2015 Capstone of the Year

Kathleen O’Neill Sande

The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy is proud to announce Kathleen Sande of Washington State as the winner of the 2015 Capstone of the Year Award. Kathleen’s Capstone Project, a case-management model, focuses on providing one-on-one support services in schools for youth at risk of entering or involved in the juvenile justice system. As the Title I, Part D, Coordinator, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), Kathleen seeks to address the needs of both incarcerated juveniles as well as at-risk youth in Washington State. Since her participation in the CJJR Multi-System Integration Certificate Program in 2008, she has successfully supported the implementation of Education Advocate (EA) positions throughout Washington utilizing Federal U.S. Department of Education Title I, Part D No Child Left Behind funding.

The EA Program is a school-based transition program designed to assist incarcerated youth to return to school during the community re-entry process and remain in school following that process. In 2008, Washington State received an increased allocation of Federal Title 1 Neglected-Delinquent funds. Kathleen learned that while the Title I Part D funding was providing transition coordinators inside detention facility schools, youth were not receiving sufficient services to keep them in school after leaving the facility. In response to this need, Kathleen approached the 9 Educational Services Districts (ESDs) to collaborate on developing an Education Advocate Manual and broadening services to youth released from detention centers and long-term facilities all across Washington. Later, the EA Program was expanded to middle schools as a prevention service.

Over the past 7 years, Kathleen has made significant progress in facilitating interagency collaboration, enhancing and expanding the EA Program, reducing system barriers for youth returning to schools, and improving education outcomes for youth involved in the justice system. Youth who participated in the EA Program were also shown to have lower rates of recidivism, thereby contributing to improved public safety. Ultimately, Kathleen’s Capstone Project has bolstered Washington State’s ability to meet the individual needs of school-aged youth.
We congratulate Kathleen on her selection as the 2015 Capstone of the Year Award winner and look forward to her ongoing efforts to improve the lives of youth in Washington State.

About the Capstone of the Year Award

First awarded in March 2012, the Capstone of the Year Award serves to honor and recognize the success, innovation, and tremendous work of CJJR Fellows through their Capstone Projects. The award recognizes the Certificate Program participant or team that has made the most significant progress through their Capstone Project in promoting the well-being of youth through multi-system approaches in their community. All CJJR Fellows are eligible to receive the award, regardless of the year of their participation in a Certificate Program. The winner of the award receives a personalized plaque and is awarded free tuition and travel to attend a CJJR certificate program of their choosing.

Kathleen was a participant in CJJR’s 2008 Multi-System Integration Certificate Program – a week-long program designed to train leaders on how to improve outcomes for youth known to the child welfare, juvenile justice and related systems through a multi-disciplinary approach that highlights integration and collaboration. The purpose of the program is to unite current and future leaders and increase their knowledge on multi-system reform, cultivate their leadership skills, improve the operation of their organizations, and create a network of individuals across the country committed to systems improvement and reform. Upon completion of the Certificate Program, participants become CJJR Fellows by designing and implementing a Capstone Project focused on multi-system reform in their jurisdiction. CJJR currently has over 600 Fellows that benefit from ongoing technical assistance from CJJR and being part of a growing network of mutually supportive leaders across the country.