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ParentCorps

Blueprints Program Rating: Model

A family-centered intervention that is delivered as an enhancement to pre-kindergarten programs serving children living in low-income neighborhoods. It helps the important adults in young children’s lives — parents and teachers — build a strong early foundation that gives children living under stressful conditions the greatest opportunity for healthy development.

Program Outcomes

  • Academic Performance
  • Externalizing
  • Internalizing

Program Type

  • Parent Training
  • School - Individual Strategies
  • Teacher Training

Program Setting

  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Universal Prevention (Entire Population)

Age

  • Early Childhood (3-4) - Preschool

Gender

  • Male and Female

Endorsements

  • Blueprints: Model
  • SAMHSA: 3.2-3.6

Program Information Contact

Laurie Miller Brotman
Director, Center for Early Childhood Health and Development
Department of Population Health
New York University Langone Health
227 E. 30th Street
New York City, NY 10016
Email: laurie.brotman@nyumc.org

Program Developer/Owner

  • Laurie Miller Brotman
  • New York University Langone Health

Brief Description of the Program

ParentCorps is an evidence-based intervention that enhances Pre-K programs in schools and early education centers serving primarily children of color from low-income communities. It helps the important adults in children’s lives — parents and teachers — to create safe, nurturing and predictable environments at home and in the classroom and improves relationships and communication between parents and teachers. ParentCorps includes three main components: professional learning for leaders, teachers, mental health professionals and parent support staff, parenting program for families of pre-k students, and social emotional learning classroom curriculum for pre-k students.

See: Full Description

Outcomes

In Study 1 (Brotman et al., 2011) at posttest, compared to the control group, participants in the intervention group scored significantly better on:

  • Effective parenting practices
  • Child behavior problems composite (internalizing, externalizing, and overall adaptive behavior)

In Study 2 (Brotman et al., 2013; Dawson-McClure et al., 2015; Brotman et al., 2016), compared to the control group, participants in the intervention group:

  • Scored significantly higher on independent academic achievement tests and teacher-rated academic performance at the end of kindergarten, with a sustained effect on academic achievement rated by teachers at 8 years of age
  • Had significantly higher parent and teacher-rated effective parenting practices at the end of kindergarten
  • Showed significantly less child internalizing and externalizing problems at two-year follow-up (age 8)

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Family: Poor family management*
Protective Factors
  • Family: Non-violent discipline*, Parental involvement in education*

*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program.

See also: ParentCorps Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

ParentCorps includes three key components: 1) Professional Learning, Program Training and Coaching; 2) Program for Parents of Pre-K Students; and 3) Program for Pre-K Students. The three intervention components (described below) are expected to synergistically strengthen family engagement and help teachers and parents to provide environments that are safe, nurturing and predictable to ensure that all students develop the self-regulation skills that are foundational for learning.

Professional Learning is provided to support four primary user groups within the school community: 1) School Leader responsible for oversight of all; 2) Pre-K Teachers & Teaching Assistants to deliver student program; 3) Mental Health Professionals to deliver parenting program; and 4) Parent Support Staff to engage parents in program. Professional Learning aims to advance knowledge, beliefs and skills among all users to improve specific aspects of the school environment and prepare users to implement and sustain the Programs for Parents and Pre-K Students with fidelity and high levels of exposure/participation.

Professional Learning, Training and Coaching are intended to promote knowledge, beliefs and skills necessary for sustained behavior change through intentionally sequenced group and individualized experiences, with a “spirit” of explicitly valuing collaboration and supporting autonomy. This includes three elements:

1) ParentCorps FUNdamentals is a series of large-group experiential days for all user groups which takes place in the first summer prior to implementation. Leaders participate in a 2-day FUNdamentals series with leaders from other sites. All other facilitators participate in a 4-day series (in small groups of 10-12 within sites, or of approximately 25 – 40 participants from across schools) aimed at creating a shared understanding of influences on school readiness and the rationale and evidence for ParentCorps components, and motivating participants to use evidence-based practices to engage families and create nurturing and predictable classrooms (e.g., creating responsive interactions, scaffolding and reinforcing new skills, and consistent routines, rules and consequences). In a safe and supportive setting, facilitators are asked to reflect on their assumptions (positive and negative) about parents and students and to connect those assumptions to their current practices and ability to help children learn and succeed.

ParentCorps FUNdamentals by User Group:

  • School Leader: 2 days
  • Pre-K Teachers & Teaching Assistants: 4 days
  • Mental Health Professionals: 4 days
  • Parent Support Staff: 4 days

2) Program Training is a group-based series to prepare facilitators to implement Programs with fidelity and to ensure high levels of exposure by parents and students. Mental health professionals are supported to facilitate the Parenting Program with fidelity. Pre-K teachers and assistants are supported to implement the Program for Students in the classroom. In addition, early childhood staff (including Kindergarten teachers as needed) is trained to facilitate the Program for Students during after-school hours in parallel with the Parenting Program. All users receive training on engaging parents to participate.

Program Training by User Group:

  • School Leader: N/A
  • Pre-K Teachers & Teaching Assistants: 1 day
  • Mental Health Professionals: 3 days
  • Parent Support Staff: 1 day

3) Coaching is one-on-one support provided in-vivo and from a distance (phone, text, email) to help users apply evidence-based practices in daily interactions with students and parents, and to support high levels of implementation fidelity and exposure. Recent research on Professional Learning and implementation fidelity (Diamond et al., 2013; Domitrovich et al., 2009; Lundahl et al., 2010; Pianta et al., 2008; Sheridan et al., 2009) underscores that early childhood teachers require a substantial amount of training, in-vivo coaching and ongoing support to meaningfully alter their behavior. During the first series (over 14 weeks in the Fall), all Pre-Kindergarten teachers, and the mental health professionals facilitating the Parenting Program, receive up to four coaching visits which include observations of the 2-hour program session and 10 30-minute calls for the remaining sessions. Coaching with school leaders and other key personnel supports their oversight and planning, especially to ensure high levels of exposure (e.g., allocating time for teachers to participate in Coaching, directing mental health professionals and parent support staff to follow protocols for engaging parents in the Program).

Coaching by User Group:

  • School Leader: monthly meetings
  • Pre-K Teachers & Teaching Assistants: 3-4 visits + 10 calls (30-45 minutes)
  • Mental Health Professionals: 3-4 visits + 10 calls (30-45 minutes)
  • Parent Support Staff: 30 minutes/week

Fidelity and exposure are monitored throughout coaching. All implementation supports are accessed through a single software platform called iParentCorps. Each school-based user accesses iParentCorps with his/her own user name and password to gain access to all manuals and links to provide feedback to coaches on the implementation process (i.e., exposure, fidelity, quality of implementation, request for implementation supports). This allows coaches to review data in real time and provide tailored, data-informed coaching.

ParentCorps implementation processes and materials were developed based on extensive implementation experiences, adult learning principles, and research on professional learning strategies that support sustained behavior change (Lundahl et al., 2010; Porter et al., 2000; Sheridan et al., 2009; Smylie, 1988; Snyder et al., 2012, Taylor, 2008; Whitaker et al., 2007). Materials for all components (e.g., DVD for Parenting Program, Toolkits for Teachers, Guide for Parents, Music CD for Classrooms) reflect a collaborative spirit; user-friendly manuals articulate content and process elements; and the consistency of materials across the components eases delivery and bolsters fidelity. All necessary materials and protocols for implementation are fully developed and well-tested, and available in English and Spanish (some materials are also available in other languages).

ParentCorps 101 E-learning is a self-paced interactive web-based series with 7 modules intended to help users build confidence and mastery of evidence-based practices. Users are encouraged to complete the series in the Fall of the first school year of implementation.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

The initial study (Brotman et al., 2011) tested the program’s impacts on parenting practices and child behavioral problems in a cluster randomized controlled trial of eight public schools in New York City. The schools were randomized into intervention (n=4) or control (n=4) conditions. Two cohorts of Pre-K students with English-speaking parents were recruited, yielding 171 participating families. Assessments occurred at baseline (fall semester prior to program initiation) and posttest in late spring of the same academic year, with 5% of families lost to attrition.

Study 2 (Brotman et al., 2013; Dawson-McClure et al., 2015; Brotman et al., 2016) was a cluster randomized controlled trial of ten public schools located in disadvantaged neighborhoods in New York City. The schools were matched on size and then randomized into either intervention or control conditions. Four consecutive years of pre-kindergarteners were studied for a total of 1050 participating children. Assessments occurred at baseline (fall semester prior to program initiation), in late spring of the same academic year and at the end of the kindergarten school year. The latter three of four cohorts were followed through the end of second grade.

References

Brotman, L. M., Calzada, E., Huang, K., Kingston, S., Dawson-McClure, S., Kamboukos, D., . . . Petkova, E. (2011). Promoting effective parenting practices and preventing child behavior problems in school among ethnically diverse families from underserved, urban communities. Child Development, 82(1), 258-276.

Brotman, L. M., Dawson-McClure, S., Calzada, E. J., Huang, K., Kamboukos, D., Palamar, J. J., & Petkova, E. (2013). Cluster (school) RCT of ParentCorps: Impact on kindergarten academic achievement. Pediatrics, 131(5), 1521-1529.

Brotman, L. M., Dawson-McClure, S., Kamboukos, D., Huang, K., Calzada, E., Goldfeld, K., & Petkova, E. (2016). Effects of ParentCorps in prekindergarten on child mental health and academic performance: Follow-up of a randomized clinical trial through 8 years of age. Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, 170(12), 1149-1155.

Dawson-McClure, S., Calzada, E., Huang, K., Kamboukos, D., Rhule, D., Kolawole, B., . . . Brotman, L. M. (2015). A population-level approach to promoting healthy child development and school success in low-income, urban neighborhoods: Impact on parenting and child conduct problems. Prevention Science, 16(2), 279-290.