Collaborative Capacity Building in Rural Nebraska Schools via Technology:Teachers and Parents as Partners


Project Information

Principal Investigator: Amanda Witte
Co-Principal Investigator: Susan Sheridan
Funding Agency: UNL - Rural Futures Institute
Award Date:
Theme: Rural Education, Social-Emotional & Behavioral Health, Families & Schools
Project URL: N/A

For more information please contact Amanda Witte at awitte2@unl.edu.

Abstract

Growing up in rural America affords children notable opportunities for positive lifetime trajectories. However, the presence of children’s mental health (i.e., behavioral, social-emotional) problems is salient within rural America where, relative to their urban counterparts, children are more likely to have a mental health problem, demonstrate significant behavior difficulties, and enter school with higher overall adjustment problems. Long-standing barriers to services in rural communities make access to treatment options challenging.

The specific purpose of this project is to establish collaborations between the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Education, and rural community stakeholders that will collectively build the capacity for addressing mental health disparities for rural children in Nebraska communities. We will do this by collaborating with local schools to help rural teachers and families work together in a highly acceptable, responsive, and practical collaborative problem-solving process known as Teachers and Parents as Partners (TAPP). Our team aims to:

  • Tailor the TAPP process to the unique needs of rural Nebraska communities 
  • Adapt TAPP training and coaching for distance technology, including Web platforms for training and coaching 
  • Provide training and coaching for local school specialists as they implement TAPP in their schools.

The expected outcomes of this project include significantly ameliorating mental and behavioral health problems that interfere with the achievement of rural Nebraska students. Specifically, we will establish preliminary efficacy of a technology-mediated training and coaching process as well as a partnership process led by local school specialists that will decrease the mental health services gap in rural Nebraska. Equally important for sustainability purposes, we are working with NDE and rural schools who will collaborate to establish goals, share resources, and evaluate progress of school-based programs.