Merrell’s Strong Kids provides a lesson-based approach to SEL. It includes programming for grades K-12 and demonstrates evidence of effectiveness in grades 1-6. Translated materials for Merrell’s Strong Kids are available in Korean.
- SEL lessons
- Instructional practices
- Relationship building
- Positive classroom management
- SEL generalization
- Shared agreements
- Adult SEL
- Student supports
- Activities and Resources for Home
- Onsite in-person training
- Virtual training
- Offsite training
- Train the trainer model
- Administrator support
- 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 (QE) study published in 2010 supported the effectiveness of Merrell’s Strong Kids Program for elementary school students. This evaluation included 106 grade 3 and 4 students in the Pacific Northwest US (White = 79%, Hispanic/Latinx = 10%). This evaluation found students who participated in the program increased in self-reported knowledge and use of social and emotional learning skills and positive coping skills (i.e., seeking social support, problem solving) compared to students in the control group (outcomes were collected approximately 6 months after pretest). These improvements persisted in a follow up assessment (2 months after posttest).
Results from a quasi-experimental (QE) study published in 2014 supported the effectiveness of Merrell’s Strong Kids Program for elementary school students. This evaluation included 614 grade K through 6 students enrolled in suburban, Title 1 schools in the US West region (Latinx = 57%, white = 40%; 82% of students qualified for FRPL). This evaluation found grade 1 through 6 students who participated in the program experienced a decrease in teacher-reported internalizing behaviors (e.g., loneliness, depressive symptoms) compared to students in the comparison group (outcomes reported 17 weeks after baseline).
Evidence shown in grades1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 School characteristics
- Hispanic / Latinx
- Low income
Percentage Low Income
- Eligible for FRPL: 82%
Study design type
Greater than 350 students included in study design type
Multiple school districts included at study design type
- 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
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- Accepted by CASEL
Harlacher, J. E., & Merrell, K. W. (2010). Social and emotional learning as a universal level of student support: Evaluating the follow-up effect of strong kids on social and emotional outcomes. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 26, 212-229.
Kramer, T. J., Calderella, P., Young, K. R., Fischer, L., & Warren, J.S. (2014). Implementing Strong Kids school-wide to reduce internalizing and increase prosocial behaviors. Education & Treatment of Children, 37, 659-880.
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- Other references
Caldarella, P., Christensen, L., Kramer, T.J., & Kronmiller, K. (2009). Promoting social and emotional learning in second grade students: A study of the Strong Start curriculum. Early Childhood Education Journal, 37, 51–56.
Gunter, L., Caldarella, P., Korth, B. B., & Young, K. R. (2012). Promoting social and emotional learning in preschool students: A study of Strong Start Pre-K. Early Childhood Education, 40, 151–159.