Legacy Projects

Over the past 30 years, CPRD has conducted a variety of research and evaluation projects, provided training and technical assistance to professional audiences, and more recently, developed online database applications that improve the quality of programs and services, and better determine program impacts on child and family outcomes. This vast array of projects reflect a full spectrum of health, human service, juvenile justice and educational programs and policies that have ranged from 1 – 25 years of operations. Below is a list of legacy projects that provide a flavor for the types, methods and results of CPRD’s work that impact Illinois schools and communities.

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

The Consultation Project, funded by the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership and Voices for Illinois Children, implemented a mental health consultation model that helped local agencies address the mental health needs of young children ages 0 to 7. CPRD assessed how the model was being adopted by local mental health providers. Our work focused on identifying qualities and characteristics that supported or interfered with model adoption. Findings from this project were ultimately used to improve the quality of early childhood mental health services in Illinois.

Evaluation of the FASD Prevention Program

Increasing the number of women who completely abstain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy was the goal of the Illinois Department of Human Services Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Prevention Program. In 2008, CPRD collected and analyzed data providing critical information to the Illinois FASD Task Force. This information was used to improve and expand this demonstration project to other areas in Illinois.

i3 Middle-Grades Leadership Development Project

CPRD conducted the evaluation of the Middle-Grades Leadership Development (MLD) program from 2013 to 2018, which sought to increase achievement of high-needs, middle-grades students (grades 5-8) through the development of and equitable access to quality middle-grades principals. This grant focuses on increasing the knowledge and competencies of middle-grades principals, so they can more effectively lead their schools resulting in improved student outcomes. The project involved 12 high-needs schools in Michigan and Kentucky, and was in partnership with the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform’s Schools to Watch (STW) initiative.

i3 Schools to Watch Transformation Network Project

CPRD served as the evaluator for the U.S. Department of Education’s $5 million Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) grant awarded to the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. The National Forum’s project worked with 18 low-performing middle-grades schools in three states (Illinois, California, and North Carolina) to implement the Forum’s innovative “Schools to Watch” program using a multi-layered system of support and a comprehensive set of school improvement strategies to improve student achievement. After identifying specific areas for improvement, the program assigned a coach to work with each school. CPRD used qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate how well the program achieved outcomes for high-need students. The evaluation team also worked collaboratively with project leaders and schools to demonstrate best practices for data-based decision making. In addition to the National Forum, project partners included the Association of Illinois Middle-Level Schools, the California League of Middle Schools, and the North Carolina Middle School Association.

Illinois Steps AHEAD GEAR UP Program

The Illinois Steps AHEAD (ISA) GEAR UP program, administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in the after-school setting, provided educational support and enrichment services, college preparation activities, and post-secondary scholarships to middle and high school students and their families in Illinois from 2006 to 2012. The purpose of ISA GEAR UP was to assist families, schools, and communities to engage and motivate low-income students to attend and succeed in college. CPRD conducted the evaluation of the ISA GEAR UP program.

Illinois Youth Suicide Prevention Project Evaluation

CPRD served as the project evaluator for the Illinois Youth Suicide Prevention Project (IYSPP) funded to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) under the Garret Lee Smith (GLS) Suicide Prevention initiative of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This four-year project employed a mixed-method evaluation, with four major program elements:

  • A comprehensive statewide key stakeholder assessment, and strategic planning kick-off meeting and report
  • Convening stakeholders from three special populations who are at high risk for suicide – higher education, juvenile justice and behavioral services
  • Conducting a public awareness campaign using It Only Takes One (IOTO) web redesign
  • The statewide adoption and implementation of an online gatekeeper training system that targeted multiple audiences using nine Kognito© Gatekeeper Training (GT) curriculums

Results show broad state-level engagement, raising awareness of suicide prevention and effective suicide prevention strategies, as well as wide-spread adoption of Kognito’s Gatekeeper Training program in Illinois schools.

Local Health Governance Study

Funded by the Public Health Law Research Program, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this three-part study of public health governance focused on the question: what type of government structure may be most effective to facilitate passing local laws and ordinances beneficial to community health and to improve population health outcomes? Part 1 involved aggregate data analysis of local health departments, the second part was a survey of health administrators and board of health members in four Midwest states, and the final part was 20 case studies of health governance from counties across the country. The study considered the most effective role for health board members, how members should be appointed, how it should be comprised, and what its relationship to the local and state government should be. Findings were presented to national groups in a number of presentations and publications.

Power of Two: Pairing Literacy and Numeracy Project

The Power of Two: Pairing Literacy and Numeracy Project was administered by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform via funding from a U.S. Department of Education Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant. The 3-year project provided professional development and support in 4 states (California, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina) for middle-grades teachers of mathematics and English language arts; two content areas identified as essential for keeping students on-track for high school graduation. CPRD conducted the outcome evaluation using a randomized control study designed with intervention and controls schools.

School Improvement Self-Study

CPRD’s School Improvement Self-Study (SISS) was a user-friendly data collection system for assessing teachers, students, administrators, and parents on key school-related factors related to academic and social-emotional outcomes. The Self-Study Surveys help middle schools and high schools gather valid and reliable data about instructional, classroom, and administrative practices, and how these factors impact instructional and student learning. SISS provides a comprehensive tool to evaluate and assess the educational experiences of all students, especially as it pertains to academic achievement. SISS is then used for continuous school improvement planning based on data from students, teachers, parents, and administrators. CPRD also provided training and technical assistance to support the use of the SISS data and information.

Teen Parent Family Services Project

The Teen Parent Family Services Project (TPFS) was a five-year federally-funded demonstration project under the Adolescent Family Life Care Demonstration funding. Designed to serve the families of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) teen mothers who were participants at two IDHS Teen Parent Services agencies in two Chicago communities, the overarching goal was to enroll teen families with the necessary support to develop and strengthen family unity. The study employed a quasi-experimental design between the two service centers.
Results showed significant difficulties sustaining families in the intervention programs, which resulted in limited impacts on health, social, and educational outcomes. Qualitative results showed major challenges related to engaging and sustaining participants and fathers in the program, as well as some evidence of increased educational aspirations of fathers and partners.