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Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement

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School Based Initiative

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Mission and Model


Under the leadership of Mayor Bowser, the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement launched the ONSE Leadership Academy (OLA) as a pilot program in 2019 at Anacostia Senior High School in Ward 8.  In 2021, the program expanded to serve two additional District of Columbia high schools — H.D. Woodson High School in Ward 7 and Paul Public Charter School in Ward 5.


The OLA program focuses on a student’s ABC’s – attendance, behavior, credits/course performance, and safety/safe passage. The program uses the Positive Youth Development (PYD) model, which has origins in the field of prevention.  This model promotes positive outcomes for youth by fostering relationships with caring adults, engaging youth in experiences that promote growth and personal learning, and creating environments where youth feel safe and cared for.


The program goal is to serve students at each participating school and provide summer services that help students successfully transition back to the new school year environment.


Student and School Services


Under the PYD model, our staff provides case management services to roughly 30 underclass-grade students at each high school. Case management services include:

• Individual Goal Planning

• Behavioral Guidance

• Attendance Monitoring

• Tailored Enrichment Activities

• Safe Passage Services

• Positive School Climate Events


The OLA program does not have open enrollment. Students are referred to the program by school personnel (principals, assistant principals, counselors, and social workers) in consultation with the ONSE Leadership Academy staff.


Therapeutic Services


OLA has collaborated with The One Common Unity Organization (OCU) to provide students with mental health services. OCU provides OLA students with individualized, holistic therapeutic support through arts, nature, and social justice practices. OCU works with those students impacted by gun violence to receive therapeutic interventions that support their healing journeys. OCU provides students with four (4) interventions: 4 spaces, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL Groups), and Individual and Group Therapy. OCU also provides OLA staff with professional development training and consultation, focused on grief and loss, trauma, self-care, arts/expressive interventions, and positive coping strategies.


Who We Serve in OLA


Using FY22 budget enhancements, the OLA program has expanded to the following middle schools, which feed into the three high schools already being served:

• Kelly Miller Middle School > H.D. Woodson High School

• Paul Public Charter Middle School > Paul Public Charter High School

• Stephen E. Kramer Middle School > Anacostia High School


In FY23, MacFarland Middle School was added to the OLA school roster.


FY22-23 Highlights

  • Launched programming into three middle schools
  • Provided case management for 107 students
  • Hosted 40 school events centered around gun violence prevention
  • Over 250 school mediations and interventions conducted
  • Each OLA school held 40 group sessions
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