Active Projects

The National Center for Rural Mental Health (2019-Present)

To Learn More Email Wendy Reinke

The Nation­al Cen­ter for Rur­al School Men­tal Health (NCRSMH) is an Insti­tute of Edu­ca­tion Sci­ences (IES) fund­ed project that includes the states of Mis­souri, Vir­ginia, and Mon­tana and the over­all aim of the study is to iden­ti­fy, pre­vent, and inter­vene in rur­al youth men­tal health con­cerns. Due to the scarci­ty of resources and geo­graph­ic iso­la­tion of rur­al areas, it is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant to address the men­tal health for these youth and their families. 

NCRSMH’s Purpose:


In part­ner­ship with rur­al schools, NCRSMH will devel­op a com­pre­hen­sive set of teacher and stu­dent sur­veys, tools, inter­ven­tions, and pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment mate­ri­als to help iden­ti­fy, pre­vent, and inter­vene in men­tal health con­cerns among students.

In par­tic­u­lar, the NCRSMH project will val­i­date and enhance the Ear­ly Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Sys­tem (EIS) which includes:

  • an online youth men­tal health risk screen­ing tool
  • a dash­board sys­tem for schools to review and use the data to select evi­dence-based inter­ven­tions (EBIs) matched to each prob­lem area iden­ti­fied by the screener
  • out­come and fideli­ty mon­i­tor­ing tools

Teacher Stress and Coping (2019-Present)

The Eval­u­a­tion of a Stress Man­age­ment Train­ing for Teach­ers Study exam­ines the effects of an indi­vid­ual cop­ing skills pro­gram for teach­ers. The inter­ven­tion con­sists of one group train­ing and three online train­ings. The project effi­ca­cy is eval­u­at­ed through pre-post self-report sur­veys and class­room observations. 

In addi­tion to sup­port­ing indi­vid­ual cop­ing, the Mis­souri Pre­ven­tion Sci­ence Insti­tute (MPSI) team com­plet­ed inter­views with teach­ers who par­tic­i­pat­ed in a state-wide walk­out. The study exam­ines per­cep­tions of sources of stress, sup­port, and the expe­ri­ence of the walk­out. A team of grad­u­ate stu­dents is cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing a qual­i­ta­tive analy­sis to sum­ma­rize main themes and findings.

To Learn More Email Colleen Eddy

Step: Supporting Teachers in Engaging Parents (2019-Present) 

Sup­port­ing Teach­ers in Engag­ing Par­ents (STEP) is cur­rent­ly sup­port­ed by an ear­ly career research award from the Soci­ety for the Study of School Psy­chol­o­gy (SSSP) and a Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­souri Research Coun­cil grant. STEP is a teacher train­ing cur­ricu­lum and coach­ing mod­el focused on prepar­ing teach­ers to effec­tive­ly engage and col­lab­o­rate with families. 

STEP Purpose:

To devel­op, refine, and test the STEP mod­el using an iter­a­tive process. This will be done via focus groups and inter­views with par­ents, teach­ers, and researchers, fol­lowed by pilot test­ing of the STEP mod­el in ele­men­tary schools.

To Learn More Email Tyler Smith

DISCO: Teacher Classroom Management Training (2018-Present)

The Dis­ci­pline in the Sec­ondary Class­room (DiS­CO) project is an Insti­tute of Edu­ca­tion Sci­ences (IES) fund­ed ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­al eval­u­at­ing the effi­ca­cy of Dis­ci­pline in the Sec­ondary Class­room (DSC).  DSC is a class­room man­age­ment pro­gram that pro­vides tools and strate­gies to help high school teach­ers establish: 

  • proac­tive non­puni­tive dis­ci­pline policies
  • man­age stu­dent behavior
  • fos­ter stu­dent motivation
  • cre­ate a pos­i­tive and pro­duc­tive classroom

The study takes place in Mis­souri and Cal­i­for­nia schools. Data is col­lect­ed from both teach­ers and stu­dents three times a year through sur­veys, stan­dard­ized test­ing, and direct class­room observations. 

To Learn More Email Carolyn Conway

ECP: Culturally Responsive Practices (2018-Present)

To Learn More Email David Aguayo

Explor­ing Cul­tur­al Prac­tices (ECP) is an Insti­tute of Edu­ca­tion Sci­ences (IES) fund­ed, mul­ti­level project study­ing the indi­ca­tors of cul­tur­al­ly respon­sive prac­tices (CRPs) in class­rooms with­in school dis­tricts in Mis­souri and Mary­land. The glob­al objec­tive of this study is to use explorato­ry, the­o­ry-dri­ven data to address edu­ca­tion­al dis­par­i­ties among stu­dents of mar­gin­al­ized cul­tur­al, racial, or eth­nic backgrounds. 

The ECP project aims to con­firm and refine indi­ca­tors of CRPs via:

  • focus groups
  • teacher and stu­dent surveys
  • direct obser­va­tion tools

The over­all goal of the ECP project is to devel­op, refine, and eval­u­ate a the­o­ry of change link­ing these mal­leable indi­ca­tors of CRPs with stu­dent aca­d­e­m­ic and behav­ioral outcomes.

Start: Principle Training and School Climate (2017-Present)

The Prin­ci­pal and School Cli­mate project is a Nation­al Insti­tute of Jus­tice (NIJ) fund­ed study in par­tic­i­pat­ing schools across the state of Okla­homa inves­ti­gat­ing the effi­ca­cy of Safe and Civ­il School Lead­er­ship (SCSL) with an addi­tion­al pro­gram called START on Time. START on Time is a train­ing pro­gram for school prin­ci­pals teach­ing them skills to fos­ter a safe and pos­i­tive learn­ing envi­ron­ment for stu­dents. This train­ing pro­gram con­sists of stu­dent sup­ports as well as resources for prin­ci­pals to use effi­ca­cious and data-dri­ven dis­ci­pline with stu­dents. Although first devel­oped over a decade ago, there have been no evi­dence-based stud­ies inves­ti­gat­ing the cen­tral role prin­ci­pals play with­in school environments.

To Learn More Email Marcus Petree

Mental Health Stigma Reduction: Look Around Boone (2016-Present)

To Learn More Email Aaron Thompson

The Look Around Boone (LAB) cam­paign is a com­mu­ni­ty-wide par­tic­i­pa­to­ry effort to cre­ate a social mes­sag­ing brand with the goal of reduc­ing stig­ma and increas­ing aware­ness and help-seek­ing for men­tal health-relat­ed con­cerns among Boone Coun­ty youth and fam­i­lies.  Based on a com­mu­ni­ty health assess­ment devel­oped uti­liz­ing the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Prevention’s Mobi­liz­ing for Action through Plan­ning and Part­ner­ships Mod­el, the county’s 2014–2018 com­mu­ni­ty health improve­ment plan iden­ti­fied youth behav­ioral health as a top pri­or­i­ty and the LAB cam­paign emerged as a key strategy. 

The LAB cam­paign con­tent was devel­oped in part­ner­ship with lead­ers from schools, com­mu­ni­ty men­tal health providers, pub­lic health offi­cials, researchers and col­lege stu­dents. Lat­er, as the con­tent was rolled into the com­mu­ni­ty, the LAB mes­sag­ing was pro­mot­ed through school-based pro­grams and com­mu­ni­ty efforts.


  • posters
  • art con­tests
  • coun­sel­ing curricula
  • writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tions with edu­ca­tors and parents/caregivers

Com­mu­ni­ty Efforts: 

  • social media
  • movie the­ater previews

STARS: Self-Monitoring Training Program for Students (2015-Present)/SMARTS (2020-Present)


Self-Mon­i­tor­ing Train­ing and Reg­u­la­tion Strat­e­gy (STARS) is an Insti­tute of Edu­ca­tion­al Sci­ences (IES) fund­ed study inves­ti­gat­ing the STARS inter­ven­tion with fifth grade stu­dents who exhib­it dis­rup­tive class­room behav­iors. Stu­dents in this inter­ven­tion com­plete a nine-les­son cur­ricu­lum with the school guid­ance coun­selor and take part in a peri­od of self-mon­i­tor­ing tar­get­ing spe­cif­ic dis­rup­tive behaviors.

The goal of this study is to see whether this inter­ven­tion can improve stu­dent behav­ior, social and emo­tion­al learn­ing skills, and aca­d­e­m­ic per­for­mance. The pro­gram tar­gets students’:

  • social-aware­ness
  • self-aware­ness
  • self-man­age­ment
  • rela­tion­ship
  • prob­lem-solv­ing skills

Tak­ing place in Colum­bia Pub­lic Schools, STARS is mea­sured against an exist­ing suc­cess­ful behav­ior inter­ven­tion called Check In Check Out.

To Learn More Email Toby Mills


An exten­sion to this study was fund­ed in 2019 fol­low­ing-up on the stu­dents who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the STARS inter­ven­tion who are now in 7th or 9th  grades. The pri­ma­ry goal of this exten­sion is to exam­ine the long-term impact of the STARS inter­ven­tion on stu­dent social, emo­tion­al, and behav­ioral func­tion­ing. By con­duct­ing inter­views and behav­ioral obser­va­tions, this goal is fur­thered by exam­in­ing dif­fer­ences in all orig­i­nal study out­comes, for instance, aca­d­e­mics, changes in auton­o­my, and engage­ment. Addi­tion­al­ly, this fol­low-up includes oth­er devel­op­men­tal risk fac­tor ques­tions that are of con­cern as youth grow into ado­les­cent and teens such as vio­lence and aggres­sion, use of alco­hol, tobac­co, and oth­er drugs

Boone County School Mental Health Coalition (2015-Present)

To Learn More Email Wendy Reinke

The Boone Coun­ty Schools Men­tal Health Coali­tion (BCSMHC) is a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tive study, fund­ed by the Boone Coun­ty Children’s Ser­vices Fund. It is con­duct­ed among Boone County’s six inde­pen­dent school dis­tricts, sev­er­al pri­vate schools, and the Mis­souri Pre­ven­tion Sci­ence Insti­tute (MPSI) at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­souri. Fund­ed by Boone Coun­ty tax, BCSMHC pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive sys­tem for school-based men­tal health ser­vices includ­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, pre­ven­tion, and intervention. 

BSCMHC’s  overall goal:

The imple­men­ta­tion of a coun­ty-wide assess­ment sys­tem to gath­er data on risk fac­tors that are pre­dic­tive of poor school, men­tal health, and life out­comes, and using these data to guide the imple­men­ta­tion of evi­dence-based pre­ven­tion and inter­ven­tion efforts. In addi­tion to this, BCSMHC pro­vides pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment to school per­son­nel in prac­tices that are shown to improve school cli­mate and stu­dent outcomes.

FACE: Family Access Center of Excellence (2016-Present)

Fam­i­ly Access Cen­ter of Excel­lence (FACE) is a cen­ter, fund­ed by the Boone Coun­ty Children’s Ser­vices Fund, pro­vid­ing free access to men­tal health ser­vices for fam­i­lies with chil­dren from 0–19 years old for the res­i­dents of Boone Coun­ty. The over­all goal is to enhance the qual­i­ty of social, emo­tion­al, and behav­ioral health ser­vices for youth and their imme­di­ate fam­i­ly. FACE imple­ments qual­i­ty assess­ments, non-con­flict case man­age­ment, and com­mu­ni­ty-based refer­rals to iden­ti­fy and meet the needs of families. 

To Learn More Email Aaron Thompson