Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Dana Edwards

Second Advisor

Fran Mullis

Third Advisor

Joel Meyers

Fourth Advisor

Benjamin Baez

Fifth Advisor

JoAnna White

Abstract

Dropout rates, acts of aggression, depressed youth, and underachievement are difficulties schools are trying to alleviate (Digest of Educational Statistics, 2002; Reynolds, as cited in Dalley, 1993; Kessler, as cited in Neal, 2003; Poli et al., 2003). Because of these challenges, schools are seeking positive change that can address these issues. Researchers have found that successful solutions to these problems are multi-dimensional and comprehensive in approach (Elias, Zins, Graczyk, & Whispered, 2003; Eisenberg, Neumark-Sztainer & Perry, 2003). Such components as classroom meetings and social skills/problem solving skills training are important contributors to a comprehensive approach (Edwards & Mullis, 2004; Peterson, Pietrzak, & Speaker, 2998; Arriaza, 2004). This qualitative study consisted of 9 educators interviewed for the purpose of gathering their perceptions about the implementation process of Second Step at their 2 schools. Interviews lasted between 45 and 60 minutes each. The results found 8 interacting themes that affect the implementation process. These themes are: rationale, staff training, teacher ownership, teacher characteristics, administrative support, simultaneous changes, staff relationships, and time. Using Chen's conceptual model of the implementation process, these themes fall into 3 domains (Chen, 1998). These domains are: Implementation System, Characteristics of the Implementer, and Setting Characteristics. In general, I found that in order to increase one's chance of successful implementation of a social skills/violence prevention curriculum, these things need to be considered: (1) timing of the implementation, (2) administrative support available, (3) supportive peer staff training, (4) collaboration between program coordinators, and (5) regularly planned staff bonding activities to encourage trust and cooperation.

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