David Keller Trevaskis, Esquire, is the premier law-related educator in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. An attorney and former third grade teacher with a Master's Degree in Education, David currently serves as the Pro Bono Coordinator for Legal Services for the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) as well as the PBA's coordinator for public education about the law. He has been a leader in the PBA statewide mock trial competition for most of its twenty-one year history. David is also the PBA's liaison to PennCORD, the Pennsylvania Coalition for Representative Democracy, a coalition that counts the Pennsylvania Bar Association among its Lead Partners. David was awarded the 2006 Compass Award by PennCORD. The second annual award recognizes individuals that have a long history of making significant contributions toward civic education in Pennsylvania schools. The previous winner was former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
David serves as the Executive Director for Law, Education, and Peace for Kids (LEAP-Kids), the Pennsylvania branch of a national network organized by the United States Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to promote law-related education and civics (LRCE). He is the President of the Pennsylvania Council for Social Studies and the Chair of the PCSS Law-Related and Civic Education Special Interest Group since 1989. He helped draft the Pennsylvania Civics and Government Standards and coordinated Pennsylvania Governor's Institutes on Civics and Government and Social Studies from 1999 to 2001, programs in which he continues to be actively involved. David is also the developer and original trainer for Project PEACE (Peaceful Endings through Attorneys, Children and Educators) that has brought peer mediation and conflict resolution education to nearly 500 schools.
David Keller Trevaskis, clearly the model for active citizenship, shares his passion for civic education with his wife, two children and grandson.
Bob Randall Associates, Inc. Instructor David Trevaskis joined Pennsylvania Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak and State Board of Education Chairman Joseph M. Torsella in Harrisburg in late January to present the draft standards for school climate. Reflecting on those standards, Trevaskis shared the perspective gained from working with a team of educators, physicians, law and justice professionals and PDE staff that created the proposed state standards - "Every child deserves to learn in a supportive, safe environment and we need to make sure that teachers, schools and districts have the tools and understand how to use them to foster a positive, engaging climate in our schools."
"Pennsylvania has made great strides in improving education on many fronts - including a larger share of state funding, stronger curriculum for our classrooms and higher expectations for our students and educators, yet relatively little progress has been made in reducing the reported number of school safety incidents across the state. About 68,000 school safety incidents are occurring each year in Pennsylvania's public schools, roughly the same number that occurred five years ago," Trevaskis noted, citing statistics from PDE. "As a lawyer and an educator, I know more must be done to improve the climate of our schools, and there is room for improvement in addressing unwanted behavior like harassment, threats and bullying early on even in the schools that most students, parents and teachers would consider 'safe schools'."
As part of the effort to promote healthier school climates, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has worked with national school safety experts and stakeholders like Trevaskis across the state to concretely define actions school officials must take to ensure a safe school climate. The State Board of Education plans to act quickly to make these school climate measures a formal expectation of districts, similar to the academic standards already set by the board.
These proposed climate standards - which speak to critical issues like bullying prevention and instilling a culture of respect for diversity - can be applied in any school, small or large, urban or rural. They read like a course catalog for BRAI classes, many of which Trevaskis teaches, starting with his Crisis class which runs this April and which will feature the new standards. The anti-bullying emphasis of these standards should come as no surprise to those who have taken (or will take) the Bullying class taught by the Olweus certified Trevaskis. Trevaskis' Civics class focuses on the values of citizenship that are explicit in the climate guidelines, the impact of sports on school climate is covered in the course he teaches with attorney Harry Cooper, the benefits of mediation in helping restore positive school climate is explored in Trevaskis' mediation course and the very process of creating standards is a lesson from the School Law class which he teaches with retired Superintendent Dr. Al Cunningham.
BRAI is committed to working with teachers to provide interactive and impactful classes that help schools provide a safe learning environment for all children through a resiliency and wellness approach. BRAI offers numerous courses in a wide variety of areas, from classroom management to diversity education, to effectuate the spirit behind the new climate standards.