Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: Social-Emotional Skill-Building Continuity between School and Home: Developing Second Step: Parents
Center: NCER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Rhoades, Kimberly Awardee: New York University
Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (09/01/2021 – 08/31/2025) Award Amount: $1,999,944
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A210210

Co-Principal Investigators: Eddy, J. Mark; Kim, Tia

Purpose: The research team will develop new parent materials to use with the Second Stepprogram, a school-based social emotional learning (SEL) intervention designed to increase children's social and emotional skills and academic achievement. The program has demonstrated positive outcomes in scientifically rigorous trials and is implemented widely in the U.S. and over 70 other countries.  Second Stepmaterials for parents (Home Links) are included for parents to support SEL at home. While such materials exist, they are seldom used. This research team will focus on making these parent materials more engaging, easier to disseminate, and more effective.

Project Activities: The researchers will use human centered design across three phases: iterative program development and modifications (Phase 1), feasibility and acceptability testing (Phase 2), and pilot testing in a 3-arm cluster randomized controlled trial (Phase 3). Throughout, the research team will engage iteratively with parents, teachers, and administrators not only as consumers of the end-product, but also as co-developers.

Products: Products will include a new parent component to be used in conjunction with Second Step. The researchers will also learn and disseminate information on (1) strategies to increase parent engagement in school-based programs, (2) using Human Centered Design to develop preventive interventions, and (3) the extent to which parent engagement with Second Step: Parent sand parent reinforcement and modelling of Second Stepskills function as intervention mechanisms.

Structured Abstract

Setting: All three research phases will take place in partnership with five elementary schools drawn from diverse locations across the U.S. and include urban (small, medium, and large cities and suburbs) and rural settings.

Sample: Parents of K-2nd grade children attending 5 schools that implement Second Step and teachers and administrators in those schools will comprise the sample. Phase 1 will include 125 parents, 35 teachers, and 5 administrators. Phase 2 will include 180 parents. Phase 3 will include an estimated 30 teachers, 750 children, and 375 parents. Averaged across the 5 included schools, 63 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced lunch and racial/ethnic breakdown is as follows: 35.7 percent White or Caucasian, 21.7 percent Black or African American, 32.3 percent Hispanic, 4.1 percent Asian, <1 percent Native American or Alaskan Native, <1 percent Pacific Islander or Hawaiian, and 5 percent other.

Intervention: The goal of the parent component is for parents to help children practice SEL skills in the home and provide reinforcement and modeling of those skills. The research team will draw content directly from Second Step, providing children additional skill practice at home. They will refine the content via parent focus groups to ensure that it is relevant to parents and something they will use. Focus group results will inform the delivery mechanism of the program

Research Design and Methods: In Phase 1, the researchers will conduct focus groups, engage in rapid prototype development, and interview parents, teachers, and administrators at schools currently implementing the Second Stepcurriculum to determine intervention content and delivery mechanisms that are more likely to maximize (1) parent engagement, (2) implementation feasibility, (3) acceptability of the intervention to all stakeholders and end-users. In Phase 2, they will assess the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention prototypes in iterative feasibility and acceptability trials. During this phase, they will also create a measure of parent engagement with the intervention component. In Phase 3 the team will conduct a cluster (by classroom) randomized controlled trial in partnership with K-2 classrooms in five geographically, racially and ethnically, and socio-economically diverse schools.

Control Condition: Children in control condition classrooms will receive either the Second Stepcurriculum as it is regularly implemented in their schools and parents will receive any information or programming that the schools would normally provide, or they will receive Second Stepwith additional Home Linksimplementation supports for teachers.

Key Measures: The outcome measures in the pilot RCT will include academic grades and grade proxies and social, emotional, and behavioral competencies. The research team will measure intervention acceptability, feasibility, implementation, and parent engagement in all phases. They will also assess attitudes toward evidence-based interventions and electronic interventions. During phase 2 they will create, evaluate, and refine a measure of parents' SEL knowledge and behaviors.

Data Analytic Strategy: In Phase 1, the research team y will conduct descriptive and qualitative analyses to design intervention prototypes and identify strategies to optimize parent engagement with the intervention component. In Phase 2 they will use the above measures to determine intervention functioning and to refine the intervention prototype. In Phase 3, the team will use structural equation modeling techniques accounting for the nested structure of the data to examine intervention effect sizes and to test the theoretical model of change.

Cost Analysis: The research team will calculate any costs of the parent component that are over and above those associated with Second Stepas usual, which have been calculated in prior research projects. The research team will name and describe the resources needed to run the parent component, attaching value to those resources, gather information to estimate program costs, and create and use the cost estimate in future research on the program.