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IES Grant

Title: Promoting Family-School Collaboration in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
Center: NCER Year: 2023
Principal Investigator: Garbacz, Andy Awardee: University of Wisconsin, Madison
Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Context for Teaching and Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2023 – 06/30/2027) Award Amount: $1,999,995
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A230396

Co-Principal Investigators: Bal, Aydin; Newell, Markeda

Purpose: The purpose of the project is to develop, refine, and conduct a test of the family–school collaboration (FSC) in the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework. This approach will enhance family-school collaboration in schoolwide PBIS and related schoolwide programs and practices.

Project Activities: The research team will use an iterative process to develop the FSC-PBIS framework. Phase 1 of the project includes development of the framework with input from caregivers, student services personnel, and PBIS team members. This work will assess usability and feasibility and identify barriers and facilitators to implementation. Phase 2 includes implementation of the framework in four elementary schools to examine fidelity, usability, feasibility, and impact on outcomes. Phase 3 is a randomized controlled trial to investigate the promise of the framework on family–school connections, family–school engagement, student social and behavioral competencies, and student academic performance.

Products: The primary products of this project include a fully developed framework and associated implementation protocols. The project will also result in peer-reviewed publications and presentations, as well as dissemination products that will reach educators, policymakers, and families.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will occur in 12 urban and suburban public elementary schools in two school districts implementing the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework in the Midwest region of the United States. Four schools will participate in the first two phases of the project with an additional eight schools participating in the randomized control trial in the final, third phase of the study.

Sample: Phase 1 will include caregivers, student services personnel, and PBIS team members in four elementary schools implementing PBIS. Phase 2 will include four elementary schools implementing the intervention, and corresponding teachers, PBIS team members, caregivers, and students. Phase 3 will include eight elementary schools, with four implementing the intervention and four maintaining their school-as-usual (SAU) and will include corresponding teachers, PBIS team members, caregivers, and students. Elementary schools in the sample will be drawn from urban and suburban areas in the Midwest region of the United States. Average enrollment per school is about 350 students with approximately 63 percent of students qualifying for a free or reduced-price school lunch. Across districts, approximately 25.5 percent of students are White, 36 percent of students are Black, 26 percent of students are Latinx (and race), 7.5 percent of students are Asian, and 5.5 percent of students are other races or ethnicities.

Intervention: The research team will develop evidence-based family–school intervention practices in schoolwide PBIS. The intervention being developed, FSC-PBIS, is grounded in the eco-interactional developmental theoretical model, cultural responsiveness, and in efficacious components of family–school interventions. The researchers will incorporate components targeted that include shared PBIS and family engagement practices (such as team-based leadership and coordination and evaluation of implementation fidelity) as well as unique components of family–school interventions (such as home–school communication and meaningful family-school decision making).

Research Design and Methods: Phase 1 consists of semi-structured interviews with caregivers, student services personnel, and PBIS team members. Phase 2 includes feasibility tests in four schools along with focus groups. Finally, Phase 3 includes a small scale randomized controlled trial in eight schools with an embedded implementation study. Iterative refinement of the intervention within and across all three phases will be a collaborative process with families, educators, and researchers. The researchers will examine family, school, and student outcome data concurrently with implementation data to make collaborative decisions about refinements to the intervention and relevant implementation strategies to promote sustained implementation.

Control Condition: In Phase 3, four schools will be randomly assigned to implement the intervention and four schools will maintain school-as-usual (SAU). Based on inclusion criteria, schools in the SAU comparison condition will implement PBIS and use a data system. Schools in the SAU comparison condition will complete measures to determine other SAU procedures.

Key Measures: The researchers will collect measures to assess fidelity, acceptability, usability, and feasibility. These include student social behavior (such as office discipline referrals, Behavior Assessment System for Children–Third Edition, Behavioral and Emotional Screening System), academic performance (such as Wisconsin Forward Exam; Academic Competence Evaluation Scales), family–school engagement, and family–school connection. They will also collect data to determine and direct and indirect intervention costs. In addition, they will use qualitative approaches to examine data on semi-structured interviews.

Data Analytic Strategy: Data analysis in phase 1 will include qualitative analyses. In phase 2, the researchers will examine short-term change through descriptive statistics and will compute Hedges g effect sizes when appropriate. In phase 3, the researchers will assess the promise of the intervention for improving student education outcomes in a randomized controlled trial, testing statistical significance and through Hedges g effect sizes. The researchers will also test for differences with a mixed-model  multilevel) analysis of covariance. In phases 2 and 3, the researchers will use descriptive statistics to examine usability and fidelity of implementation, and they will also use qualitative analysis to examine focus group data.

Cost Analysis: The cost analysis uses an ingredients-based approach. The researchers will compare program costs across areas to estimate direct and indirect resource needs, as well as variable and fixed costs. The researchers will apply projected value and opportunity costs where costs are not explicit.