Thursday, June 2, 2016
Seacliff C (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
School-based prevention of behavioral and mental health problems is a significant concern, as is the uptake of the currently available evidence-based prevention programs. This presentation provides an overview of a 14-year partnership between the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Sheppard Pratt Health System, and the Maryland State Department of Education, called PBIS Maryland. This partnership has collaborated on the scale-up implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS, Sugai & Horner, 2002, 2006) to prevent behavioral and mental health problems, and improve school climate and academic outcomes. Since 1999, Maryland has scaled-up PBIS in over 980 elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the state. This PBIS Maryland network currently includes over 66% of Maryland schools (i.e., 456 elementary, 259 middle, and 135 high schools; 69 are special/alternative schools). PBIS Maryland has provided the foundation for further dissemination of other evidence-based prevention programs, like Coping Power, Check & Connect, and LifeSkills. The partnership has also developed an evaluation infrastructure, which collects ongoing implementation data from all schools in the state. Analyses of these data have indicated that higher levels of implementation are associated with lower truancy and improved math and reading (Pas & Bradshaw, 2012). Our team has also conducted a series of randomized trials of PBIS which have demonstrated significant impacts across a range of outcomes, including discipline problems, school climate, and social-emotional problems. Given the growing evidence base for PBIS, the Maryland state legislature began mandating middle and high schools with high truancy rates to implement PBIS beginning in 2010. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of the partnership, and summarize a recently funded Institute of Education Sciences partnership grant to evaluate the broader scale-up effort across the state. We will review our plan for evaluating the scale-up, which leverages a series of quasi-experimental designs using propensity scores to examine the effects of PBIS implementation in elementary schools and mandated training in PBIS in middle and high schools, using archived fidelity and student-level outcome data. The outcomes of interest are student behavior (e.g., suspensions, attendance, truancy) and academic performance (i.e., standardized tests). We will also present our plans for conducting an assessment of the costs associated with implementing and scaling-up PBIS across the state. We will conclude by presenting some lessons learned for scaling-up evidence based practices in schools using a partnership approach.