Elementary SELect Program
Student Success Skills is a skills promotion program that uses teaching practices and free-standing SEL lessons to support social and emotional learning. It is designed to be implemented in a regular class where the teacher or school counselor delivers five lessons that provide students with strategies for (1) setting goals, monitoring progress, and sharing success; (2) building a caring, supportive, and encouraging environment; (3) developing and practicing memory and cognitive skills; (4) calming anxiety and managing emotions; and (5) developing healthy optimism. Students are taught stress reduction techniques that include mindfulness strategies such as muscle relaxation. The dosage is one lesson per week, for five weeks, with three booster sessions, one for each of the following months. After completing the five lessons teachers are expected to cue and coach students to apply the appropriate skills and strategies during academic lessons throughout the year to master the curriculum and develop a healthy and supportive classroom climate.
In addition to the universal program, Student Success Skills offers a group counseling format for students who need additional support. The program also includes a four-session parent workshop that provides families with an overview of the skills and strategies their children are being taught as well as strategies to promote effective communication, problem-solving skills, and positive parenting.
The professional development recommended by Student Success Skills consists of one full day of training. This is done in person and can be provided on site or regionally at a professional conference. Teachers may also attend a summer training institute. Each teacher receives a classroom manual as part of the training. Access to a trainer is available to support ongoing implementation. Student Success Skills has developed a Train the Trainer model in which group of teachers can attend a regional training or summer institute and then implement the program in their school and be observed via videotapes they send back to Student Success Skills for review. If teachers meet criteria they can be certified by Student Success Skills as trainers. There is also training for counselors to support the small-group format. Other implementation supports include consultations with district leaders before and after training to aid high-quality implementation, consultation for an implementation evaluation, and coaching. In addition, the program offers a CD with PowerPoint lessons for teachers as well as a 20-minute overview of the program for both teachers and administrators that reviews some lessons, key goals and components, and the program’s evidence base. The program also offers rating scales and observational tools to monitor the fidelity of implementation.
Evidence of Effectiveness
Results from a quasi-experimental conducted in 2007-2008 support the effectiveness of Student Success Skills for elementary students. The intervention delivered was the Spanish translation of the program. The evaluation included 156 students from three schools who were in 4th and 5th grades. In addition, the study sample consisted only of students from the three schools who spoke mainly Spanish at home, and were in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes (Hispanic = 100%). The evaluation found that the students who participated in the program achieved higher standardized test scores in math and reading compared to students in the comparison group (outcomes reported 1 year after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest).