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Duane M Isava, PhD, NCSP Anne Arundel County Public Schools

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1 Duane M Isava, PhD, NCSP Anne Arundel County Public Schools
STRONG KIDS Programs Promoting Children Mental Health Through Social and Emotional Learning Strong Kids Program was developed by the Oregon Resiliency Project. The Oregon Resiliency Project (ORP) is a research, training, and outreach effort aimed at promoting social and emotional learning, researching coping and resiliency skills, and preventing depression, anxiety, and related concerns among children and youth in school settings. ORP is directed by Dr. Ken Merrell, professor of school psychology at the University of Oregon. The ORP team includes Dr. Merrell, several graduate students from the UO College of Education, and our partners in public schools and mental health agencies. Develop, research, and disseminate Strong Kids prevention and intervention curricula Research on relational aggression, bullying in schools and society at-large Instructor in-service training on youths with social-emotional problems Information clearinghouse for promoting social and emotional resilience in children and adolescents Primary mission of schools- Promote academic skills Broader mission- develop character, social competence, and healthy lifestyles Duane M Isava, PhD, NCSP Anne Arundel County Public Schools July 14, 2009 1

2 Mental Health Problems
MENTAL HEALTH CONTINUM The goal for this slide is to get at the notion that mental health and mental illness are not categorically different, but rather are at opposite ends of the same continuum. Mental Health Productive in activities, maintains fulfilling relationships, possesses ability to adapt and cope Mental Health Problems Distressing symptoms, but insufficient intensity or duration to meet the criteria for any mental disorder Mental Illness Diagnosable disorder; alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior associated; impaired functioning

3 The Challenge Student-professional ratios are exceedingly high
Percentage of students “at-risk” continues to increase Many individually-delivered interventions have strong empirical support but… We have heard the big words but… 1 counselor/psychologist, or other specialty for every students. Number 1 problem- Behavior Emotional, social and behavioral challenges for school personnel is becoming more frequent and severe. Increased risk for high rates of school dropout and incarceration, along with unemployment and lower rates of postsecondary school attendance. Effect size for individual interventions have not increased substantially in decades. Intervention efficacy appears to have reached a plateau and must therefore switch to alternative treatment forms. We have been exposed to words like wrap around approach, problem solving model of service delivery, evidence-based interventions, proactive approach, strengths-based approach, etc. BUT where are the interventions strategies, manuals, curriculums, and system to put them in place? There is limited concrete direction for us to turn towards when working with students. 3

4 Most programs offered are reactive: (Nelson & Colvin, 1996).
Crisis intervention Counseling to reduce the severity of the problems In schools, one of our primary roles which consumes us is putting out fires. “Our typical approach of solving problems one student at a time will not be successful in impacting the big problems of illiteracy, technological and mathematics deficiencies, writing, and problem-solving for academic skill development. The need to build academic competence and resilience among future generations of children through early intervention and prevention programs should become a key component of…practice” 4

5 What is Social Emotional Learning?
Systematic efforts to enhance social and emotional competence, promote interpersonal and emotional adjustment, using effective curricula A foundation for academic success: students with social-emotional deficits are more likely to experience school failure SEL: Systematic efforts to enhance social and emotional competence, promote interpersonal and emotional adjustment, using effective curricula. Example- talk about the identical twins who came from same dysfunctional background (deceased mother, substance abusing father, poverty, living in a decrepit trailer, no supports but yet one child did well while the other was in a “mess”. 5

6 SEL Promotes Success for All Students
Supports pupil’s mastery of academic skills Nurtures their emotional life Teaches them how to get along well with others and make responsible decisions Provides them with a strong moral compass Promotes concern for others Promotes self-determination, self-esteem, problem-solving skills, and positive attitudes. 6

7 From the New York Times: Academic Benefits of SEL
An average student enrolled in a social and emotional learning program ranks at least 10 percentile points higher on achievement tests, has better attendance and classroom behavior, likes school more, has better grades, and is less likely to be disciplined. Source: August, 2005 New York Times article by Weissberg and Shriver, based on research by Weissberg and Durlak (

8 Universal- Mental health prevention or skills training unit in classes
Intervention Intensity Categories within a Three-Tiered Prevention Model Recent model in education helps shape this refocus on roles. Adaptable across a variety of educational concerns and ties it nicely into the service delivery model for PBIS. Models helps define appropriate services for all students. Universal- Mental health prevention or skills training unit in classes Selected- Specialized behavioral interventions and management strategies within groups Individual- Intense social, academic, and behavioral skills training

9 It is included to illustrate the idea that much of what we take for granted in terms of academic and social-emotional instruction is not natural to all people; we need to think about social and emotional skills development the same way we think about academics: explicit instruction is needed.

10 About the Strong Kids Programs
Semi-scripted, social-emotional learning curricula: prevention/intervention of emotional problems and promotion of resilience Developmentally appropriate Practical and easy to use- wide range of appropriate settings, purposes, and leaders Brief: lessons, minutes each Empirically-based & built on principles of instruction Based on the premise that social-emotional skills must be specifically taught and learned, just like academic skills The Strong Kids programs are brief and practical social-emotional learning curricula designed for teaching social and emotional skills, promoting resilience, strengthening assets, and increasing coping skills of children and adolescents. Developed by researchers at the University of Oregon, these programs are developmentally appropriate and span the K-12 age range: Strong Start is for use with students in grades K-2, Strong Kids is designed for students in grades 3-8, and includes versions for both elementary and middle school students; Strong Teens is designed for use with high school age students, those in grades These evidence-based programs are designed to be used for wellness promotion, prevention, and early intervention, and have a wide range of applications. The Strong Kids programs may be used effectively with high functioning, typical, and at-risk youths, as well as students with behavioral and emotionally disorders, in a variety of settings. They may also be adapted and modified for use with specific cultural groups. Use the navigation links in the left column to learn more and locate useful resources. 10

11 Lesson Organization Materials needed Purpose and Objectives
Review previous lesson Introduce new lesson Vocabulary Practice Application Closure Homework handout Based on an instructional approach to lesson planning. Consistent across chapters. Resiliency: is a quality that facilitates an individual to recover psychologically from exposure to environmental stressors that are considered risk factors. These risk factors may be associated with negative outcomes such as depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, physical symptoms, poor self-esteem, and so forth. Emotionally resilient individuals have better tools needed to cope with life's stressors. They also are more likely to be socially and academically successful, and have less risk of developing mental illness and behavior disorders. Resilient individuals typically have strong problem-solving skills, optimistic expectations, goal attaining skills, and a healthy level of positive activities. Example- talk about the identical twins who came from same dysfunctional background (deceased mother, substance abusing father, poverty, living in a decrepit trailer, no supports but yet one child did well while the other was in a “mess”. 11

12 LESSON 1: Introduction Introductory lesson Administer pre-test
Explains purpose, rules Key Concepts Makes curriculum relevant to students Introduces emotional strength training 4. Such as what is anxiety, stress, self-esteem, etc. 5. Why it is important to behave, have a healthy mind and attitude, etc. 12

13 Lesson 2: Understanding Your Feelings (Part 1)
Focuses on identifying and understanding emotions Trains how to think about emotions Define emotions- comfortable or uncomfortable Fun-word activity Scenarios

14 LESSON 3: Understanding Your Feelings (Part 1)
Expressing feelings appropriately All feelings are valid All emotions are “normal” How context influences expressing emotions Guided discussion

15 LESSON 4: Dealing with Anger
Define anger and relevance of anger Anger vs. aggression Anger model Identify steps for delaying impulsive anger reactions Appropriate ways to express anger 1. Extension of emotional education 15

16 LESSON 5: Understanding Other People’s Feelings
Based on principles of empathy training Learn to identify feelings and perspective of others Considers body language and facial expressions Role playing scenarios

17 LESSON 6: Clear Thinking (Part 2)
Principles of cognitive restructuring, cognitive therapy Teaches students to become aware of their thinking and reasoning Six thinking errors Assigning values to emotions Determining the level of the emotion

18 Six Common Thinking Errors
Supplement 6.2 Six Common Thinking Errors Binocular vision: looking at things in a way that makes them seem bigger or smaller than they really are. Black-and-white thinking: looking at things in only extreme or opposite ways. For example, thinking of things as being good or bad, never or always, all or none. Dark glasses: thinking about only the negative parts of things. Fortune-telling: making predictions about what will happen in the future without enough evidence. Making it personal: blaming yourself for things that are not your fault. Blame game: blaming others for things you should take responsibility for.

19 Situations and Thinking Errors
Supplement 6.3 Situations and Thinking Errors 1. Dakota’s parents are getting a divorce. He thinks that this is all his fault because he has been getting into trouble lately. 2. Marcella’s teacher suggested that she run for class president. She decided not to run because she knew that no one would vote for her. 3. Farah got a bad grade on her spelling test. Now she thinks that she is the worst student in the class. 4. Ahmad’s soccer coach gave him a lot of praise and encouragement in soccer practice. As Ahmad was leaving practice, the coach mentioned that Ahmad should practice his dribbling skills at home. Ahmad was upset about how poorly he played at practice. 5. Ling was grounded for not doing her chores. She thought to herself, “I am always the bad kid. My sister Kimmy is always the good kid.” 6. Latisha got in trouble from her parents for taking grape juice into the living room. Her brother bumped into her and the grape juice spilled all over the floor and stained the carpet. Her parents told her she had to clean it up because they had told her not to take the grape juice out of the kitchen. Latisha felt that her brother should be the one to clean it up.

20 LESSON 7: Clear Thinking (Part 2)
Demonstrates techniques to challenge and change negative, irrational, maladaptive thoughts, and beliefs Reframing thinking errors Re-labeling thinking errors

21 LESSON 8:The Power of Positive Thinking
Identifies negative thoughts and thinking patterns Tells how to replace them with more realistic positive thoughts Optimism defined Learned optimism training: ABCDE plan for optimism Locus of control training

22 LESSON 9: Solving People Problems
Steps for interpersonal problem-solving Identify problem/ Brainstorm solutions Choose one Agree Conflict defined Practice “problem” scenarios

23 Lesson 10: Letting Go of Stress
Teaches self-awareness of stress levels Defines and identifies physical and mental signs of stress Active and passive methods of relaxation: 1. Slow breathing 2. Muscle relaxation Techniques for dealing with tension: 1. Talking to friends 2. Facing your fears 23

24 Lesson 11: Achieving Your Goals
How to set and attain goals Focuses on increasing engagement in positive activities Recognize that defining personal values are important for goal setting Shows a link between being active and having a healthy mood

25 Lesson 12: Finishing Up! Review and re-teach where needed
Closure activities and education on what to do if more help is need Optional post-testing There is a 6 week follow-up/booster session. The Pre-testing and Post testing is available on-line at the ORP website. 25

26 Teaching Strategies Do as I say and no one gets hurt! Read …… we teach
If a child does not know how to: Read …… we teach Swim …… we teach Count …… we teach Behave …… we punish Do as I say and no one gets hurt! 26

27 Teaching Strategies Class is mandatory Incentives
Build a consensus and partnership Familiarity of the students Class expectations Tag teaming Splitting the lesson Instructor models first Generalizing beyond class Penalty for not attending for high risk students. Homework completion, in-class participation, demonstrating skills outside of class, etc. Get some background on each student to help shape lectures, pacing, examples, role modeling, etc. Work with students to establish 2 expectations from you and 2 from the students. Team approach- You do a piece and then switch to discipline and compliance monitor while co-facilitator switches to teaching a piece and then to compliance monitor. Break lessons into 2 30 minutes sections if time constraint or developmental ability is low. You model inappropriate behavior, never the student. They model the appropriate behaviors from your lead/direction. Inform others so that they can SR+ students and provide feedback. May use a survey form. 27

28 Researched in the following settings:
General education classrooms (prevention) (British Columbia, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin, and Illinois) Pull-out program for at-risk students (early intervention) (Oregon and Utah) Special education ED/BD classrooms (Illinois) Residential treatment/day treatment settings (Kansas) The evidence is encouraging: All studies have shown meaningful changes in students’ knowledge of healthy social-emotional behavior All studies have produced strong user satisfaction and social validity Some studies have shown significant improvements in student affect, reductions in problems Minimal cost and time commitment, and strong user satisfaction Is it Effective?

29 Information and Supports
For more information: For Technical Support: Dr. Duane Isava- Dr. Kenneth Merrell- CONSIDER: A weaker intervention applied universally may help more people than a stronger intervention applied to only targeted group

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