Mary Miller – Toole County BG
An assessment with our Toole County school administrators found that a curriculum was needed to serve as a possible platform for Lunch and Learns for 5th through 8th grade students, in two area school districts. We searched for a curriculum that was Evidenced-Based providing tools and training to motivate students and help them to build resilience.
Through our strong partnership with the Toole County MSU Extension Office, the Toole County Extension Agent and Toole County Alliance for Youth went online reviewing EB Curriculums and those that we felt would be most promising and cost effective. We realized that the curriculum that best addressed our Risk and Protective Factors was not on the list of Approved Evidence Based Programs provided by the State, but that we had an opportunity to send it to the Evidence-based Work Group (EBWG) for approval, since all research found it “Promising”.
As a group, we were tasked with reviewing the Research Summaries and the data available from the individual teaching modules, ensuring that the program addressed the following:
- Increased Academic Performance (GPA)
- Improving Self-Esteem and Creating a positive outlook towards the future
- Improved Self Control-Less Behavior Problems
- Conduct Disorders
- Classroom Engagement
- Locus of Control
- Relationships with teachers and fellow students
Sending this program to the EBWG was a learning experience. You learn what the actual requirements for an EB Curriculum have to be to meet the criteria and be effective within your school districts and work closely with the Risk and Protective Factors from our PNA Data. I found that by submitting the curriculum and working with each section of the form, I was learning more about my local Logic Model. Completing this process provided hands-on learning into the criteria for curriculums to be considered Evidence-Based and how the data to submit on the form pulls the curriculum together to meet the criteria of Promising for approval.
This process took a lot of time, thought, and research, but the outcome is well worth it, and one never knows, if one never tries. I could not have completed this project without the help of my TAs and their knowledge and proficiency at their jobs.
Toole County is also planning to use this curriculum for our 2021 Health Rocks Camp, which will serve 30 youth from our area, so our efforts will see multiple rewards.