Tools for Getting Along

Elementary Promising Program

Program Design and Implementation Support

Tools for Getting Along is a skills promotion program that uses free-standing lessons to promote social and emotional learning for students in fourth and fifth grade. The program includes 20 lessons and 6 booster lessons and is designed to be implemented for 20-30 minutes weekly or bi-weekly. The program uses a cognitive-behavioral approach to teach students new strategies to manage anger and solve problems.

The lessons in Tools for Getting Along helps students recognize when they have a problem and are experiencing escalating feelings of anger. The program also provides strategies to help students calm down using deep breathing, positive self-talk, and thinking through potential solutions. Each lesson includes a “Toolkit” with workbook pages focusing on student reflection and generalization of the skills learned. Many lessons also include student role-plays. Tools for Getting Along is designated complementary because the lessons primarily emphasize anger management and social problem-solving but have limited coverage of other social-emotional competencies.

Implementation Support

Tools for Getting Along offers 1-2 day trainings as their standard professional development model. These trainings are broken down into four parts. In the first part, participants learn about the theory behind the program and participate in cognitive exercises that demonstrate various aspect of executive functioning. Next, program providers explain the benefits of a prevention approach including the student benefits of social problem solving. In the third part of the training, teachers have an opportunity to explore each step of the program’s problem-solving protocol. In this stage, teachers learn about and practice instructional techniques, such as cognitive modeling, that are embedded in the program. The last step in the training process is to focus on assessment and generalization. Teachers will learn how to use informal “on the spot” assessments to gauge how students are using their new skills and strategies. In addition to classroom teachers, administrators and school counselors are welcome and encouraged to participate in trainings.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results from two randomized control trials (RCT) conducted in published in 2012 and 2016 supported the effectiveness of Tools for Getting Along for elementary school students. The 2012 evaluation included 1,152 students in multiple schools who were in 4th and 5th grade (African American = 35%, White = 54%, with up to 87% qualifying for free or reduced lunch).This evaluation found that students who participated in the program demonstrated higher social problem solving skills compared to students in the comparison group (outcomes reported approximately 6 months after baseline). The 2016 replication evaluation included 1,843 students who were also in 4th and 5th grade (African American = 30%, White = 70%, with up to 81% qualifying for free or reduced lunch). The evaluation also found an increase in student self-reported social problem-solving skills after up to 6 months of Tools for Getting Along Implementations. These Tools for Getting Along evaluations found increases in students’ self-reported SEL skills and attitudes. For this reason, Tools for Getting Along is designated as Promising.