Overview of Achievements
Our partnership with FCPS has produced major results, including
• Support for Youth Risk Behavior surveys to inform and guide policies and practices. (1997-present)
• Developing after-school programming in all middle schools (2000-present)
• Developing system-wide mentoring programs in schools of all levels (1998-present)
• Developing depression and suicide awareness and screening in the schools. (2004-2008)
• Conducting six annual conferences on youth mental wellness. (2005-present)
• Conducting two symposia on bullying prevention. (2009)
• Developing and operating the innovative Reston Youth Network (www.foryouthinformation.org). (2008-present)
• Developing the Support on Suspension (SOS) model, and operating and/or supporting SOS centers to provide supervision and guidance for youth temporarily out of school. (1999-2010)
FPY continues to support effective school discipline policies and resources.
• Through our work in supporting mentoring partnerships and mental wellness resources, we endeavor to prevent and address problem behaviors before they require disciplinary action.
• We have worked with the school Board and school officials to initiate a study to assess the success of programs currently used in schools to steer youth into positive behaviors and away from activities that lead to suspensions. Significant decreases in the number of youth suspended from FCPS in each of the last three terms indicate that something is working. We strive to understand what works, and continue to work toward the implementation of best practices related to school discipline and suspension.
• For the 10-11 school year, we identified and assisted two community-based organizations to provide these services in the Annandale/Culmore and Rt. 1 areas of the County.
Support On Suspension History
The need for Support on Suspension (SOS) in Fairfax County arose from the presence of factors impacting school dropout and juvenile delinquency. The immediate factor of concern was the obvious gap in youth services resulting from decreased adult supervision likely to be available during out-of-school suspension periods. Likely impacts of decreased adult supervision are decreased hours students spend engaged in academics and increased likelihood of filling those hours engaging in risky behaviors while on suspension.
Increasing rates of out-of-school suspensions, especially long-term suspensions, increasing numbers of hours students are likely to go unsupervised due to increasing lengths of parent commutes, and disproportionate rates of Black and Hispanic students suspensions are all community factors that focused FPY’s working with the community to start SOS.
Responding to the community need, FPY advocated for support and created SOS by partnering with faith-based organizations, community service organizations, human service agencies, Fairfax County Public Schools, other non-profits and businesses. FPY provided advocacy and technical support to our partners that offer a safe, secure, equal-access environment where youth who are suspended from school can keep up academically and receive adult supervision, counseling, and tutoring.
Funding for SOS services in 2010 did not develop as planned. Therefore, FPY has turned over the responsibility for the SOS program to the community and will not be directly managing SOS sites in the future. We will, however, continue our advocacy work related to student disciplines and provide technical support to the community as SOS sites are maintained.