Sesame Street in Communities Early-phase EIR Project
Toxic stress from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can alter brain development and affect responses to stress. ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood. Sesame Street in Communities is a program that combines training and resources to equip Communities In Schools (CIS) site coordinators working in schools and classrooms to develop children’s social and emotional skills and resilience.
Sesame Workshop, CIS, and AIR have partnered on an Education Innovation and Research (EIR) early-phase project to develop, implement, and rigorously test Sesame Street in Communities. This project seeks to leverage the Sesame Street in Communities model to increase social emotional competencies, school engagement, and reading achievement among high need students in PreK – 2nd grade and build self-efficacy among site coordinators and caregivers to support children to cope with adverse childhood experiences.
This project will be implemented with students and their caregivers in 56 CIS partner Title I schools in Nevada and North Carolina. Site coordinators lead a data-driven needs assessment to identify the highest need students, promoting equity in access to resources and opportunities through small groups and individual intervention support throughout the school year.
AIR is conducting an independent evaluation examining the implementation and impact of Sesame Street in Communities. The evaluation will occur in two phases: 1) a pilot study phase, in which the evaluation will provide formative feedback about its usability and feasibility from an initial cohort of four schools to inform program improvements, and 2) an efficacy study phase, in which the evaluation will provide causal evidence of the program’s impact on site coordinators’ self-efficacy to help students in Grades K–2 cope with adverse childhood experiences and on students’ social and emotional competencies, school engagement, and reading outcomes using a 2-year randomized controlled trial in 56 schools.
During the evaluation, AIR will conduct interviews with CIS site coordinators and school leaders; lead focus groups with CIS site coordinators; survey caregivers and CIS site coordinators; and gather extant data, including student administrative records, student social and emotional competencies (as measured by site coordinators), site coordinators’ attendance of trainings, and logs from site coordinators sessions with students.