School Psychology Forum

Evidence-Based Interventions in Urban Schools
Volume 10, Issue 2 (Summer 2016)

Editor: Steven R. Shaw


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  • Evidence-Based Interventions in Urban Schools: Unique Implications for Implementation: Introduction to the Special Issue

    By Kara E. McGoey & Scott L. Graves Jr.

    pp. 131-133

    ABSTRACT: Today’s youth experiences violence in both their school and their communities. Research has shown that students’ mental health and academic performance can be affected by multiple forms of violence, such as bullying and the criminal sexual exploitation of children. Further, how safe a student feels at school can be affected by his or her feelings of school climate. The purpose of the current special issue is to highlight research across these topics that has been conducted through the Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management. This introduction will outline the goals and objectives of the Center, the importance of this work to the field of school psychology, and briefly describe the relevance of the articles included in this special issue.

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  • Implementation of Culturally Relevant School-Wide Positive Behavior Support

    By Kara E. McGoey, Avi Baron Munro, Allison McCobin, Alison Miller

    pp. 134-141

    ABSTRACT: School-wide positive behavioral support (SWPBS) is an evidence-based strategy to alter the school environment by improving procedures to promote appropriate behaviors of all students. Although research has indicated that SWPBS is an empirically supported and effective intervention in reducing disruptive behaviors in most students, results have found that it is not as effective in students from historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups. Therefore, it is important that SWPBS be culturally responsive to the ethnic groups served at the school. Cultural responsiveness refers to using the knowledge of that culture or performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning more relevant and effective. The purpose of this article is to describe the details, implementation, and results of the first 5 years of the Mensch Project, a culturally responsive SWPBS implemented in an urban Jewish community day school. Cultural adaptations were successful in providing a structured social–emotional support system for the school.

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  • The Effects of the Mystery Motivator Intervention in an Urban Classroom

    By Amirah Beeks & Scott Graves Jr.

    pp. 142-156

    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this project was to examine the effect of the implementation of the Mystery Motivator intervention as an interdependent group contingency to decrease disruptive behavior in an urban eighth-grade general education science classroom. The study was conducted using an A-B changing criterion design. The effectiveness of the intervention was assessed for a 9-week period during which the frequency of the identified disruptive behavior decreased significantly. The teacher intervention acceptability data suggest that the teacher found the intervention to be acceptable. Data suggest that the Mystery Motivator intervention was effective for reducing targeted disruptive behaviors in an urban eighth-grade classroom. Limitations and implications for future research ideas are discussed.

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  • An Evaluation of Strong Kids in an Urban African American Female Sample: The Need for Gender-Specific and Culturally Focused Interventions

    By Alison Ryan, Scott Graves Jr., Adriana Sobalvarro, Kayla Nichols, Kerry Schutte, Candice Aston, Amanda Griffin

    pp. 157-164

    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a social–emotional learning curriculum, Strong Kids, for children at risk for begin referred for placement in emotional and behavioral support classrooms. Thirty-nine fourth- and fifth-grade students enrolled in an urban elementary school participated in the intervention. The results of this study indicated that females did not demonstrate any statistically significant or practical improvement on any scales as measured by the Social–Emotional Assets and Resilience Scales. Implications are discussed in terms of gender-specific interventions for African American populations.

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  • Challenges and Barriers to Implementing a School- Based Afrocentric Intervention in Urban Schools: A Pilot Study of the Sisters of Nia Cultural Program

    By Candice Aston & Scott Graves Jr.

    pp. 165-176

    ABSTRACT: There is growing evidence that African American females are facing an educational crisis in regard to disproportionate discipline practices. African American females are frequently confronted with deeply embedded negative stereotypes that reinforce racial and gender biases both inside and outside of the classroom. One of the known protective factors of combating negative stereotypes is developing a strong sense of self-identity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of implementing an 8-week Afrocentric intervention within a typical school day. The intervention for this study was based on the Sisters of Nia curriculum. The participants were five African American fifth-grade students. Results suggest a positive effect of the intervention for increasing racial identity, self-concept, and social strengths. Additionally, this study uncovered several barriers to implementation such as timing, available resources, and curriculum modifications. Practical solutions are discussed regarding the development and implementation of culturally focused intervention programs.

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  • Teacher–Child Interaction Training With an Urban Clinical Preschool Population

    By Kristen F. Schaffner, Kara E. McGoey, & Lindsey Venesky

    pp. 177-190

    ABSTRACT: The current study examined the impact of the relationship-enhancement phase of the Teacher–Child Interaction Training (TCIT) intervention on child behavior and teacher skill use within an urban therapeutic classroom milieu. Participants included four preschool children (mean age 4 years, 8 months) with clinical diagnoses attending a therapeutic preschool for children with emotional and behavioral needs. Direct observations of child and teacher behaviors were completed throughout the study. A single subject A-B design was conducted across subjects. Initial results suggest the relationship-enhancement strategies included in TCIT may positively influence the frequency of disruptive behaviors while improving prosocial behaviors, especially for children experiencing several risk factors and exhibiting markedly elevated behavioral excesses. Findings also suggest the intervention affected teachers’ use of the positive attention skills. This study provides initial support for the implementation of a relationship-based technique to support teachers in addressing the disruptive behaviors of children within an urban classroom environment.

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  • Extending Research on a Computer-Based Flashcard Reading Intervention to Postsecondary Students With Intellectual Disabilities

    By Samantha Cazzell, Brooke Browarnik, Amy Skinner, Christopher Skinner, David Cihak, Dennis Ciancio, Merilee McCurdy, & Bethany Forbes

    pp. 191-206

    ABSTRACT: A multiple-baseline across-students design was used to evaluate the effects of a computer-based flashcard reading (CFR) intervention, developed using MicrosoftPowerPoint software, on students’ ability to read health-related words within 3 seconds. The students were three adults with intellectual disabilities enrolled in a postsecondary college education program. Results support the effectiveness of CFR intervention for enhanced word reading in all students with average learning rates ranging from approximately one word acquired per 1.5 minutes of instruction to one word acquired per 2.5 minutes of instruction. Data collected 1 month after intervention procedures ceased showed that maintenance and generalization (i.e., ability to read words embedded within passages) varied across students, which supported previous findings conducted with younger children and easier words. Discussion focuses on directions for future research and applications to postsecondary education.

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  • The Use of Video Self-Modeling and Peer Training to Increase Social Engagement in Preschool Children on the Autism Spectrum

    By Scott Bellini, Lauren Gardner, Rebekah Hudock, & Yuri Kashima-Ellingson

    pp. 207-219

    ABSTRACT: Impairments in social functioning are common in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and can create great difficulties in the life of an individual on the autism spectrum. Social skill deficits increase the likelihood of children experiencing social failure, peer rejection, and isolation, leaving them vulnerable to developing anxiety, depression, and other forms of psychopathology. The present study expands previous research addressing deficits in social functioning, through the implementation of a video self-modeling (VSM) procedure and a brief peer-training intervention. The VSM-only phase led to rapid and marked increases in social engagement for all three preschoolaged children with ASD. The addition of a peer-training intervention did not lead to improvements in social engagement when compared to the VSM-only phase. The findings are discussed within the context of previous research, and suggestions for future research and implications for school psychologists and other school personnel are provided.

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  • Children With Diagnoses of Cleft Lip and/or Palate: What School Psychologists Need to Know

    By Eva Aleksandra Kowalewicz, Ashley Etzel Ausikaitis, & Kathleen A. Kapp-Simon

    pp. 220-231

    ABSTRACT: This article presents a review of the literature on orofacial clefting in children. The authors review the etiology, prevalence, and variations of clefting as well as issues related to neuropsychological, social, academic, emotional, and behavioral functioning of children with clefts. Finally, the authors discuss the implications for schoolpsychologists advocating for children with clefts and their families and make researchbased recommendations for serving children with clefts in schools.

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  • Errata Volume 10, Number 1

    p. 232

    In the article by Parris, LaSalle, Varjas, and Meyers entitled, "Introduction to the Special Issue: Improving Student Outcomes: Research on School Climate and Violence Prevention and Intervention" The text refers to "criminal sexual exploitation of children" in the abstract. It should read "commercial sexual exploitation of children."Articles by La Salle, Parris, Morin, and Meyers entitled, "Deconstructing Peer Victimization: Relationships With Connectedness, Gender, Grade, and Race/Ethnicity" and by La Salle, Zabek, and Meyers entitled, "Elementary Student Perceptions of School Climate and Associations With Individual and School Factors" require the following acknowledgements: The work on both of these articles was completed in collaboration with Marilyn Watson, Jeffrey Hodges, and Garry McGibbony from the Georgia Department of Education.The professional affiliation of David Parker, coauthor of the article entitled, "Comparing Assessment Approaches for Use With Brief Experimental Analysis" is ServeMinnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

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