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Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development



BEST in CLASS, developed with funding from the Institute of Education Sciences of the United States Department of Education, is a Tier 2 intervention designed to address the needs of children who demonstrate persistent and intensive challenging behaviors in classroom settings, which place them at future risk for developing social-emotional learning difficulties.

BEST in CLASS - Elementary: A Preventative Classroom-Based Intervention Model

Funding: Institute of Education Sciences; Social and Behavioral Context for Learning Research Grants (R305A150246)

Investigators: Kevin S. Sutherland, Ph.D., Maureen A. Conroy, Ph.D., and Bryce McLeod, Ph.D.

The McLeod Lab and the Sutherland Lab are collaborating to evaluate the efficacy of a teacher-delivered prevention intervention for K-2nd grade children at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders. They will be evaluating the prevention intervention in elementary classrooms in Virginia and Florida.

The purpose of this project is to develop and test the BEST in CLASS - Elementary model that will have maximum feasibility of implementation, promise at reducing risk for behavioral difficulties, and potential for sustainability in early elementary classroom settings. The need for this model is highlighted by the importance of the early years of school in setting the stage for students’ academic, social and behavioral development. Unfortunately, many children arrive at school unprepared for the classroom learning environment and behavioral expectations, and challenges presented by these students can affect the nature of their educational experience and increase their risk for behavioral difficulties.

BiC-E will utilize teacher training in evidence-based/evidence-informed practice elements, home-school communication and practice-based coaching in order to reduce young students’ risk for behavioral difficulties via improvements in ongoing teacher-student interactions in authentic classroom settings.


Funding: Institute of Education Sciences; Social and Behavioral Outcomes to Support Learning Research Grants (R324A160158)

Investigators: Maureen A. Conroy, Ph.D., Kevin S. Sutherland, Ph.D., and Edward Feil, Ph.D.

The purpose of BEST in CLASS - Web is to develop a web-based professional development program designed to increase teachers’ use of effective instructional practices to address young children in their classrooms who engage in chronic challenging behavior. Built on the original BEST in CLASS intervention model, the goal of BEST in CLASS – Web is to increase the accessibility, flexibility, usability and scalability of the BEST in CLASS (Behavioral, Emotional, and Social Training: Competent Learners Achieving School Success) intervention by developing a web-based version that can be used efficiently and effectively by early childhood teachers working with young children identified at risk for emotional/behavioral disorders.

Initially funded by an IES Goal 2 development grant (co-PIs Conroy & Sutherland), and subsequently funded by an IES Goal 3 efficacy grant (co-PIs Conroy & Sutherland), BEST in CLASS is a tier 2 intervention targeting young children at risk for developing EBD in early childhood classrooms. The BEST in CLASS intervention was designed to be delivered on-site (i.e., face-to-face) through training and coaching in early childhood classrooms.

BEST in CLASS - Web includes seven instructional modules that can be completed independently by teachers in classrooms. In addition, a web-based coaching component occurs weekly with teachers. The BEST in CLASS - Web program is currently being developed. In year two, feasibility tests will be conducted and in year three, a randomized controlled trial will compare the web-based BEST in CLASS to the original BEST in CLASS.

A Conceptual Replication of BEST in CLASS: An Efficacy Study of BEST in CLASS-Elementary

Investigators: Kevin Sutherland, Ph.D. and Maureen Conroy, Ph.D., University of Florida

Funding: Institute of Education Sciences, Social and Behavioral Contexts for Learning Research Grants. (IES grant R305A180182, $3,296,798)

This project is testing the efficacy of BEST in CLASS - Elementary, a Tier 2 intervention for young students with problem behavior, in a multisite RCT (Co- Principal Investigator, Dr. Maureen Conroy, University of Florida)

Multi-level Determinants of Implementation and Sustainment in the Education Sector

Investigators: Bryce McLeod, Ph.D. and Kevin Sutherland, Ph.D. 

Funding: National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH124439, $3,122,972)

This project is examining factors associated with implementation and sustainment of BEST in CLASS - Elementary 

Effectiveness Replication of BEST in CLASS Intervention for Young Children at High Risk for Delays in Social or Emotional Development

Funding: Institute of Education Sciences, Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning. (IES Grant R324R210005, $4,492,505)

Principal Investigators: Carl Sumi & Michelle Woodbridge, SRI International)

Investigator: Kevin Sutherland, Ph.D.

This project will conduct an effectiveness trial of BEST in CLASS in early childhood programs in Florida, Virginia, and California  

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