Kentucky Center for School Safety (KCSS) distributes safe school funding to each district throughout the Commonwealth. The Safe Schools funding allocations will again be included in the Flexible Focus Fund (FFF) established in 2004 by the KY General Assembly. The FFF was created to permit local school districts additional flexibility in the distribution of program funds while still addressing the statutory requirements to serve specific student populations.
The evaluation of the Kentucky Center for School Safety (KCSS) needs to be more than a static annual assessment and reporting process. The KCSS will develop through a model of continuous quality improvement with the goal of translating evaluative information into improved services and resources for the Commonwealth. Due to its maturity as a center, KCSS no longer performs external evaluations each year but strives to create and disseminate information regarding safety to schools and communities throughout Kentucky.