For the General Training, which focused on the Salem-Keizer/Cascade Level 1 threat assessment process, administrators, counselors, and school psychologists from two local school districts, San Luis Coastal Unified and Coast Unified School District, attended the first training in late September of 2020. Additional participants were from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, mental health therapists from San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health, San Luis County Sheriff's Office, and San Luis Obispo City Police Department. There were several attendees who were associated with community-based organizations and private mental health practice.
Despite being an 8 hour, virtual training divided into two, half-day sessions, 75 attendees participated in the event. A follow-up Level 1 Case Review with John Van Dreal was conducted with the Coast Unified School Team in February of 2021. San Luis Coastal Unified's school psychologists and administrators are scheduled to have a Level 1 Case Review with John Van Dreal in June of 2021.
The Advanced Training (Level 2) was conducted in October of 2020 in which twelve professionals representing educational institutions, mental health agencies, and law enforcement were recommended to attend. This 8-hour, two half-day training covered advanced threat assessment concepts as well as reviewed the role of the Level 2 Community Team within the Salem-Keizer/Cascade Model. The B-HARP Team has been receiving additional case reviews and mini-skills workshops with Dr. Tau that started in January 2021 and will conclude at the end of June of 2021.
Dr. Tau and Dr. Holifield are in the process of designing a specific training geared towards mental health professionals to be held in the near future. The plan is to offer continuing education credits to mental health professionals who attend. Dr. Holifield, Dr. Tau, and John Van Dreal are already collaborating for a follow-up General and Advanced Training for Fall of 2021. The training will include the members from the original training cohort as well as new members for the second training cohort.
In October of 2021, B-HARP held an Introductory Level 1 Training for school-based professionals joining the threat assessment network for the first time, and a Refresher Course for those who had participated in previous trainings but wanted to further hone their skills, and for members of the Level 2 Community Threat Advisory Team. Consulting expert John Van Dreal led the training once more, with Dr. Holifield providing expertise regarding specific application of the training to San Luis Obispo County Schools.
Dr. Manny Tau returned to train our Level 2 Community Threat Advisory Team in October 2021. The team had grown to 15 members at this time, with participants from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office, Family Care Network, and the San Luis Obispo Mental Health Emergency Team (MHET) joining school districts from around the county. Team members were drilled in advanced threat assessment concepts and practiced extensive case studies designed to foster efficient teamwork and best prepare them to assist Level 1 School Sites. Each of the trainings were conducted virtually.
Since we wanted an even busier October, B-HARP debuted our Mental Health Provider training October 21st, 2021. Therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals are a crucial component of a threat assessment network, as they are in a position to not only help identify possible threats, but provide treatment to individuals who have made threats.
Over 60 Central Coast mental health providers registered for the training, where Dr. Tau and Dr. Holifield conducted an innovative 3-hour training specifically catered for our audience. We heard one piece of feedback from participants over and over: we want more training, and we want a longer training. In response to the feedback, we are working to bring back a longer iteration of the training Fall of 2022.
B-HARP spent much of its time between October 2021 and April 2022 bringing in new partners and refining our Levell 1 Training. We were proud to welcome Lucia Mar Unified, Paso Robles Unified, Atascadero Unified and Templeton Unified school districts for the first time, joining San Luis Coastal Unified School District and Coast Unified School District in training 55 K-12 teachers, staff, school resource officers, and school mental health professionals. The April 29th event was our first in-person training, allowing for opportunities for groups to work together and dive deep into case studies with John Van Dreal.
Every time B-HARP would present its accomplishments and detail our trainings to stakeholders and members of the community, the first question was always the same: if this threat assessment network is so effective, why only have it for K-12? Well, we listened. May 2022 brought the inaugural B-HARP Community Threat Assessment Training, and the expertise of a new consulting expert. Lieutenant Dave Okada brought his 30 years of threat assessment experience and collaborated with Dr. Tau and Dr. Holifield to create a training that was the first of its kind.
Local businesses, agencies, and school districts were introduced to threat assessment principles with a specific focus on adult populations and community support, as businesses and agencies are not always equipped to deal with threats in the same way as school districts, and have different needs.
Taking place in the Hot House in downtown San Luis Obispo, the two-day training started with a plenary session, where B-HARP collaborated with the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce to train 30 San Luis Obispo County residents and hold a FAQ session with Lt. Okada and Dr. Tau. Recognizing the needs of agencies and businesses for flexibly, a second day of training was conducted, where Lt. Okada led case studies and deep dives into example threat assessment situations.
B-HARP measures participant knowledge before and after the trainings to track training effectiveness and best meet the needs of our participants. In our Level 1 2020 Training Series, we saw a significant increase in level of participant knowledge and skill when compared to knowledge and skills before the training. This was a statistically significant increase between Pre and Post Surveys. The Level 2 Advanced Training participants exhibited an increase in knowledge and skill after the training.
Those who completed the Level 1 and Level 2 Training in 2020 had the opportunity to join the Level 2, or Community Threat Assessment Team. The Level 2 Team also completed a six month training regiment with our consulting experts, where they were graded on their performance in conducting threat assessments on past cases. The team demonstrated a 40% increase in effectiveness of their threat assessments.
In June of 2022, Dr. Holifield was asked to provide expert testimony on a school threat assessment bill (AB 99-School Safety-Crisis Intervention and targeted violence prevention program) co-sponsored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin and Senator Anthony Portantino. Testimony was provided at the Senate Education Committee.
In December 2021, members of B-HARP's Community Threat Assessment Team observed and participated in a threat assessment meeting from with the Mid-Valley Student Threat Assessment Team. The Mid-Valley Team is an established community threat assessment team that was the first to implement the Salem-Keizer Model, the threat assessment model that B-HARP utilizes. The observation was an invaluable opportunity for B-HARP's Level 2 Team to note best practices, and provided a beneficial example to base their system off of.
Recognizing the importance of keeping our community partners informed, B-HARP conducts monthly meetings with members from county school districts, mental health organizations, law enforcement agencies, and educational institutions. This is a time to report progress the grant has made and discuss future grant actions all while hearing from and consulting with the community-wide team that supports
The B-HARP Community Threat Assessment Team meets every two weeks with the primary objective of assisting any Level 1 Site Teams in threat assessment cases that necessitate a higher level of analysis and care. When there are not any community level cases to take on, the team practices and tests the B-HARP Threat Assessment Protocols utilizing case studies provided by our consulting experts.
B-HARP is continuously pursuing and providing engagement in the educating of schools, school personnel, law enforcement officials, and mental health professionals in with the purpose of raising project awareness and increasing the threat assessment knowledge of the community.
Don't just take our word for it, read about what San Luis Obispo County has to say about the program.
B-HARP has presented our project and systems to a multitude of organizations and boards in SLO County, including: