2017 News Stories

School Psychology Professor researches school-wide behavior interventions through National Institute of Justice Grant

Nathaniel von der Embse headshot

Nathaniel von der Embse, PhD

TAMPA, Fla. (November 27, 2017) – College of Education Assistant Professor Nathaniel von der Embse, PhD, is part of a research team that is exploring how educators can implement school-wide positive behavior interventions for students in challenging urban school environments. 

In collaboration with researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Devereux Center for Effective Schools and Drexel University, Dr. von der Embse is a Co-Investigator of a $3 million grant funded by the National Institute of Justice entitled “Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports in Challenging Contexts: Evaluating a Replicable Implementation Approach in Philadelphia.” The grant was awarded in October 2017.

The research study will examine novel methods to implement and evaluate Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in urban schools. The project focuses on building internal school capacity to sustain efforts and spread across the district. Trauma-informed practices, universal screening for behavioral and mental health risk, and training school resource officers in violence prevention are key components to address common concerns for youth in the Philadelphia area.

“The focus of the grant is to evaluate the implementation of Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports in urban settings in Philadelphia public schools,” von der Embse said. “The project is one of the first to specifically evaluate implementation efforts in urban schools. My work involves training teachers to recognize student risk to facilitate early identification and prevention efforts.” 

Dr. von der Embse joined the College of Education in August as an assistant professor of School Psychology. His research utilizes a social justice framework to examine the intersection of education policy and school mental health, and has resulted in 37 peer reviewed publications and total grant funding of more than $5 million dollars.

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