Program Goals/Target Population
The Rural Education Achievement Project (REAP) was a multilevel prevention program, designed to place fourth graders in three different programs that teach competencies and skills as a technique to prevent later negative outcomes based on students’ level of assessed risk. Each of the three different programs consisted of curricula based on behavior, academic and social competencies, and self-esteem. The goal of REAP was to disrupt the development of potential adverse adolescent and adult outcomes. Adverse outcomes included substance abuse, involvement in the criminal justice system, and mental health issues. The purpose of the multilevel approach of REAP was to target individual and group needs instead of implementing an all-encompassing universal program.
Program Activities/Key Personnel
REAP was comprised of three different programs designed to prevent adverse behavioral outcomes by teaching positive behaviors to children in the fourth grade and their parents. The goal of targetting children at a young age is to eliminate or lessen the opportunity for poor character in adolescence and adulthood.
The first program level, ALL Stars Jr., was a character education and problem behavior prevention program. The concept of ALL Stars Jr. was to draw from an individual’s lifestyle, aspirations, social background, and other existing ideals that are likely to be incongruent with high-risk behaviors, and build or strengthen that perception in the student. The second level, Gearing Up to Success (GUTS), included the ALL Stars Jr. program curricula. GUTS was a selected 6-week protocol-driven, school-based program designed to strengthen academic and social competencies and self-esteem. Lastly, the third level included the Duke Family Coping Power Program, and brought parents of at-risk students together into an educational setting. The content was derived from Social Cognitive Theory, and provided parents with the skills to deal with various aspects of child aggression. The program also included sessions on stress management.
ALL Stars Jr., was taught by the students’ fourth-grade teachers who received direct training by the developer of the program. GUTS was taught by both fourth- and fifth-grade teachers who were recruited as instructors/camp leaders. Additionally, college age mentors were trained to assist in academic sessions, camp activities (camp-like setting where activities occur in summer), and serve as role models for social behavior and self-regulation. The Family Coping Power Program was led by a project staff member. Group meetings were held in community settings (i.e. community center, church fellowship hall, cultural center) and transportation was provided to ensure attendance.
9 to 11
Findings for academic achievement suggested that participants in the Duke Family Coping Power program and the summer condition [which included the ALL Stars Jr., Gearing Up to Success (GUTS), and the Duke Family Coping Power programs] were more successful than participants who only received the ALL Stars Jr. program. However, this was only true for control conditions in scores on a test of mathematics. Participants in the family and summer camp programs showed significantly higher levels of measured school bonding. Analysis revealed that family and summer conditions made significant improvements in social bonding over time. ALL Stars Jr. and control conditions made no improvements.
Results for self-regulation indicated that the summer camp and ALL Stars Jr. programs had significant effects in decreasing externalizing behaviors.
The results for social competence indicated that the family condition had lower baseline levels of social competence than the other conditions had. No significant differences were found between the groups at follow-up.
Parenting program results suggested that the family condition had significant increases in the number of activities between parents and children.