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Evidence Based Programs and Practices


Model Programs


For more information:
Lorrane Mcpherson.
Tucson LINKS: Resources

Evidence-Based Programs and Practices

Substance Abuse Prevention

Al's Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices
All Stars
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Brief Strategic Family Therapy
The Good Behavior Game
Storytelling for Empowerment
Keep a Clear Mind
keepin' it R.E.A.L.
Stop & Think Social Skills Program
The Michigan Model®
Positive Action
Peers Making Peace
Project ALERT
Too Good for Drugs

Violence Prevention

Al's Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices
All Stars
Arizona Behavioral Initiative
Peers Making Peace
Too Good for Violence
Positive Behavior Support (PBS)
The Primary Project
Second Step: A Violence Prevention Program
The Think Time Strategy
Get Real About Violence/SmartTrack
I Can Problem Solve

Academic Success

Making Meaning

Evidence-Based Programs Working With Tucson LINKS

Substance Abuse/Violence Prevention Grades PreK -3

Al's Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices ( is a resiliency-based early childhood curriculum and teacher training program that develops personal, social, and emotional skills in children 3 to 8 years old. Al's Pals teaches children how to express feelings appropriately, use self-control, think independently, accept differences, make friends, solve problems peacefully, and understand that tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs are not for children. Al's Pals significantly increases positive social skills and coping abilities in children and stops an increase in aggressive behavior that might otherwise occur. A companion parent education program provides ways to reinforce the Al's Pals concepts at home.

Substance Abuse/ Violence Prevention Grades 5-8

All Stars ( is a character-based approach to preventing high-risk behaviors in teens. All Stars is based on over twenty years of highly successful research. All Stars addresses five topics important to preventing high-risk behaviors: 1) developing positive ideals that don't fit with high-risk behavior. 2) creating a belief in conventional norms, 3) bonding with school, pro-social institutions, and family and 4) increasing positive parental attentiveness. All Stars has been found effective for preventing substance abuse, violence, delinquency, and premature sexual activity among teens.

Substance Abuse Prevention Grades K -12

Big Brothers Big Sisters ( has been the nation's preeminent youth-service organization for nearly a century. Evidence has shown that youth involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters programs can benefit from the one-to-one relationships. Youth involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters programs are: 46% less likely to use illegal drugs; 27% less likely to begin using alcohol; 52% less likely to skip school; more confident of their performance in school; one-third less likely to hit someone; and more trusting of their parents/guardians.

Family Therapy/ Substance Abuse Prevention Grades 1-12

Brief Strategic Family Therapy
( is a problem focused and practical approach to the elimination of substance abuse risk factors. It successfully reduces problem behaviors in children 6 to 17 years old while it strengthens their families. BSFT provides tools to reduce individual and family risk factors through focused interventions that improve family relations and skill-building strategies. The program fosters parental leadership and involvement, mutual support, communication, problem solving, clear rules and consequences, nurturing, and shared responsibility for family problems. It targets acting out behavioral problems; association with antisocial peers; early substance abuse; and problematic family relations.

Violence Prevention Grades K-12

Get Real about Violence ( is a bullying prevention and skill building program based on risk reduction research, social development strategy and developmental assets. Lessons promote a safer school climate and enhance classroom management and literacy skills. Students who received the program were: less verbally aggressive, less likely to watch a fight, less likely to spread rumors of a fight, and more likely to believe it is okay to walk away from a fight.

SmartTrack is an on-line tool to make student surveying, evaluating, and reporting on local data quick and easy that will help schools meet No Child Left Behind requirements. Users have instant access to their site, regional, and state student data including prevalence, assets, risk and protective factors. Data is able to be reported flexibility and can be customized as needed.

Substance Abuse Prevention Grades K-3

The Good Behavior Game ( intervention seeks to improve children's psychological well-being and social task performance. It is implemented when children are in early elementary grades in order to provide students with the skills they need to respond to later, possibly negative, life experiences and societal influences. GBG aims to decrease early aggression and shy behaviors to prevent later criminality. GBG improves teachers' ability to define tasks, set rules, and discipline students, and allows students to work in teams in which each individual is responsible to the rest of the group.

Violence Prevention Grades K-8

I Can Problem Solve ( is a primary prevention curriculum that offers teachers and parents concrete skills for helping children ages 4 to 7 learn to resolve typical, everyday interpersonal problems. This school-based program is designed to teach children how to think, not what to think. The program develops a set of interpersonal cognitive skills that mediate adjustment by enhancing the child's interpersonal thinking style.

Substance Abuse Prevention/ Family Education Grades 4-6

Keep a Clear Mind ( is a take home drug education program for fourth, fifth, and sixth grade elementary school students and their parents. Take home materials consist of 4 weekly lessons designed with activities to be completed through the joint efforts the parent and child. Three lessons target alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. The fourth lesson is designed to help children develop specific refusal and drug avoidance skills. Newsletters are sent home to prompt parents to reinforce children for practicing saying no to drugs and to provide parents tips for communication with children about how to avoid drug use.

Substance Abuse Prevention Grades 6-8

keepin' it R.E.A.L. ( increases life skills such as risk assessment, decision-making and drug resistance, while enhancing anti-drug norms and attitudes. The curriculum is a culturally-appropriate intervention incorporating ethnic values and practices that protect against drug use. It was developed from narratives collected from adolescents in each ethnic group, which were then used to create the five videos used in the curriculum. Each video dramatizes drug use situations faced by students, and each ends with successful drug resistance.

Reading Skills Grades K-6

Making Meaning: Explicit comprehension strategies and community building ( is based on research that describes the comprehension strategies proficient readers naturally use. Lessons focus on a specific comprehension strategy, which reflects the state standards and those of the NCTE. The strategies taught in Making Meaning are: retelling; visualizing; making connections; questioning; understanding text structure; making inferences; determining important ideas; summarizing; and synthesizing.

SIPPS: Systematic Instruction in Phoneme Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words ( is a systematic decoding program designed in three levels to cover the phoneme awareness, phonics and sight word content. It begins with the concepts of print and decoding or short vowels and ends with the polysyllabic strategies that are critical for content-area reading. Using on-going assessment, SIPPS places students in small groups according to where they are and moves them along as fast as they can do.

Substance Abuse Prevention Grade K -12

The Michigan Model® for Comprehensive School Health Education ( curriculum facilitates interdisciplinary learning through lessons that integrate health education into other curricula, including language arts, social studies, science, math and art. A 1996 national program analysis done by Drug Strategies, Inc. of Washington, D.C. and published under the title "Making the Grade", designated the Michigan Model as one of the top substance abuse prevention programs in the United States.

Violence Prevention Grades K -8

PeaceBuilders ( is a schoolwide violence prevention program for elementary and middle schools that aims to reinforce positive behavior throughout the community, at home, in after school settings, in peer interactions, and in the mass media. The program endeavors to increase cooperation, collaboration, and teamwork while reducing acts of aggression and negative behaviors. It's goal is for all schools to become peaceful learning environments where everyone learns, practices, and gains skills to ensure positive and respectful behaviors in order to achieve academic, personal, and interpersonal success.

Substance Abuse/ Violence Prevention Grades PreK -12

Peers Making Peace ( is a conflict mediation program for youth, designed to be implemented by trained student mediators in elementary, middle, and high schools and facilitated and supervised by teachers, counselors, administrators, and/or other pupil support staff. This program has reduced classroom conduct problems and campus conflicts and improved student attitudes and sense of personal safety at school. Peers Making Peace had been demonstrated to be effective in reducing substance abuse, violence, disciplinary referrals and expulsions. In addition, research results have shown that Peers Making Peace increases standardized test scores and self-esteem.

Substance Abuse Prevention Grades K -12

Positive Action ( is a comprehensive program for students in kindergarten through high school. It integrates daily classroom curriculum with a school climate program. Positive Action coordinates the efforts of teachers, principals, support staff, parents and community to provide a positive focus for the entire school. The Positive Action program deals with the whole child, teaching physical, intellectual, and emotional Positive Actions. This helps students focus clearly on the importance of all their thoughts, actions, and feelings. When students learn and practice physical, intellectual, and emotional Positive Actions, changes occur both in students and in schools.

Violence Prevention Grades K-12
Supporting Safe Schools in Arizona Grades K-12

Positive Behavior Support ( is a behaviorally-based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to design effective environments in which teaching and learning occurs. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining school environments that improve lifestyle results for all children and youth by making problem behavior less effective, efficient, and relevant and desired behavior more functional. In addition, the use of culturally appropriate interventions is emphasized.

The Arizona Behavioral Initiative was developed to address the issue of safe schools, and is a collaborative effort between the Arizona Department of Education, ASU, U of A, and NAU. It is supported by the Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports at the University of Oregon. The primary purpose of the ABI is to establish a comprehensive and focused statewide effort to improve the capacity of educators, administrators and education professionals to address their specific school discipline needs and enable the development of positive teaching and learning environments.

Violence Prevention Grades K-3

The Primary Project ( helps detect and prevent social, emotional, and school-adjustment problems in young children. The Primary Project is a school-based program designed to help children to become more emotionally resilient, develop better social skills, and improve school adjustment and learning. Using play-based counseling and other developmentally appropriate techniques, Child Associates provide direct helping services to build trusting relationships with students. As a result of enrollment in Primary Project, children demonstrate improved 1) school adjustment, 2) peer interactions, and 3) academic performance.

Substance Abuse Prevention Grades 6 - 8

Project ALERT ( is a drug prevention curriculum for middle school students 11 to14 years old, which reduces both the onset of substance abuse and their regular use. The 2-year program focuses on the substances that adolescents are most likely to use: alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and inhalants. Project ALERT use participatory activities and videos to help: motivate adolescents against drug use; teach adolescents the skills and strategies needed to resist pro-drug pressures; and establish non drug-using norms.

Violence Abuse Prevention PreK - 5

The Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) ( is a comprehensive program that promotes the development of social and emotional competencies in children during the elementary school age years in order to achieve reduced aggression and behavior problems. A second program goal is to enhance the classroom atmosphere to facilitate learning and the internalization of pro-social values. PATHS was developed for use in a classroom setting for all children in preschool through grade 5. The curriculum is designed for use by educators and counselors in a multiyear, universal prevention model.

Violence Prevention Grades PreK -9

Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum ( is a school-based social skills curriculum that teaches children to change the attitudes and behaviors that contribute to violence. The goals of Second Step are to reduce aggression and promote social competence of children from preschool through grade 9. The program addresses a range of other behaviors that may be warning signs of violence and aggression, including extreme impulsivity, interrupting, name calling, bullying, and threatening.

Substance Abuse Prevention Grades PreK - 8

The Stop & Think Social Skills Program ( is a social skills program that decreases discipline referrals, school suspensions, and expulsions; improve positive school climates and students' prosocial interactions; and increase students' ability to stay on task and improve their academic performance. Stop and Think uses a behavioral/social learning process that involves the following five components: 1) Teaching the steps of the desired social skill; 2) Modeling; 3) Role playing, 4) Providing performance feedback to students; and 5) Applying the skill and its steps as much as possible during the day to reinforce the teaching over time, in different settings, with different people, and in different situations.

Substance Abuse Prevention Grades 5-8

The Storytelling for Empowerment ( substance abuse program is an extra-curricular program for middle school youth. Key themes are empowering young people with cultural pride, creating symbols of self, and instilling problem solving skills. The Storytelling for Empowerment approach to prevention creates the protective factors of positive peer group identification and a positive cultural identity. Research shows that a strong tribal or cultural identity can prevent ATOD problems. Storytelling for Empowerment was designed for Latino and Native American populations but is applicable to all populations.

Violence Prevention Grades 5-9

SMART Team ( is a multimedia program for students in grades 5-9. It is a universal prevention program designed for use in schools by students using the software independently, either alone or in pairs. The program's goals are to increase students' repertoire of nonviolent conflict resolution strategies and anger management strategies, to decrease the incidents of violent behavior, and to increase acts of pro-social behavior.

Violence Prevention Grades K-9

The Think Time Strategy ( addresses disruptive behaviors in a manner that alleviates many of the problems associated with traditional classroom management approaches. The Think Time Strategy involves two or more teachers working together and helps teachers catch disruptive behavior early. Teachers send disruptive students to a Think Time classroom where a different teacher directs the student to a Think Time desk located in an area free from distractions. That teacher initiates a debriefing process after the student has had "thinking time." The process includes a number of steps that include having the student fill out a form, having the teacher check the form and returning the student to the original classroom.

Substance Abuse/ Violence Prevention Grades K-12

Too Good for Drugs ( is a comprehensive school-based drug prevention education program designed to teach all students that they are too good for drugs and to equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to remain drug-free. The program provides students with the support, role models and high expectations that research has shown to be the building blocks of healthy development. Too Good for Drugs includes five primary skill components: 1) Goal Setting; 2) Decision Making; 3) Bonding with Others; 4) Identifying and Managing Emotions; and 5) Effective Communication.

Too Good for Violence ( is a classroom-based violence prevention program for teaching children positive, healthy ways to resolve conflict with peers. Cooperative learning techniques and group activities are designed to increase students' tolerance of peer differences and to promote group cohesion. Too Good for Violence helps create group norms about resolving conflict in ways that children can identify with and that promote students' respect for themselves and others.


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