Competent Kids, Caring Communities

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Program description

Competent Kids and Caring Communities, offered by the Ackerman Institute for the Family, provides a lesson-based approach to SEL. It offers programming for K-5 and demonstrates evidence of effectiveness at grade 4.

Strategies supporting educational equity

Competent Kids, Caring Communities offers strategies for understanding context and working with bias. This includes school-wide community building activities designed to develop teacher knowledge about the cultural backgrounds and perspectives of students. Additionally, the program offers training on a framework for conducting reflective conversations on issues such as bias and privilege in a supportive, non-judgemental atmosphere.

      • SEL lessons
      • Positive classroom management
      • SEL generalization
      • Shared agreements
      • Systemic support for SEL
      • Adult SEL
      • Group structures
      • Student supports
      • Community partnerships
      • School Involvement
      • Activities and Resources for Home
    • Onsite in-person training
    • Virtual training
    • Offsite training
    • Train the trainer model
    • Administrator support
    • Coaching
    • Technical assistance
    • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
    • Online resource library
    • Self-report tools for monitoring implementation
    • Observational tools
    • Tools for measuring student success

Evidence of effectiveness

Results from a quasi-experimental study (published in 2005) supported the longitudinal effectiveness of Competent Kids, Caring Community Program for elementary school students. This evaluation included 119 students in grade 4 (White = 37%, Asian American = 19%, Hispanic/Latinx= 19%,; FRPL = 52-63%). This evaluation found students who participated in grade 4 showed improvements in mathematics grades, teacher-reported social and emotional behavior (i.e., attention and concentration, social and emotional competence, lack of aggression), self-reported self-efficacy, and problem solving skills compared to students in the control group (outcomes were assessed in grade 5 and 6, 1 and 2 years after pre-test respectively while controlling for outcome pre-test).

  • Evidence shown in grades
    School characteristics
      • Urban
      • Northeast
    Student characteristics
    • Asian / Asian American
    • Hispanic / Latinx
    • White
    • Low income
    Percentage Low Income
    • Percentage of students eligible for free or reduced price lunch: 63%
    Study design type
    • QE
    Greater than 350 students included in study design type
    • No
    Multiple school districts included at study design type
    • No
    • Improved academic performance
    • Reduced emotional distress
    • Improved identity development and agency
    • Reduced problem behaviors
    • Improved school climate
    • Improved school connectedness
    • Improved social behaviors
    • Improved teaching practices
    • Improved other SEL skills and attitudes

How does Competent Kids, Caring Communities support SEL implementation across multiple settings?

“CKCC provides classroom-based, school-wide, and home-based activities for each lesson, along with monthly checklists to keep implementation "on track." Additionally, along with the grade-specific curriculum guides, CKCC's Implementation Guide includes ideas for community involvement, including cultivating community-based stakeholders.”
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