This project will assess school climate and bullying across 55 schools in 24 rural districts of Southern Illinois. We will evaluate the effectiveness of a low-cost, component based intervention comprising a combination of key targets focused on improving classroom management, playground monitoring and schoolwide disciplinary procedures as assessed by student, teacher/staff, and administrator ratings of school climate. We will utilize the Train the-Trainer's model to disseminate the toolkit provide by the National Center for Safe Supportive Learning Environments by engaging teachers in the delivery of workshops designed for cultivating meaningful relationships with students while creating a positive climate in the classroom. We will incorporate standardized playground monitor training based on Systematic Supervision, a program available through lris-Ed. The third component is an academy developed by the Illinois Principal's Association intended for school principals on bullying prevention. Finally, we will assess the impact of incorporating an anonymous reporting system to allow students in all schools to make reports of bullying and school safety issues. These components were selected based on meta analytic reviews and in response in to recent calls for more research identifying the most effective targets for bullying prevention and their cost effectiveness.
The main analyses for this project will be conducted with hierarchical linear modeling, which allows for nested structures. These will be based on mixed effects longitudinal models for repeated outcomes. The data for this project will be composed of school climate surveys completed by students, teachers/staff and administrators, classroom management questionnaires completed by teachers, systematic playground observations and ratings, and bullying incident reports, collected repeatedly over the course of this three-year project.
This project incorporates random assignment, with multiple pre and post intervention assessments. Randomized assignment will minimize the presence of differences across groups. To further ensure that groups are similar across school-level correlates, propensity score matching will be conducted. The analyses will also follow the intention to treat principal to compare participant's outcomes according to the condition they were assigned.
The results of this project should yield findings that will inform decisions about the utility and feasibility low-cost bullying prevention programming for schools in rural areas and with very limited resources.
Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.