Current Grant-Funded Research

Middle School Class-wide Function-related Intervention Teams (MS CW-FIT)

The purpose of this project is to develop a multi-tiered, class-wide, positive behavioral group contingency intervention for improving middle school teachers' classroom management practices and students' engagement, behaviors, and academic performance. Classroom management is particularly important in middle school where teachers often struggle with managing classrooms and students struggle with disengagement and disruptive behavior. MS CW-FIT will include a Tier 1, universal component delivered to all students, as well as a Tier 2 component (e.g., student self-management) delivered to students needing additional behavioral supports. A series of iterative activities will be completed over a 3-year period to develop the components of MS CW-FIT and examine the feasibility of the intervention in middle schools. A pilot study will determine the promise of MS CW-FIT for improving middle school teachers' classroom management practices and students' engagement, behaviors, and academic performance. Descriptive and single-case design studies will also be used to examine the potential impact of Tier 2 interventions on student outcomes.

Past Grant-Funded Research

Class-wide: Function-related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT): A Multi-Site Efficacy Trial

Purpose: Research suggests that 3–6 percent of school-age children have emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), yet these students are typically not identified until they have exhibited serious problems, including school failure, over multiple school years. There is a need for evidence-based interventions that prevent and ameliorate severe problem behavior exhibited by school-age children. Behavioral interventions based on an understanding of "why" a student displays problem behavior (i.e., the function or cause) have shown promising results for addressing a wide range of problem behaviors. One such intervention with evidence of efficacy is the Class-wide Function-based Intervention Teams (CW-FIT), which is designed to teach appropriate behavior skills (e.g., how to appropriately gain the teacher's attention) and reinforce the use of those skills through a game format. The intervention package also includes individual intervention procedures for students who do not successfully respond to the class-wide intervention. CW-FIT has prior evidence of efficacy to improve class-wide on-task behavior and decrease disruptive behaviors of students with or at risk for EBD. This study intends to replicate prior findings with a larger, more diverse population across three geographical areas. In addition, the implementation will better represent typical conditions of routine practice. This study will examine the impact of the intervention on outcomes measured at the teacher, class, and individual student levels for students diagnosed with or at risk for EBD in general and special education settings.

Prevention Plus: A Data-Based Approach to Delinquency Prevention in Schools

The purpose of this project is to train school-based teams to respond to and use data to prevent juvenile delinquency. Prevention Plus seeks to enhance schools' ability to (a) use data systems to access and collect academic and behavioral data (b) screen for early identification of students who are academically and/or behaviorally at risk, and (c) improve data-based decision-making skills of faculty as they choose appropriate interventions for at-risk students. Funding for this project was awarded by the US Office of Juvenile Justice.

Nebo Legacy Mentoring

Nebo Legacy Mentoring matches a carefully screened adult volunteer (mentor) with a child (mentee) in a school environment. Building a positive new friendship helps to strengthen a mentee's self-esteem and school performance and also allows a mentor to contribute to the well-being of a child.

This in-school mentoring program is a community partnership. Schools, businesses , service clubs, and faith-based organizations collaborate to provide this cost-effective program. Schools allow children to be released from regular classrooms to participate. Local businesses promote the program to their employees and support workers who act as mentors. 

Preventing Emotional Disturbance with Secondary Age Students: Achievement Plus, A Comprehensive School-wide Approach

Achievement Plus is a five-year comprehensive school-wide project for at-risk students in secondary schools. Its primary goal was to develop, implement, and evaluate the effects of the Achievement Plus model through 10  research studies. Achievement Plus includes primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of prevention, with emphasis on the primary and secondary levels to specifically target students who have not yet been identified as at risk for emotional disturbance (ED). School-wide screening was conducted in secondary schools each year to identify students at risk for internalizing and externalizing disorders. Currently we are analyzing the data from this grant and writing up final reports. This research was funded in part by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Grant # h224C03012.