Validation of Intervention Selection Profile (ISP)

The overarching purpose of this project is to support the development and validation of the Intervention Selection Profile (ISP), a suite of brief problem identification tools. For students in need of Tier 2 support, the ISP will allow educators to quickly and easily collect data indicative of each student’s concerns, including the function of problem behaviors and deficits in positive skills. Results can then be used in selecting and adapting appropriate interventions.

SMHC Researchers: Stephen Kilgus (Principal Investigator), Nathaniel von der Embse, & Katie Eklund

Research Partners: Wes Bonifay, Dan Maggin, & Chris Riley-Tillman

Research Funding: Institute of Education Sciences (R305A170284) & Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP)

Development and Evaluation of Teachers and Parents as Partners (TAPP) for Middle School Students

TAPP is a family-school partnership intervention designed to support middle school students with or at risk for social behavior problems. TAPP is grounded in the problem-solving model, which includes a scope and sequence designed to identify pivotal social behavior concerns, design and implement behavior support plans at home and at school, strengthen the home-school connection, and build parent and teacher knowledge and skills in evidence-based practices. Find out more on the TAPP Facebook page here.

SMHC Researcher: Andy Garbacz (Principal Investigator)

Research Partners: Tom Kratochwill, Randy Kamphaus, John Seeley, & Beth Stormshak

Research Funding: Institute of Education Sciences (R324B160043

Project SMARTS

Project S.M.A.R.T.S. (School Mental health Assessment, Response, and Training for Suicide prevention) is a project focused on facilitating youth suicide prevention and early intervention strategies through a multi-system and interconnected approach across multiple delivery systems foryouth10-24. Project staff will provide training to school-based personnel and community professional across multiple school districts.

SMHC Researcher: Nathaniel von der Embse

Research Partners: Marc Karver, Kim Gyrlewicz

Research Funding: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Project S.T.A.R.S.

Project S.T.A.R.S. (Scholars in Teaching, Applied Research and Service) is a multi-site partnership between the doctoral school psychology programs at the University of South Florida and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The project will prepare 8 new faculty in school psychology who will have the teaching, applied research, and service expertise to lead school, district and state implementation of evidence-based practices within a multi-tiered system of supports. 

SMHC Researchers: Evan Dart (Principal Investigator), Katie Eklund, Andy Garbacz & Stephen Kilgus

Research Funding: United States Department of Education

Advancing Health Equity in Rural Communities through Integrated Home-School-Community Mental and Behavioral Health Promotion

In partnership with UW Extension, this project is focused on development and evaluation of a home-school-community integrated framework to support youth mental health and wellbeing in rural Wisconsin communities. A community-engaged approach is driving development to promote health equity.

SMHC Researcher: Andy Garbacz

Research Partners: Jen Park-Mroch

Research Funding: Wisconsin Idea Collaboration Grant

Refinement of the Resilience Education Program (REP)

REP is a novel school-based Tier 2 intervention intended for students at risk for internalizing problems (e.g., anxiety and depression). Through REP, students receive cognitive-behavioral instruction regarding coping and problem-solving skills. Students also receive daily feedback and reinforcement through Check In/Check Out (CICO). A series of pilot studies have yielded promising evidence. The purpose of this project is to support continued development and refinement of REP. 

SMHC Researchers: Stephen Kilgus (Principal Investigator), Katie Eklund, & Andy Garbacz

Research Partners: Tim Lewis & Barb Mitchell

Research Funding: Institute of Education Sciences (R324A190129)

Efficacy of Check-in/Check-out (CICO)

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of Check-in/Check-out (CICO) for improving social, emotional, and academic behavior of elementary school students at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). CICO is a manualized Tier 2 behavioral intervention commonly implemented within a multi-tiered framework and designed to improve the social and behavioral performance of students with emerging problem behavior. CICO efficacy will be evaluated relative to business-as-usual Tier 2 treatment within a four-year cluster randomized controlled trial.

SMHC Researchers: Stephen Kilgus & Katie Eklund

Research Partners: Tim Lewis (Principal Investigator), Barb Mitchell, & Howard Wills

Research Funding: Institute of Education Sciences (R324A190046)

Project MIDAS

Project M.I.D.A.S. (multi-informant decisional assessment system) is intended to develop an online system to integrate and use multiple sources of data, from multiple informants, for accurate and efficient identification of social-emotional and behavioral (SEB) concerns in middle school students.This project will conduct a multi-year, mixed method approach for calibrating, testing, and refining the MIDAS system to inform real-world decision-making within school settings.

SMHC Researchers: Nathaniel von der Embse; Stephen Kilgus; Katie Eklund, Shannon Suldo

Research Partners: Wes Bonifay

Research Funding: Institute of Education Sciences

Development of Trauma-informed Assessment to Intervention Model (T-AIM)

The purpose of this project is to develop an integrated model of trauma informed assessment to intervention practices at Tier I and Tier II within a large urban school district. Researchers have developed data-based consultation practices to inform a continuum of service delivery from universal practices to targeted groups interventions. 

SMHC Researchers: Nathaniel von der Embse

Research Partners: Devereux Center for Effective Schools & University of Pennsylvania 

Research Funding: Scattergood Foundation & National Institute of Justice

Development and Evaluation of FOCUS

FOCUS is a universal mental health promotion program that aligns and integrates mental health support for children in rural communities. FOCUS is being iteratively developed with stakeholders in rural communities. Once fully developed, the FOCUS program will connect mental health support from stakeholders within a statewide network, including families, organizations, communities, universities, and schools. In the FOCUS program, stakeholders collaborate to implement systems and practices to promote mental health and reduce the risk of later mental health concerns. 

SMHC Researcher: Andy Garbacz

Research Partners: Craig Albers (Principal Investigator), Bonnie Doren, Melinda Leko, & Andrea Ruppar

Research Funding: University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education Grand Challenges Transform Competition

Family-Centered Intervention in Schools to Reduce Social and Behavioral Problems from Early Elementary School to Adolescence

The purpose of this project is to examine the long-term efficacy of the Kindergarten Family Check-Up (FCU), a school-based, family-centered intervention intended to prevent student social and behavioral problems. This project follows two cohorts of students and families who participated in an initial efficacy study of Kindergarten FCU, whether they received FCU or business-as-usual services, to (1) collect follow-up data on all students when they are in Grade 4 and (2) re-randomize students to receive the middle school booster or not. Re-randomization will result in the following four conditions: services as usual, Kindergarten FCU only, middle school booster only, and Kindergarten FCU plus middle school booster. The middle school booster will be implemented during Grade 5 as students prepare for the transition to middle school.

SMHC Researcher: Andy Garbacz

Research Partners: Beth Stormshak (Principal Investigator) & Laura Lee McIntyre

Research Funding: Institute of Education Sciences (R324A180037

Evaluation of Embedding Family-School-Community Engagement in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effect of aligning and integrating family-school-community engagement in the systems and practices of PBIS. Families, educators, and community stakeholders work as partners to promote parent and educator implementation of effective parenting and home-school-community coordinated support to enhance children’s social-emotional competencies reduce the risk of later social-emotional and behavioral concerns. Stakeholders work as partners to implement strategies and examine their utility.

SMHC Researcher: Andy Garbacz

Research Partners: Katie Lawlor & Phoebe Jordan

Research Funding: University of Wisconsin-Madison WARF Fall Competition

Development and Validation of Family-School-Community Assessments

The purpose of this research is to develop a suite of measures to assess family-school-community collaboration in school and community systems and practices that promote social-emotional competencies and mental health. Outcomes will include tools, scoped and sequenced recommendations for their use, and approaches to train families, educators, and community stakeholders in their use.

SMHC Researcher: Andy Garbacz

Research Partners: Devon Minch, Mark Weist, & the Family-School-Community Alliance

Research Funding: National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Wisconsin Center for Education Research

Building Partnerships to Promote Mental Health for Children in Rural Communities

The overarching purpose of this project is to strengthen statewide connections to promote children’s mental health in rural communities. A needs assessment includes examining mental health needs, school mental health practices, and interconnections across mental health service networks. Needs assessment data are guiding iterative development of a scoped and sequenced approach to connect support for children’s mental health in rural Wisconsin communities. 

SMHC Researcher: Andy Garbacz (Principal Investigator)

Research Partners: Craig Albers & Brad Carl

Research Funding: Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Seed Grant

School Mental Health Collaborative Postdoctoral Research and Training Program

The School Mental Health Collaborative-Postdoctoral Research and Training Program (SMHC-PRT) aims to hire four fellows in two cohorts. These fellows will receive 2-years of training and mentoring to prepare them to conduct school mental health research with an eye towards equity and social justice. The program emphasizes training in quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods to conduct research that aligns with the requirements for measurement, efficacy, and replication projects. Each fellow will work on a mentor’s research projects as well as lead independent research projects and hone other professional skills, including training in the dissemination and the IES Standards for Excellence in Education Research (SEER) principles. 

SMHC Researchers: Stephen Kilgus (Principal Investigator), Katie Eklund, Andy Garbacz

Research Partners: Erica Turner, Stephanie Budge, Seth Pollack, Robert Nix, James Pustejovsky. 

Research Funding: Institute of Education Sciences 

Integrating Mental Health Systems and Family-School-Community Collaboration within Multi-tiered Systems of Support 


The purpose of this project is to examine the extent to which mental health systems, family-school-community collaboration, and multi-tiered systems of support are integrated in public middle schools. Focus groups and interviews with caregivers, students, teachers, and mental health professionals are examining current practices, readiness, and infrastructure to support integration across these three service areas. An implementation blueprint will describe the content and process by which these services can be integrated, as well as a plan to promote adoption and sustained implementation. 

 SMHC Researchers: Andy Garbacz, Stephen Kilgus, and Katie Eklund 

 Research Funding: Madison Education Partnership 

Optimizing School Mental Health to Promote Equity

 The purpose of this project is to convene researchers, educators, mental health professionals, caregivers, and youth to build a framework that centers equity and promotes anti-racism within school mental health. A design-based, iterative process is guiding development and refinement as part of a collaborative process with these stakeholders. Following development of the framework a feasibility study will examine implementation, usability, cultural responsiveness, and effectiveness within a home-school-community interconnected process. 

 SMHC Researchers: Andy Garbacz, Stephen Kilgus, and Katie Eklund 

 Research Funding: Institute for Clinical and Translational Research 

Systematic Replication Study of Conjoint Behavioral Consultation in Elementary Schools 

 The purpose of this project is to test the efficacy of a family-school partnership intervention, Teachers and Parents as Partners (also known as Conjoint Behavioral Consultation) as implemented by school-based consultants in urban and suburban schools. Teachers and Parents as Partners brings parents and teachers together to work collaboratively as they support a student’s social, emotional, and behavioral competencies. This 5-year project includes 60 elementary schools and 720 students in kindergarten to fourth grade who have social, emotional, or behavioral concerns. 

 SMHC Researchers: Andy Garbacz 

 Research Partners: Allison Dymnicki, Susan Sheridan, Elizabeth Spier, and Amanda Witte 

 Research Funding: Institute of Education Sciences (R324R210013) 

Efficacy of Virtual Professional Development in Rural Schools to Enhance Teacher-Parent Partnerships for Students with Behavioral Challenges 

 The purpose of this efficacy study is to evaluate a virtual professional development approach for consultants implementing Teachers and Parents as Partners (also known as Conjoint Behavioral Consultation) in rural schools with behavioral challenges. This study is examining a virtual professional development approach for preparing rural school-based consultants in Teachers and Parents as Partners implementation. 

 SMHC Researchers: Andy Garbacz 

Research Partners: Susan Sheridan, Amanda Witte, and Lorey Wheeler 

 Research Funding: Institute of Education Sciences (R324A210166) 

Project EPIC: Enhancing Family-School-Community Partnerships through an Interconnected Systems Framework Collaboration 

 The Interconnected Systems Framework is a process for aligning and integrating mental health within school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. The purpose of this project is to (a) enhance family-school-community partnerships within the ISF and (b) examine implementation and outcomes in middle schools across urban, suburban, and rural settings in three states. 

SMHC Researchers: Andy Garbacz, Katie Eklund, and Stephen Kilgus 

Research Partners: Kelly Perales, Ami Flammini, Diane LaMaster, and Brian Meyer 

 Research Funding: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (H326M210006) 

Communities Confronting COVID-19 

The purpose of this project is to support Wisconsin communities in their efforts for pandemic recovery by providing resources, making connections, and lifting up the voices of community stakeholders. This project is a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin–Madison Prevention Research Center. 

SMHC Researchers: Andy Garbacz 

Research Partners: Susan Passmore, Mahima Bhattar, Sijia Yang, Malia Jones, and Dan Bolt 

Research Funding: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Promoting Well-Being in Middle School Students

This multi-site project focuses on evaluating the efficacy, feasibility, acceptability, and cost of the Well-Being Promotion Program (WBPP) with middle school students in Florida and Massachusetts. The WBPP is an innovative Tier 2 positive psychology intervention for use by school mental health teams within a multi-tiered system of support. Students participating in the WBPP are expected to experience lasting gains in subjective well-being, reduction of psychopathology, and greater academic success.

SMHC Researchers: Shannon Suldo (Principal Investigator)

Research Partners: Sarah Fefer, John Ferron, Sarah Keifer

Research Funding: Institute of Education Sciences (R305A200035)