Conscious Discipline

Pre-K and Elementary SELect Program

Program Design

Conscious Discipline is an organizational approach to schoolwide, systemic SEL implementation that also utilizes teaching practices to promote social-emotional development, resiliency, and self-regulation in students. Grounded in the research of Dr. Becky Bailey, Conscious Discipline offers trauma-informed teaching practices that foster a safe, compassionate, nurturing school culture. Schools wishing to implement Conscious Discipline commit to a three-year implementation schedule involving professional learning, planning, continuous improvement, strengthening of Adult SEL, and promoting SEL for students. The Conscious Discipline approach views school leaders as critical drivers for successful SEL implementation. As such, school leaders are given guidance on establishing and leading a schoolwide implementation team comprised of motivated staff/faculty from multiple age groups or grade levels.

The first year is entirely dedicated to Adult SEL, with teachers being encouraged to explore the program, including the theoretical foundations and evidence-base underpinning the Conscious Discipline approach. The second and third years feature collaborative support for classroom implementation, continuous improvement with the internal schoolwide implementation team, and facilitation through personalized professional development with Conscious Discipline. The program aims to leverage and build upon preexisting strengths in a school community, so experience in the second and third years of implementation varies based on the needs of the school. All schools also receive professional learning and can access fidelity tracking tools to support implementation.

Training and Implementation Support

Generally, Conscious Discipline’s training and implementation support looks and feels different depending on the need and culture of a school community. All schools have access to fidelity tracking tools like self-assessment rubrics, pre/post-tests, and fidelity checklists. In the first year of implementation, teachers and school leaders explore and learn about the program through a 10-hour online course. This course presents the necessary content knowledge for successful implementation of Conscious Discipline. This course can be facilitated as an independent study; however, schools are encouraged to work through the content as a whole staff or in teams collaboratively.

Schools host Conscious Discipline staff for a 1-2 day collaborative training called ‘Ignite and Excite.’ Described as ‘bringing the heart and the head together,’ these interactive trainings aim to support putting Conscious Discipline into practice directly. Additionally, after the first year of implementation, principals, SEL/MTSS coordinators, and highly motivated teachers have to option to receive individualized coaching support. Finally, faculty and staff from all Conscious Discipline schools are invited to participate in a 7-day practice-oriented institute held at rotating locations around the country.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results from a quasi-experimental (QE) evaluation conducted in the 2012-2013 academic year supported the effectiveness of the Conscious Discipline program for preschool students. In sum, these evaluations included 1,386 Pre-K students in multiple states (approximately 90% African American and 69% Hispanic; approximately 53% from households with incomes under $25,000). This evaluation found that students receiving the Conscious Discipline program showed significantly greater growth in teacher-reported social skill behaviors, observer-reported classroom behaviors, school readiness, and both teacher- and parent-reported social emotional skills than the control group (outcomes reported approximately 36 weeks after baseline, while controlling for outcome pretest). Additionally, teachers implementing and receiving training on the Conscious Discipline program showed improvement in their teaching practices. More specifically, in comparison to the control group, Conscious Discipline-implementing teachers demonstrated significantly greater: self-reported personal SEL skills development and use of positive classroom structures, rituals, and routines; observer-reported use of positive discipline strategies; and both observer- and self-reported positive emotional climate.

Rain, J.S. (2014). Conscious Discipline Research Study Findings. Rain & Brehm Consulting Group. Unpublished Manuscript.