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IES Grant

Title: Promoting School Success in Children Attending Pre-K Programs in Poor, Urban Schools
Center: NCER Year: 2005
Principal Investigator: Brotman, Laurie Awardee: New York University School of Medicine
Program: Field Initiated Evaluations of Education Innovations      [Program Details]
Award Period: 6 years (6/1/2005-5/31/2011) Award Amount: $3,849,787
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305F050245

Structured Abstract

Purpose: Children from poor, urban communities are at high risk of behavior problems and academic underachievement. The purpose of this project is to test a universal, preventive school- and family-based mental health program for pre-kindergarten children. The program aims to prevent conduct problems and improve academic achievement among children by promoting effective parenting and teaching strategies and parent-school involvement. At the end of the project, the results will show whether adding mental health services and training in one large urban district reduces behavior problems and enhances academic achievement among poor kindergarten students.

Setting: The evaluation is being conducted in 30 public elementary schools with pre-kindergarten programs in poor, high-crime neighborhoods in New York City.

Population(s): The participants are pre-kindergarten children from poor, urban neighborhoods, their families, and the school staff who are delivering the intervention.

Intervention: ParentCorps is a universal preventive intervention that combines 1) services for parents and children provided after school by pre-kindergarten teachers, paraprofessionals, and mental health professionals with 2) training for pre-kindergarten school staff. The program aims to prevent behavior problems and academic underachievement in kindergarten through the promotion of effective parenting and teaching practices, parent-school involvement, and social, emotional, and behavioral competence during the preschool period. In each intervention school, a 6-member-team of pre-kindergarten teachers, paraprofessionals, school-based mental health professionals will receive training by NYU clinicians. Training includes 5 days (30 hours) in the fall of the school year. This team, in collaboration with NYU clinicians, will deliver the after-school program to families in the spring of the school year (13 2-hour sessions).

Research Design and Methods: The study is a randomized controlled trial conducted in three successive waves of schools, in which there are 5 treatment schools and 5 control schools each year. The 15 schools in the treatment group are providing the ParentCorps intervention to children, families, and school staff. All of the children in the pre-kindergarten classes in the treatment and control schools are being recruited for the study, with an expected sample size of 780 children.

Control Condition: The 15 control schools are providing their usual pre-kindergarten program.

Key Measures: Child behavior and achievement will be assessed by parent and teacher reports, child interviews, and face-to-face assessments. Children will be assessed pre- and post-intervention, and during the fall and spring of their kindergarten year.

Parenting practices and parent-school involvement will be measured by parent reports and teacher reports (of parent-school involvement only). Teacher practices will be measured by teacher report and observations.

Data Analytic Strategy: The analysis will use HLM and other appropriate multi-level models to estimate growth curves for student outcomes including behavior problems and academic outcomes. In addition, the study will examine with the effects are mediated or moderated by teaching practices, parent-school involvement, intervention dose, integrity of implementation, parent satisfaction, or child characteristics such as gender, early conduct problems, and school readiness skills. Secondary analyses will be conducted on the long-term impact of the program on teaching practices, parenting practices, and parent-school involvement.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Brotman, L.M., Dawson–McClure, S., Calzada, E.J., Huang, K.Y., Kamboukos, D., Palamar, J.J., and Petkova, E. (2013). Cluster (School) RCT of ParentCorps: Impact on Kindergarten Academic Achievement. Pediatrics, 131(5): e1521–e1529.

Brotman, L.M., Dawson–McClure, S., Kamboukos, D., Huang, K.Y., Calzada, E.J., Goldfeld, K., and Petkova, E. (2016). Effects of ParentCorps in Prekindergarten on Child Mental Health and Academic Performance: Follow–Up of a Randomized Clinical Trial Through 8 Years of Age. JAMA Pediatrics, 170(12), 1149–1155.

Dawson–McClure, S., Calzada, E.J., and Brotman, L.M. (2017). Engaging Parents in Preventive Interventions for Young Children: Working With Cultural Diversity Within Low–Income, Urban Neighborhoods. Prevention Science, 18(6), 660–670.