LiiNK Blog: Reflection on the First Year as a Pilot Study

May 27, 2015 | By adminl1nk | Filed in: Blog.

By: Dr. Debbie Rhea, 2015

We have changed our name to the Liink Project. This stands for Let’s inspire innovation ‘N kids. For everyone who has been following this project, you know that it wasn’t an easy decision to change the name, but it has shown to be a great change in the long run.

We have been very busy since beginning this project as ISIS and now Liink. In Fall, 2013, three of the Deans and the Provost from TCU showed substantial support by giving $125,000 to launch the project. I had talked with several school districts and two private schools back when Dr. Pasi Sahlberg was here in the spring of 2013. By the summer, two superintendents had either been released from the district or walked away. The three school districts that I thought would be involved were no longer going to begin with us that Fall, 2013. So I talked with the Dean’s involved in supporting the project and let them know that I could begin with a much smaller cohort and learn more about how to make this work once we went to the public schools, and be ready with some data and hopefully high quality findings by the time we launched in a public school district. They agreed that would be a really good idea. So, two private schools began training in the Fall of 2013 as pilot schools focused on grades K & 1 to implement 3-4 unstructured, outdoor recesses daily and three character development lessons weekly at 15-20 minutes per lesson. Each year, we will add one more year to the project. During the Fall, 2013 semester, we trained the teachers on different aspects of the intervention and collected baseline data on the grades K & 1 children.

In the spring, 2014, we implemented the multiple recesses in the two private schools and the character development curriculum called Positive Action. The teacher adherence to take the students to the multiple recesses daily was very high. The enthusiasm for the character development curriculum was very good from parents, administrators, teachers, and students. The behaviors improved significantly as a result of the intervention as well.

As of this spring, we now have two DFW area public school districts on board to try the Liink Project. We are hosting three full day trainings this spring just like we did with the private schools and then will launch the intervention in the Fall, 2015. We are also collecting baseline data on the children in the schools to make sure that the intervention schools do match the control schools demographically. So when we begin with the public schools in the fall, we will have the original two private schools, two control schools to match them, four public intervention schools, and the four control schools to match each of those intervention schools. All in all, we will be collecting data on over 2000 children across 12 schools in combinations of grade levels: some will be grades K-1 and others will be at grades K-3. We’ll keep you posted on how things are going with results. So far, everything is going really well.