Epworth Discovery Initiative
Epworth Children and Youth Services through a grant provided by the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund
IPP contracted with Epworth Children and Youth Services to conduct an evaluation of an adapted version of the Teen Outreach Program (TOP), and evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program. The TOP curriculum focuses on key social and emotional learning skills such as healthy relationships, value clarification, self-efficacy, decision making, and healthy life skills, and is designed to be implemented over a nine-month period. The long duration of the TOP program often results in low completion rates, as students frequently are absent, drop out, or relocate during the course of the program. The purpose of the Discovery Initiative is to determine whether the TOP curriculum can be adapted to be implemented in a school classroom setting over the course of one semester. The evaluation will include the 2014 fall semester, the 2015 spring semester, and the 2015 fall semester.
To conduct this program evaluation, IPP will compare outcomes between two high schools in the Ferguson, Missouri area which are located near each other and share similar demographic characteristics. One school will implement TOP into its existing health class curriculum, while health classes in the other school, which are not using TOP, will serve as the comparison. IPP program evaluators will collect administrative data related to students’ academic performance and disciplinary actions, and also conduct pre- and post-program surveys for both students and teachers. This data will be analyzed to determine whether the adapted TOP program is effective in improving classroom engagement, decreasing disruptive behaviors, increasing healthy behaviors, and improving academic achievement when compared to students in the comparison school.
The Institute of Public Policy completed three evaluation reports, including the final report issued in February 2016.