February 2022


Helpful tips for programs for middle of the school year activities

It is hard to believe that February is already here! Programmatically, the “middle” of the year can bring about a flurry of activities. There is often lots to do and lots happening all at the same time. 

This includes screening that is taking place, mid-year conferences with teachers to discuss student progress from Cycle 1, making determinations of who will be “graduating” from the program, and meeting with teachers who have just completed mid-year screening and identifying a new group of students to participate in Primary Project for Cycle 2. Here are some helpful considerations to keep in mind:

  • Leadership of the school based mental health professional remains important!  School based mental health professionals have the clinical expertise to facilitate mid-year conferences and hear where students have made progress and make determinations around who is ready to be graduated from Primary Project. Additionally, those selection conferences are equally as important for the same reason! Hearing about a student’s school adjustment difficulties and whether or not they are appropriate for a tier 2 intervention like Primary Project.  
  • Saying “goodbye” is hard to do! Remember those early sessions with students and how important it was to build those relationships with students in Primary Project? Now the time has come to say “goodbye” as they “graduate” or end their time in the program. It is natural for both students and child associates to not want this special relationship to end. Embrace this as an opportunity to model healthy goodbyes. Some things to keep in mind:

a. Countdown sessions with students as you are nearing the end. “John – you will be coming to the playroom three more times.” Look for the child’s feelings and be prepared to reflect. For example, “you really wish you had many more times to come to the playroom.” Or “you have enjoyed your time here, you wish it would never end.” You can also remind students that while they won’t be coming to the playroom, you will continue to see them in school and when you do you can wave, give high fives, elbow bumps (whatever works for you!).  

b. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This relationship has been meaningful for children, and they will remember their experience in Primary Project. Some child associates feel compelled to leave students with a parting gift which is not necessary! The gift of time and your presence is what was needed and is a gift in itself. We do have Certificates of Completion available.

c. Supervision is essential! Maintaining weekly supervision so that child associates may process their own feelings around saying goodbye is important.  

  • Best practices rubric indicates to meet the standard for number of children served, a 15 hour/week child associate can see about 9-11 students. To exceed the standard, it is 12 students. To review this indicator, you can access the rubric here.  
  • Reassess your program timeline and make adjustments where needed! Most likely your team may have developed a timeline early in the year. This timeline included things like when you may end Cycle 1, a target start date for Cycle 2, etc.  This is a good time to review your timeline from now until the end of the year and make changes as needed!

Remember, if you have questions feel free to reach out to your program consultant (Shelley, Mary Carol, or Lynn)!

COMET Highlights

Report Enhancements: The T and P values will be added to the T-CRS Percentile report and a new A-CRS Percentile report.

  • t – expresses the size of the difference between two groups (Count 1 and Count 2) or the amount of change in one group between an earlier time point and a later time point.
  • p – expresses the likelihood that the difference/change reported (t) may be due solely to chance rather than participating in the program; lower p-values provide stronger support for program effects. For example, a p of .10 on a TCRS scale indicates a 10% likelihood the pre-post change is due to chance and not to Primary Project. For counts of 30 or more, we recommend that you consider findings to be statistically significant when the p is .05 or lower. For counts of 15-30, a p of .10 or lower may be considered significant and for counts of 10-15, a p of .20 may be considered significant. Counts below 10 are inadequate for testing.  

This is in addition to Effect Size which currently exists on the reports and can be used with smaller counts to determine the size of change.

Price Increase: To keep COMET growing with new, talented, support staff and software engineers, there will be a small percentage increase in the COMET licensing costs for the 2022-2023 school year. Contact Support@comet4children.com for more information and an updated pricing sheet for your school.  

Do More with COMET:  Did you know you have access to over 400 instruments, surveys, and questionnaires (not to mention the ability to create custom tools) just by being a COMET user? COMET has the Brigance, Ages and Stages Questionnaire, DESSA, Child Observation Record, and many more tools to help you create better outcomes for the children in your school. Contact Support@comet4children.com to learn more!

As always, we appreciate all our partners and are available for any questions or to help at any time. Contact us at Support@comet4children.com

Research efforts and how you can participate if your school is interested

The randomized-controlled trial (RCT) to study the effect of Primary Project on children’s social emotional adjustment is well under way. There are 9 schools participating in this research project. Even with the challenges schools are grappling with as the public health crisis continues, the study team is delighted with how well school teams have obtained informed consent from parents and caregivers allowing their children to participate. 

If you would like to hear more about this exciting research project or if your school is interested in taking part during the 2022-2023 school year please contact Lynn Smith (lsmith@childrensinstitute.net) or Shelley Sanyshyn (ssanyshyn@childrensinstitute.net).

A request for photos from programs!

We are looking for Primary Project schools to submit photos that could be used in our Primary Project materials such as website, written materials, etc. Work with your district photographer and if you would like to submit a photo or two here’s what we need:

  • Photos that represent a typical playroom session between the child associate and student.
  • Photos should be high resolution, 300 DPI or above, in both horizontal and vertical dimensions.
  • Photographer should arrange subjects fairly close together (use tight framing) to allow for cropping in printed materials.
  • Please ask child associate and the child’s parent (guardian) to sign our consent form (not needed if covered by school policy/blanket permissions)

Photos can be sent to Mary Maiolo, Senior Graphics Coordinator.