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TAPP Online: Efficacy of Virtual Professional Development in Rural Schools to Enhance Teacher-Parent Partnerships for Students with Behavioral Challenges

Research Team

Name Name Name

Principal Investigator: Susan Sheridan

Co-Principal Investigators: Amanda Witte, Lorey Wheeler

Funding Information

Funding Agency: Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

Award Date: Jul 1, 2021

End Date: Jun 30, 2026


Despite assets of rural schools, rural students are experiencing social-behavioral challenges at unprecedented rates, placing them at risk for long-term negative outcomes. Family-school interventions are effective at addressing social-behavioral and mental health needs across school and home, and are particularly relevant in rural settings. Professional development (PD) of rural practitioners in creating and fostering family partnerships for students with SED is a priority, yet current PD models are costly, inflexible and unsustainable.

This study aims to identify an effective PD approach to prepare consultants to implement Teachers and Parents as Partners (TAPP) to address challenges presented by rural students.

TAPP is a research-based, problem-solving and decision-making intervention developed by Sheridan and other Nebraska researchers that builds on student strengths and fosters collaboration among parents and teachers. It has been shown to enhance students’ academic, behavioral and social outcomes, and strengthen parent-teacher relationships.

The efficacy trial will include 30 rural school-based specialists, or consultants, in Nebraska and Colorado, and 240 students. Through the virtual professional development (VPD) platform — modules consisting of PowerPoint slides, video examples, practice guides and meeting protocols — consultants will learn about CBC’s principles and procedures associated with the development of family-school partnerships.

Along with the VPD platform, researchers aim to develop online coaching protocols — which will be shared with collaborating educators — and family-school behavioral toolkits comprised of several interventions and strategies. 

Rural Schools and Communities, Social, Emotional and Behavioral Well-being, Academic Intervention & Learning