Implementing Social Emotional Learning and Bullying Prevention Programs in Philadelphia Schools

The Challenge

Children need to feel safe at school before they can focus on learning, but a projected 10 to 25 percent of youth are affected by bullying each year. Research shows that bullying can lead poor school adjustment, behavioral problems, drug and alcohol use, delinquency, and mental and physical health challenges. Compounding this challenge is the fact that victims of bullying are more likely to have prior histories of abuse as well as higher rates of exposure to domestic and community violence.

While a number of low-cost, evidence-based prevention strategies are available to address these issues, successful implementation has been challenging at a time when many schools are facing limited resources and growing pressure to meet rigorous academic benchmarks. Schools too often lack the time and expertise to successfully implement the kinds of evidence-based models that could make a difference.

The Project

Through her Stoneleigh Fellowship, Lisa Jones worked to integrate evidence‐based approaches to bullying prevention and intervention with cost‐effective technology tools and implementation methods in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP).

This Stoneleigh Fellowship enabled Lisa to:

  • Identify district-level factors related to bullying prevention program implementation. Lisa compiled research on successful examples of bullying prevention programming and interviewed other large school districts about their implementation strategies.
  • Understand the factors that indicate a school’s readiness for implementing evidence-based programming. Lisa conducted research on a Second Step and Bullying Prevention Unit implementation pilot at six schools in Philadelphia. She gathered quantitative and qualitative data on the pilot, including discipline and academic statistics, school-wide student surveys on climate and safety, and teacher data on the fidelity of program implementation. She also collaborated with the SDP’s research office to administer a School Readiness Survey to elementary and middle school principals, collecting information on the range of prevention and safety efforts already taking place as well as school leaders’ perspectives on the benefits and barriers to implementing prevention programming.
  • Provide guidance to district and school leaders in Philadelphia around supporting and expanding bullying prevention programs. Lisa provided detailed recommendations to the SDP and each of the pilot schools on how to improve program implementation. Her findings were disseminated to national audiences to inform future research on bullying and violence prevention programming.
Lisa Jones's Headshot

Lisa M. Jones, PhD

Stoneleigh Fellow

2012 - 2015

Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire

Current Position

Research Associate Professor
Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire



Project Updates