Evaluation of an Urban School-Based Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Health Professional Development and Consultation Model

May 21, 2020

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Social, emotional, and behavioral health challenges pose significant barriers to students’ academic success, yet teachers report that they do not feel equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to address these challenges in their classrooms.

An article in a recent issue of the journal Children & Schools, published by NASW and Oxford University Press, discusses techniques designed to address these challenges.

This article presents findings associated with the effectiveness of an innovative school-based behavioral health professional development and consultation model designed to address this need for urban educators. Program evaluation results from school-based team members from five pilot schools over a two-year partnership period indicate that this model is highly used and valued by school staff, as well as perceived by school staff as effective in building the knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy to implement strategies and build systems in schools to address students’ social, emotional, and behavioral health needs.

Progress monitoring data suggests that this learning is translating to actual systemic change in schools based on school-based team members’ reports of progress toward goals specific to the behavioral health systems, procedures, and protocols at their schools.

The findings highlight the implications for school-based consultants and practitioners based on the promise of this model.

Study authors:

Amy J. Kaye, PhD, and Vanja Pejic, PhD, are staff psychologists; Molly Jordan, LICSW, is training and access project manager; Kristine M. Dennery, PhD, LICSW, is program director; and David R. DeMaso, MD, is psychiatrist-in-chief, Boston Children’s Hospital. Address correspondence to Amy Kaye, Boston Children’s Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, BCH-3174, Boston, MA 02115; e-mail: amy.kaye@childrens.harvard.edu. The program described in this article has been working in partnership with a large urban school district for the last 16 years. It has a team of 21 staff including social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and research data coordinators. The program is housed in an academic medical center and is funded by a variety of sources including philanthropy (individual, corporate, and foundation donors), the partnering school district, and a community health office affiliated with the medical center. The project described in the article is funded by the Gloria and Charles Clough Foundation.


The journal Social Work is a benefit of NASW membership. It is available online or, at a member’s request, in print. Children & Schools, Health & Social Work and Social Work Research are available by subscription at a discounted rate for NASW members, either online or in print. You can find out more about the journals and subscriptions at this link.

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