SPARK Pre-teen Mentoring Curriculum

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Program description

SPARK Pre-Teen Mentoring Curriculum, offered by the SPARK Initiative, provides a lesson-based approach with additional small group mentoring sessions. It includes programming for grades 6 through 8 and demonstrated evidence of effectiveness in grades 6 through 8. Additionally, The SPARK Initiative also offers a curriculum for high school students, which is also featured in the CASEL Guide.

Strategies supporting educational equity

SPARK Pre-Teen Mentoring Curriculum includes strategies for customizing for context. This includes specific guidance for reflecting on the lived experience of students and adjusting instruction as deemed appropriate.  

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      • SEL lessons
      • Relationship building
      • SEL generalization
      • Adult SEL
      • Student supports
      • 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 randomized control trial (RCT) evaluation conducted in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years (published in 2020) supported the effectiveness of SPARK Pre-Teen for middle school students. This evaluation included 357 grade 6 through 8 students in a suburban school district in the U.S. Southeast region (white = 40%; Hispanic/Latinx = 32%; Black/African American = 24%; multi-racial = 13%; 62% of student body eligible for FRPL at participating schools). This evaluation found that students receiving instruction using the SPARK Pre-Teen program showed significantly greater growth in self-efficacy, more specifically in self-reported decision-making skills, problem solving, and mastery skills compared to control students (outcomes reported approximately 13 weeks after baseline, while controlling for outcome pretest). Additionally, this evaluation found that students receiving instruction using the SPARK Pre-teen Program showed significantly greater growth in self-reported communication skills, relatedness resiliency skills, optimism, and self-regulation (including impulsive behaviors and emotional understanding) compared to control students over this same time. 

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  • Evidence shown in grades
    6, 7, 8
    School characteristics
      • Suburban
      • Southeast
    Student characteristics
    • Black / African American
    • Hispanic / Latinx
    • White
    • Multi-racial / other
    • Low income
    Percentage Low Income
    • Eligible for FRPL: 62%
    Study design type
    • RCT
    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 SPARK Pre-teen Mentoring Curriculum support SEL implementation across multiple settings?

“Throughout the SPARK Pre-Teen Mentoring Curriculum, students reflect on the workings of their minds, resilience, and how they can better relate to others, while also learning skills for decision making, problem solving, and communication. SPARK provides student-, class-, and group-level instruction, virtual and live programs for staff, and activities/resources for families and communities. ”

Get info and pricing on the provider’s website

Go to Provider Site

References

  • Accepted by CASEL
  • Green, A. L., Ferrante, S., Boaz, T. L., Kutash, K., & Wheeldon‐Reece, B. (2021). Social and emotional learning during early adolescence: Effectiveness of a classroom‐based SEL program for middle school students. Psychology in the Schools, 58, 1056-1069. 

     

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  • Program approach: Free Standing Lessons
  • Significant evaluation outcomes: Improved identity development and agency, Improved other SEL skills and attitudes
  • Student characteristics: Black / African American, Hispanic / Latinx, White, Multi-racial / other, Low income
  • School characteristics: Suburban, Southeast

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