Program

Sep 29, 2017

OVERVIEW

Family-School Partnership (FSP) is designed to improve student achievement, concentration, and behavioral problems among students in first-grade classrooms. This intervention focuses on parent-school communication and provides parents with strategies for teaching and behavioral management. A randomized controlled trial evaluating FSP found the program had significant positive impacts on boys’ reading achievement, peer assessments of boys’ aggressive behaviors in first grade, and teacher-rated total problems with behavior and concentration in second grade for both boys and girls.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Children in first grade

The goal of Family-School Partnership (FSP) is to reduce risk factors for substance use, affective, and conduct disorders among children. FSP includes activities to improve communication between parents and teachers and to provide parents with strategies for teaching and managing their children’s behavior at home, as a way to improve students’ achievement and reduce problems with concentration, shyness, and aggression.

Both parents and school personnel participate in activities as part of this program. Teachers and school staff are provided with a three-day seminar, follow-up supervisory visits, a training manual, and a video training. The content of these activities is based on the Parents on Your Side program and focuses on communication and building partnerships between parents and schools.

Parents are provided with workshops facilitated by a first-grade teacher and a school psychologist or social worker, as well as a set of accompanying materials. Parents attend a total of nine workshops addressing a range of topics, including effective practices for discipline and for teaching reading and math. Seven of the workshops occur on a weekly basis, followed by two follow-up workshops to review content and allow parents to problem-solve for challenges. Accompanying materials include loaned books to read with their children, tools to assist with math activities, and weekly comment sheets for reporting the completion of home activities and any issues experienced to the teachers.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Ialongo, N. S., Werthamer, L., Kellam, S. G., Brown, C. H., Wong, S, & Lin, Y. (1999). Proximal impact of two first-grade preventive interventions on the early risk behaviors for later substance abuse, depression, and antisocial behavior. American Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 599-641.

Evaluated population: A total of 678 children in Baltimore City were included in the sample. Slightly more than half of children (53.2 percent) were male, and most (86.8 percent were black. The remainder of the sample (13.2 percent) were white. At baseline, children’s ages ranged from 5.3 years to 7.7 years. The majority (62.3 percent) received free or reduced-price lunch. Of the 678 families, 97 percent gave parental consent to participate.

Approach: Randomization to one of three conditions (FSP, a classroom-centered intervention, and a control condition) occurred at the classroom level. Individual teachers and students were randomly assigned to nine different first-grade classrooms. Outcomes were assessed through teacher and parent ratings of total problems on the tasks of accepting authority, social participation, and concentration. In addition, students assessed their peers on aggressive and shy behaviors, and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills was used to measure achievement. These measures were assessed during the early fall and the spring of first grade, and follow-up data were collected for achievement and teacher-rated total problems in the fall and spring of second grade. There were no significant sociodemographic differences between children in the sample whose parents did and did not provide consent for their children to participate. There were no differences between the intervention conditions with regard to attrition rates, although boys with missing data on the first-grade spring and second-grade follow-ups had been rated significantly higher by their teachers as demonstrating problem behaviors at the beginning of first grade. There were also no significant between-group differences in academic achievement or problem behaviors at baseline or in the sociodemographics of the children who had missing data. Outcomes were analyzed separately by gender.

Results: Among boys, FSP had significant positive impacts on reading achievement in first grade and marginally significant positive impacts on reading achievement in second grade. FSP also had significant positive impacts for boys on teacher-rated total problems (accepting authority, social participation, and concentration) in second grade, as well as peers’ assessments of aggressive behaviors in first grade. No significant impacts were found for math achievement in either grade, and no impacts were found for teacher- or parent-rated total problems in first grade, or peers’ assessments of shy behavior in first grade.

Among girls, significant positive impacts were found for teacher-rated total problems in second grade, but no other significant impacts were found for any of the other measures.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Ialongo, N. S., Werthamer, L., Kellam, S. G., Brown, C. H., Wong, S, & Lin, Y. (1999). Proximal impact of two first-grade preventive interventions on the early risk behaviors for later substance abuse, depression, and antisocial behavior. American Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 599-641.

KEYWORDS: Children (3-11), Elementary, Males and Females (Co-ed), Black/African American, Urban, Parent or Family Component, Parent Training/Education, Academic Achievement/Grades, Education Other, Social Skills/Life Skills, Aggression

Program information last updated on 9/29/17.

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