Families and Schools Together: An experimental analysis of a parent-mediated multi-family group program for American Indian children.

4/11/19

The goals of this randomized intervention study were to: (a) increase academic performance among American Indian children ages 4-9 years and (b) reduce classroom problem behaviors. To achieve these goals, the multi-family group program called Families and Schools Together (FAST) was adapted with three American Indian Nations in Wisconsin. Over 3 years, seven multi-family group cycles of FAST were implemented, each lasting 8 weeks. In collaboration with the College of Menominee Nation, this parent intervention approach was adapted to express tribal values while maintaining its core components. Fifty pairs of universally recruited American Indian students at three schools who were assessed, matched on five variables, and then randomly assigned to either the FAST or non-FAST control condition. Pretest, posttest, and 9- to 12-month follow-up data were collected by American Indian staff and university students on multiple indicators of academic and behavioral performance. Of the 50 families that attended FAST meetings at least once, 40 graduated (80%) from the 7 FAST cycles. On the immediate posttest, statistically significant differences in improvement, favoring FAST participants were found on the Aggressive Behavior scale of the teacher-rated Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and on the parent-rated Withdrawn scale of the same instrument. On the 1-year follow-up assessment, parent CBCL ratings indicated that FAST students had maintained their less withdrawn status and teacher ratings on the Social Skills Rating Scale (SSRS) revealed that FAST participants had exhibited relatively greater improvement in their academic competence. Parent surveys of the graduated students generally showed satisfaction with the program. Implications of the present results and future research directions are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

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Kratochwill, Thomas R.; McDonald, Lynn; Levin, Joel R.; Bear-Tibbetts, Holly Young; Demaray, Michelle K.