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IES Grant

Title: Development of Program-Wide Supports for the Pyramid Model Implementation: Addressing Young Children's Social-Emotional Competence and Challenging Behaviors
Center: NCER Year: 2015
Principal Investigator: Hemmeter, Mary Louise Awardee: Vanderbilt University
Program: Early Learning Programs and Policies      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (9/1/2015-8/31/2018) Award Amount: $1,499,855
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A150141

Co-Principal Investigator: Erin Barton (Vanderbilt University), Gary Henry (Vanderbilt University), Lise Fox (University of South Florida) and Christopher Vatland (University of South Florida)

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop and evaluate a system of implementation supports, Program-wide Supports for Pyramid Model Implementation (PWS-PMI), for preschool programs using the Pyramid Model to promote young children's social behavioral competence. The Pyramid Model is a framework that organizes best practices for promoting social-emotional competence and addressing the challenging behavior of young children. With prior funding from IES, the researchers developed the Pyramid Model and they are currently evaluating the efficacy of the teacher professional development program component of the Pyramid Model (Examining the Efficacy of a Classroom-Wide Model for Promoting Social Emotional Development and Addressing Challenging Behavior in Preschool Children with or at-risk for Disabilities).) Based on data from previous development and efficacy studies, the researchers concluded that the Pyramid Model is not scalable or sustainable without additional program-wide implementation supports. The objective of this project is to develop the practices, tools, and measures needed to implement the Pyramid Model program-wide within community-based early childhood programs with fidelity.

Project Activities: The researchers will use an iterative process to develop the intervention components, obtain feedback from teachers and other preschool program staff, conduct field tests, and conduct a pilot study to evaluate the promise of the system of supports for improving implementation of the Pyramid Model and child outcomes.

Products: Researchers will produce a fully developed intervention to support implementation of the Pyramid Model and peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The study will take place in community-based early childhood programs (i.e., Head Start and child care) in Florida and Tennessee.

Sample: For the pilot study phase of the project study participants will include 48 classrooms/teaching teams (lead and assistant teachers) and approximately 720 children.

Intervention: The Program-wide Supports for Pyramid Model Implementation (PWS-PMI) will consist of a set of materials for leadership teams in preschool programs to use. Researchers will develop: (a) a PWS-PMI Implementation Manual to guide the PWS-PMI leadership teams and (b) materials for conducting a Leadership Academy to train leadership teams. The Leadership Academy will be a 2.5 day event during which program leadership teams will learn about each of the critical elements of PWS-PMI and develop an implementation plan related to those elements. The Leadership Academy materials will include speaker notes, activities, handouts, presentation slides, and video clips.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers have already developed materials for training and supporting teaching staff coaches, and behavior support personnel. The training materials for leadership teams have not been developed. In year 1, researchers will refine the Early Childhood Benchmarks of Quality (ECBoQ), a researcher-developed measure. Researchers will develop the PWS-PMI Implementation Manual, Leadership Academy and supporting materials. They will obtain feedback from experts and school leaders and refine the manual and leadership academy materials. They will also develop a protocol for an external coach to provide support to program staff. In year 2, researchers will conduct a field test of PWS-PMI. They will conduct focus groups at field test sites and collect and analyze data. Researchers will refine the Implementation Manual and Leadership Academy materials based on field test data. They will also obtain feedback from expert panel members. Researchers will then finalize the Implementation Manual materials and the Leadership Academy materials in preparation for the pilot study. In year 3, they will conduct a pilot study. They will randomly assign preschool programs to treatment and control conditions, conduct fidelity observations, collect classroom data, and ask teachers to report on children's social behavioral skills. Researchers will conduct analyses to examine the effects of the implementation supports on teacher implementation of the Pyramid Model and teacher report of children's social behavioral skills. They will also analyze the psychometric properties of the ECBoQ and make final revisions to the intervention materials.

Control Condition: The "business as usual" control group will engage in typical practice.

Key Measures: Primary measures include assessments of fidelity of implementation using the Preschool-Wide Evaluation Tool (PreSET) and the ECBoQ; the Teaching Pyramid Model Observation Tool, a measure of teacher implementation of Pyramid Model practices; the Classroom Observation Scoring System (CLASS), a measure of classroom quality; and the Social Skills Improvement Scales, a teacher rating of children's social skills and problem behaviors.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will analyze the data on the feasibility, usability, and acceptability using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Focus group data will be audio recorded and transcribed. Project staff will independently read the transcript, identify the main ideas, quantify the information, and categorize the units. Researchers will conduct analyses to examine the relationship between implementing PWS-PMI with fidelity, changes in teacher implementation of the Pyramid Model, and child outcome measures (child challenging behavior, child social development). The research team will use hierarchical liner modeling to account for nesting effects.

Related IES Projects: Examining the Potential Efficacy of a Classroom Wide Model for Promoting Social Emotional Development and Addressing Challenging Behavior in Preschool Children With and Without Disabilities (R324A070212); Examining the Efficacy of a Classroom-Wide Model for Promoting Social Emotional Development and Addressing Challenging Behavior in Preschool Children with or at-risk for Disabilities (R324A120178)