Elementary SELect Program
Getting Along Togetheris a skills promotion program that builds a classroom and school culture of cooperation, self-regulation, and win-win problem solving. The program uses free-standing lessons and teaching practices to support social and emotional development in grades K-5. Lessons are conducted for 30 minutes every day during the first two weeks of school to introduce key routines and strategies, including teaching practices that support SEL skill development throughout the day. Lessons start with direct instruction using literature as a tool to teach SEL concepts. Then students work in cooperative groups to discuss and practice new learning and skills. Within each lesson, teachers are prompted to use teaching strategies such as thinking aloud and modeling. Each lesson includes a behavior for students to demonstrate any time during the week (such as using active listening or demonstrating a “Stop and Think” strategy) as part of a school-wide cooperative challenge where teams of students receive encouragement and feedback to build skills by earning points.
After the first two weeks of lessons, Getting Along Together establishes a regular, weekly routine that begins with a skill lesson early in the week, and ends with a “Class Council” meeting later that week. During these thirty-minute council meetings, students have the opportunity to practice the skills they learned in the lesson earlier in the week, share and celebrate good news, raise questions and concerns about day-to-day experiences, and engage in planning, problem solving, and goal setting within the context of the classroom community.
The professional development recommended by Getting Along Together consists of one full day of on-site training and four sessions of virtual support during the first school year of implementation. The on-site training component emphasizes the philosophy and values of the program, including the importance of cooperative structures and active learning for student social and emotional development. During the initial training, teachers have opportunities to practice new teaching strategies and interact with the lessons. After the training, participants receive access to online resources, including general guides and demonstration videos for class council meetings. The four, virtual follow-up support sessions are generally conducted through Blackboard, an online learning platform. As part of this virtual support, schools can choose to engage in specific trainings that align with elements of the program or less formal coaching sessions based on issues that arise during implementation.
Other implementation supports include parent letters provided in English and Spanish, resources that link Getting Along Together with college and career readiness standards, and additional materials for training non-certified support staff in order to build a school-wide perspective.
Evidence of Effectiveness
Results from a randomized control trial conducted in 2011-2012 support the effectiveness of Getting Along Together curriculum for elementary students. The evaluation included 4,410 kindergarten through third grade students from six elementary schools in Phoenix, AZ (Hispanic = 80%; 92% free or reduced price lunch). The evaluation found that kindergarten students who participated in the program performed better on observer reports of attentive and impulsive behaviors compared to students in the comparison group (outcomes reported approximately 8 months after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest). The evaluation found that the third grade students who participated in the program exhibited lower levels of hostile attribution bias compared to students in the comparison group (outcomes reported approximately 8 months after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest). Conversely, the evaluation found that kindergarten students who participated in the program performed worse on a test of working memory compared to students in the comparison group (outcomes reported approximately 8 months after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest). The evaluation did not find effects for first or second grade student outcomes.