Enhancing Outcomes of an Evidence-based Social-Emotional Program with a School Support Model

Duration: 2014 - 2019
Funding: U.S. Department of Education
Principal Investigator: Mark T. Greenberg
Partners: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL); American Institutes for Research (AIR)

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Students, particularly in disadvantaged schools, must be taught foundational skills in learning environments that help them engage productively in their schoolwork, build healthy relationships with teachers and peers, and plan for a successful future because many enter school without the skills and dispositions to be successful. Nurturing social-emotional learning skills and positive peer and student-teacher relationships is a pathway to higher achievement for students in low-performing schools essential to academic achievement and school success.

This project, which was a partnership among the Penn State Prevention Research Center, CASEL, and AIR, involved an implementation in the Chicago School District of an SEL program that combines PATHS with CASEL’s SchoolKit to see if this combination would turn around persistently low-performing schools and the academic performance of children who attend them. 

It was our hope that the support provided by use of the SchoolKit (a novel, school-wide intervention for maximizing the effectiveness of SEL programs) and by testing its impact would enhance the implementation quality of the PATHS curriculum. We also expected that the SchoolKit intervention would create coordinated, school-wide SEL programming for elementary students that is more effective in improving student “non-cognitive” and academic outcomes than standard PATHS implementation, which is primarily a classroom-focused approach to SEL promotion.

Findings from this study will contribute to scientific knowledge and expand what is known about evidence-based SEL practice in schools. It will ultimately serve substantially larger numbers of students by validating a replicable, school-wide model for maximizing the effect of evidence-based universal SEL programs. Although classroom-based SEL programs can enhance students’ persistence, engagement, mental health, and academic performance, a coordinated, more comprehensive approach that combines classroom-based SEL with school-wide components will be a more effective strategy.

Project Team


Supporting systemic social and emotional learning with a schoolwide implementation model

Meyers, D. C., Domitrovich, C. E., Dissi, R., Trejo, J., & Greenberg, M. T. (2019). Supporting systemic social and emotional learning with a schoolwide implementation model. Evaluation and Program Planning, 73, 53-61.