Grants Office Update: May 2020

Principal Investigator: Tracy Larson
Department: Office of Child Development 
Project Title: Healthy Child
Agency Name: Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburgh Board of Education
Award Dates: 01/31/20 – 08/31/20 
Amount: $152,000 (Total for all awards)


HC Connected for EHS-CCPs: Budget = $45,000

HealthyCHILD will develop electronic resources and implement innovative technological approaches (video modeling, virtual meetings, email and texting) to increase professional communication between the HC DHC and the Childcare teachers, ease the scheduling of appointments and most importantly increase the DHC’s ability to follow up after classroom visits to give feedback, send resources and provide additional targeted education/consultation. We will scaffold the use of technology onto the existing HC tiered approach, to support teachers in creating a healthy space and in using best practice in the area of Social Emotional Development and Support. These new, innovative uses of technology will enable HC to provide consultation to childcare administrators, teachers and parents in a flexible way that best meets their needs. In addition, to extend our reach, HealthyCHILD will train the education coaches how to use of the resources to enhance their coaching.


HealthyCHILD EHS Teen Parent Support at Brashear: Budget = $50,000

HealthyCHILD will collaborate with the family service specialist and teen elect program at PPS EHS at Brashear High School to plan and offer 6 sessions Positive Parenting Group for the teen parents. HealthyCHILD will work closely with EHS staff to schedule the groups and plan a tentative outline of topics based on pre-existing and self-identified needs of the parents and the evidence-based curriculum. The group is designed to provide systematic self-identified parent support and evidence-based positive parenting practices. The group is not intended to replace the already existing and very valuable weekly teen ELECT Advisory Meetings (EHS) or the monthly parent meetings by Family Support Specialists, instead it is an added support group that will build on the already important work completed by the Teen ELECT Advocates and Family Support Specialists. These groups can be linked to the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework outcomes of “Family Connection to Peers and Community", “Positive Parent-Child Relationships” and “Families as Lifelong Educators.”

In addition, HealthyCHILD will utilize cell phone technology to provide teen parents with video clips of their child interacting with his/her teacher, engaging in play, story time and mealtime. Sharing the video clips will help support their child’s learning and growing and increase the parent’s connection with the teachers and HealthyCHILD DHC.Each week, the DHC will spend approximately 5-10 minutes with the child’s parent reviewing and discussing the video clips. All video clips will display positive skills and interactions between the child and the child’s teacher. Consent for participation is required.


HealthyCHILD EC: Budget = $57,000

SEL (Social Emotional Learning) 2.0: Budget = $15,000

HealthyCHILD will facilitate SEL 2.0, a collaborative project designed in partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools Early Childhood Program Leadership. SEL 2.0 has two broad purposes: (1) improving the skills and knowledge of educators through collaborative study, expertise exchange, and professional dialogue, and (2) improving the educational aspirations, achievement, and attainment of children through stronger leadership and teaching. This group uses an improvement science framework as a way to continually question, reevaluate, refine, and improve professional strategies, practice and knowledge related to social emotional development and support. Participants apply to be part of the cohort and commit to participating in 3 workshops, 4 individual coaching sessions, creating and implementing an action plan, and sharing what they’ve learned with their peers. This intentional school-improvement strategy was designed to reduce professional isolation, foster greater collaboration, and spread the expertise and insights of individuals throughout their school and the district.


Positive Parenting Groups: $42,000

HealthyCHILD will collaborate with PPS EC Family Support Specialists to implement four 10-session Positive Parenting Groups, enrolling up to a total of 50 parents of children ages 3-5. The groups are designed and implemented in partnership to provide systematic self-identified parent support and training on evidence-based positive parenting practices. These groups can be linked to the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework outcomes of “Family Connection to Peers and Community", “Positive Parent-Child Relationships” and “Families as Lifelong Educators. The first goal is to create a relationship-based peer group that develops trust and support between each member and utilizes components of Motivational Interviewing (MI) strategies. The second goal is to support the use of evidence-based parenting practices related to the self-identified needs of each parent. The third goal is to integrate mindfulness practices in the groups for both parents and children. HC will work closely with EC staff to schedule groups and plan a tentative outline of topics based on pre-existing and self-identified needs of the parents and the evidence-based curriculum.