Because of this it was not easily to create a control group (i.e. schools with no intervention) or even to find schools that were implementing similar interventions to act as contrast schools. These aspects present challenges to schools’ implementation readiness for an evidence based program (Wanless and Domitrovich, 2015. They also present challenges for the development of a research evaluation design that could take into account the growing numerous and diversity of practices in the violence prevention in schools. In view of this political environment, we undertook a four year, mixed methods, longitudinal study (2017-2021) of the growth of implementation of the DIRE-MENTOR program in ten elementary schools that initially differ in their levels of implementation readiness.
We used teachers’ self-reported questionnaires, (n=228) to assess their perceptions of the following teaching skills: 1- Competence to intervene with children showing behavioral problems and 2- Teaching practices with pictures books and literacy. We also investigate the level readiness of the school organization (self-reported questionnaire answered by whole staff,(n=345); and conducted interviews with the school directors, n=16). We found significant disparities in the teaching competence to intervene in children’s behaviors. We also found important gaps between knowledge of the efficient teaching practices with pictures books and literacy, on one hand, and the actual extent putting them into practice, on the other hand. However, despite identified differences between schools’ environments (urban, suburban, rural); different in SES; culturally homogeneous or not; alternative or traditional pedagogy) there is significant common ground between them concerning the vision of how best to prevent and reduce violence. The discussion focuses on how to develop strategies to attain good implementation fidelity, while integrating new programs with the others good practices already existing in these schools.