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IES Grant

Title: Development and Testing of a Research-Based Tier 3 Wraparound Model for Schools
Center: NCER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Bruns, Eric Awardee: University of Washington
Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2020 – 06/30/2024) Award Amount: $1,399,843
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A200050

Purpose: Social, emotional, and behavioral problems are well-documented barriers to academic achievement. Frameworks such as multi-tier system of school supports (MTSS) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) focus on addressing emotional and behavioral needs of students via effective strategies across tiers. However, at the "Tier 3" intensive level, few research-based strategies exist for students with serious emotional and behavioral challenges (SEBC) that span home, school, and community. This is problematic because students with SEBC experience the poorest outcomes among all students with special needs. Team-based Wraparound care coordination has a rapidly growing evidence base, with positive outcomes found across a range of outcomes. However, there has been little effort to systematically develop or adapt a model specific to schools, with the full package of required implementation supports. Despite Wraparound being widely referenced as a potential intensive Tier-3 option for MTSS and PBIS, there has been no systematic development or research on Wraparound models in education. The purpose of this project is to develop and test a Tier-3 team-based Wraparound (T3W) intervention package.

Project Activities: Researchers will carry out their study in three phases. In the first phase, they will iteratively adapt the existing Wraparound model for use in elementary schools. In the second phase, they will test the feasibility of the revised intervention in elementary settings. In the third phase, they will complete a pilot test to evaluate the promise of the intervention, and with gather cost information.

Products: The project will yield a complete T3W intervention package, including training and coaching curricula, guidelines for districts and schools, supervisor supports, fidelity measures, and data systems, as well as preliminary evidence of the promise of positive outcomes. Researchers will share findings via conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in six elementary schools located in four school districts in Mason County, Washington.

Sample: Participating students will be those identified as experiencing academic problems due to SEBC.

Intervention: The project will adapt a research-based Wraparound model and its package of implementation supports for use by education systems in elementary school settings, with the assumption that results and lessons learned will be applicable to middle and high school settings. Researchers will adapt field-tested and research-based materials used by the National Wraparound Implementation Center (NWIC), including manuals, training curricula, staff and supervisor certification procedures, coaching platform, fidelity and outcome measures, and program and system checklists. They will adapt protocols and tools from PBIS for developing district- and school-level readiness for implementation of intensive Tier-3 supports. These protocols and tools will support the implementation of a full fidelity T3W model in schools and be used to ensure necessary connection to community services and supports for implementation and testing of T3W and the availability of needed evidence-based interventions.

Research Design and Methods: In Phase 1, researchers will facilitate an expert review and revision of existing tools/protocols. They will also test feasibility of T3W installation protocols and build T3W readiness in the six study schools. In Phase 2, the team will conduct an initial feasibility test whereby two T3W facilitators affiliated with the research team will implement a first version of the adapted school-based wraparound model with 18 elementary school students and their families. In Phase 3, the project team will test the potential for positive impact on student mental health and academic outcomes via a small randomized study that assigns 60 students in need of extra support due to their SEBC to receive either the final T3W protocol or services as usual.

Control Condition: Students in the control condition will receive services as usual.

Key Measures: Researchers will collect measures focused on T3W feasibility and acceptability, installation success, T3W fidelity, student/parent report of mental health symptoms and functioning, and student academic outcomes.

Data Analytic Strategy: The team will use a variety of analytic strategies including qualitative analysis (for initial expert and stakeholder input), mixed-methods single-subject case study design (for initial feasibility and validation tests), and multilevel modeling with repeated measures (to examine differences in outcomes between groups in the small-scale randomized study).

Cost Analysis: Researchers will determine total costs of T3W per school and mean cost per student.

Related Projects: University of Washington SMART Center Postdoctoral Research Program (R305B170021)