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Future Kids NYC Ripple Effects
Ripple Effects develops, supports and continually tests an integrated set of technology-oriented products to reduce injury, increase academic success, and strengthen pro-social behavior among children and the adults who work with them.
Ripple Effects
Relate for Kids
Relate for Teens
Three Tiered Behavioral Support
Teaching Coach
Pre-Referral Interventions
  Three Tiered Behavioral Support
  Universal Promotion
  Evidence of effectiveness
  Targeted Prevention
  Individualized Intervention
  Scope and Sequence
Thanks to their broad content base, modular structure, and flexible learning system, you can use Ripple Effects social learning programs in a range of settings, to achieve a range of outcomes, in a range of ways. Unlike many pre-scripted programs, there are many "right ways" to use them.

Your goals, time constraints, computers available, number of students, and other factors, will all shape the most effective way to use the programs. Think of them as Lego™ sets, where you can combine the elements in different ways to meet your individual needs.

Who they're for

The range of youth-serving adults and educators are using Ripple Effects software-after-school program facilitators, counselors, health educators, in-school suspension coordinators, mental health specialists, mentors, nurses, parents, peer facilitators, police officers, prevention specialists, probation officers, psychologists, teachers, vice principals.

What they're for
  • for independent problem-solving, to prompt disclosure and catalyze communication;
  • for targeted intervention, to solve an immediate problem, at teachable moments;
  • as a long-term, systematic curricula to meet specific outcomes, such as reductions in truancy, reductions in substance abuse, improved behavior, fewer discipline referrals, better grades, greater respect, improved school climate, etc.

How they're used and sample scenarios

  • where you need them-throughout the school and in the community
  • how you need them-independently by the learner, one-on-one with adult facilitation, and in groups;
  • how long you need them for-minutes, hours, or days.

Universal Promotion Positive Youth Development

Strength-building programs

Positive youth development programs are all those programs in schools and community organizations, based on universal strength-building as a way to prepare youth for the challenges of adulthood in a rapidly changing world. They may be sports, religious or social programs; they may be school-based or community-based efforts. They may involve training teachers, training students, or supporting and training parents.

Preventing risky behavior won’t guarantee success
Avoiding school failure and staying off drugs and out of fights does not, and never will, equal personal and professional success.

Problem-free does not mean fully prepared. What is needed is a massive conceptual shift — from thinking that youth problems are merely the principal barrier to youth development, to thinking that youth development serves as the most effective strategy for the prevention of youth problems (Pittman, 1991).

Exciting but volatile world is context
Today’s youth will enter adulthood in a world that is dramatically different from anything their parents or teachers have previously experienced. For the first time in the history of the world, large numbers of people will live in a social and political context that is both free and diverse. Making this exciting, but potentially volatile, combination work for them will require a more sophisticated set of personal and social skills than ever has been required before.

Evidence of effectiveness

Positive outcomes

Some, but not all, positive youth development programs have been shown to be effective. That is, the evidence shows a link to positive outcomes, including better school attendance, higher academic performance, healthier peer and adult interactions, improved decision-making abilities, and less substance use and risky sexual behavior (Catalano 2002).

Value of consistency and adaptation
Research has shown that having a method to maintain implementation consistency from group to group, or site to site, is important to program success (Catalano). However, research has also shown that the ability to adapt a program to site-specific opportunities and constraints is necessary for long terms sustainability (Backer, Brounstein, 2002). The capacity to offer both fidelity and adaptation may account for the unprecedented success of Ripple Effects computer-based programs for promotion, prevention and intervention (Ray 2000, Stern and Repa, 2002, Roona, 2004, De Long, 2006).

How much time is needed?
Experts agree that programs require sufficient time for evidence of behavior change to occur, and to be measured. In general, long term programs are more effective than one shot programs for universal promotion (Greenberg, 2002). However, a single dose of intervention has been shown to be very effective when individualized to a particular student, facing a particular challenge. What the minimum effective dosage is has not been empirically proven. Several major universal promotion programs are designed for continuous delivery over a full school year. However, few school districts have the time to devote a whole year to such a program, so flexibility in program design is important.

Ripple Effects as stand alone or supplement
Ripple Effects training software for teens and middle elementary students has been shown to be an effective supplement for a range of research-based programs. It has also successfully been used as a stand-alone, long-term continuous program for positive youth development.

Targeted Prevention: Addressing Risk Factors

Ripple Effects evidence-based technology makes it easier

Educators are increasingly being asked to provide targeted prevention education in dozens of non-academic areas that affect today’s students. The problem areas can broadly be divided into:
  • health related issues, like substance abuse, PTSD and depression
  • personal safety issue, like bullying, gang violence, physical & sexual abuse
  • school achievement issues, from truancy, to test phobia, to teacher conflict

School failure, behavioral problems and substance abuse and other health issues have been shown to be inter-dependent variables that can be linked to each other, as well as to common external risk factors, such as family discipline patterns, mental health problems, poverty, and community violence.

In some cases, substance abuse leads to problem behaviors, and problem behavior leads to school failure. In others, school failure leads to substance abuse, and substance abuse leads to problem behavior. In still others, anti-social behavior leads to school failure, which in turn leads to substance abuse. Individual mental health problems, especially PTSD and depression, may trigger any, or all, of the three responses. Regardless of which is the first presenting problem, they commonly are enmeshed and almost always are related to deeper personal, family and community issues, which also need to be somehow addressed.

Proven effective prevention strategies

A range of school-based programs have been developed to separately affect anti-social behavior (Michelson, 1987), school failure (Eggert, 1994; Slavin, 1994), and substance abuse (Tobler, 1992) among adolescents. Strategies involving components of these programs have demonstrated effectiveness in changing adolescent behavior and/or attitudes. (Gottfredson, Gottfredson & Skroban, 1996).

A meta analysis of hundreds of evidence based practices, show that effective strategies to prevent anti-social behavior include Cognitive, Behavioral, Interpersonal, Social skill and Attention training as well as personal Counseling. (Lipsey 2007)

But few teachers have been trained in the huge body of relevant evidence-based practices EVP) for prevention. Fewer still have the skills to individualize the application of EVP to the particular needs of each child. And an expanding list of requirements for academic instruction and testing leaves little time to fit in the long list of prevention subjects.

Teachers need a comprehensive set of already prepared, prevention programs, with full multi-media capacity, that are reading independent, allow tracking of student progress, and can be adapted to real world time constraints, without compromising fidelity to EVP.  Ripple Effects provides that for

Suicide, Depression
Substance Abuse
PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
Obesity and Eating disorders

Abuse Physical & Sexual
Dating Violence
Bias Offenses
Online Exploitation
Sexual Harassment

Academic Failure

For more information contact us.

Prevention efforts are often divided into three levels
Primary prevention at the individual student level involves universal promotion of abilities that have been shown to be protective factors for health, safety and academic achievement. Such programs go by various names, such as character education, asset building, positive youth development and social emotional competence. Instructions for using Ripple Effects software for primary prevention with both students and teachers) are included in a separate manual, entitle “Universal Promotion Guide.”

Secondary prevention targets people who have internal or external factors that put them at risk for less than optimal health, safety or school outcomes. These factors exist in every domain: individual (lack of empathy, emotional regulation, self-efficacy or impulse control), peers (friends who cut school, use drugs, disdain authority, mock school success), family, (parental mental health, substance abuse, discipline and communication patterns) school, (school climate, consistency of discipline), community (poverty, violence), and social structures, such as racism and institutionalized gender or class bias.  This is the level of prevention covered by this guide.

Individualized Intervention


Ripple Effects software is a resource for use as positive, targeted intervention with individual students in a variety of learning, health and corrections settings. It can complement other ongoing approaches, methodologies, strategies and interventions being used. The combined elementary and teen products have more than 500 inter-linking tutorials that address social, emotional, behavioral and academic issues that can interfere with school and life success. Using this program effectively is as simple as these four steps:

1. Identify a student strength that can be a foundation for growth.
Have each student complete the self-profile under the ”learning style” topic. For students, understanding how they learn most easily is a first step in recognizing how they can be successful learners. You can also have them complete the tutorial entitled “strengths,” which includes a self-profile.

2. Direct them to the issue that has caused immediate concern.
The topic lists include more than a hundred behavioral infractions recognized at most school districts (from talking back, to cheating, fighting, hate crimes, etc.) It also includes health and mental health issues that students face. The multimedia tutorial for each topic automatically leads students to training in social-emotional competencies that are correlated with solving the identified concerns. Simply tell them to follow the underlined words in the illustrations on the “how to” screens. These will link them to the appropriate skill training.

3. Have them seek out an underlying reason.
Students exhibit the same problem behavior for a variety of different reasons. Guessing or interrogating students about personal issues are NOT productive ways to find out those

reasons. Instead, ask students to scroll down the topic list to find something that interests them, or that they think could be connected to the underlying reason for the problem. Remind them the underlined links in illustrations will take them deeper. Trust their instincts to find what they need. In many cases, after using the program in private, students will then disclose the underlying problem to a trusting adult.

4. End with building strengths in a key social-emotional ability.
Present it as a process of empowerment, not punishment. The program organizes these key abilities into seven categories: self-understanding, assertiveness, empathy, connection to community, impulse control, management of feeling, and decision-making. They are broken down into building blocks of more than a hundred micro tutorials.


For each topic allow about 15 minutes. A 45-minute session generally allows three topics. A module made up of multiple topics can be spread out, or compressed to fit a range of time constraints. For instance, with 15 minutes per day, for two weeks, teachers could cover a ten-topic module. A counselor could address those same topics in a two and a half hour continuous session. A case manger might cover them in eight, 45 minute weekly sessions over a semester.

Choose a mode of facilitation. “Sessions” can consist of a group assignment with discussion, or the assignment of individual topic(s) to each student without discussion, or discussion after completion. They can be completed whenever and wherever a student has access to a computer where the software is installed. Alternately, you can closely direct a personal session. Sessions can also consist of a combination of independent exploration and directed discussion.

Respect student privacy. Again and again we have seen that students are more open to the program when they can explore it privately.

Do not over direct how students use the program. There is no right or wrong way for a student to complete a particular topic. They do not need to use each available button or proceed from left to right. However each student needs to complete the interactive “Got It” and “Inside Your Mind” and “Profile” elements for every topic assigned. Monitor completion of the assigned topics by checking the student scorecard. See your user manual for complete directions.

Maintain a positive approach. Whether in counseling, discipline or remedial settings, whenever possible, start with a strength and end with a strength.

Note: These plans have been developed with real world users in real world settings, with the input from child psychiatrists, special education experts, school nurses, psychologists, teachers, parents, administrators and disciplinarians. Nonetheless they are offered as suggested approaches, not required curriculum. They need to be interpreted and adapted to meet the needs of your students in your unique circumstance.

Creating your Scope and Sequence

It is not necessary to have a pre-defined, specific scope and sequence
A scope and sequence is built into every topic through the interlocking hyperlink structure. Once you set a student on the process of investigating a concern or interest, the software will guide them deeper to necessary skill building. Being able to customize the scope and sequence is an added benefit, not a requirement for using the program effectively.

Implementers can use already existing Individual Education Plans as their scope and sequence for students who have such a plan on record. For instance, if a student’s plan contains the goal of developing self-control, and/or greater success in managing feelings, simply assign the Ripple Effects tutorials on those topics as one resource to help meet that goal. Because the program records student completion of interactive exercises for each tutorial, you have an easy way to document the training each student has received.

A set of problematic behaviors may emerge around a recurring theme, such as defiance or impulsivity. In those cases, adult implementers may want a broader scope and sequence than is built into the links from a single tutorial. They can find additional ideas in the related topics text box (middle box on the right side of the screen) or can draw from the sample treatment plans that follow.

Discipline settings such as ISS may mandate a certain number of contact hours
ISS has a rolling enrollment and students are assigned for a variety of behavioral offenses. They have a variety of reasons for engaging in that behavior. Those overseeing ISS may feel they have neither the time nor the expertise to customize a themed curriculum for each student. Sample individual intervention plans make it easier to address these situations.

To maximize the effectiveness of the program, many educators want to go beyond responding to particular problems (targeted intervention), to comprehensive prevention that addresses risk and protective factors in multiple domains. Ideally they would also go beyond prevention to promoting positive youth development. This guide offers sample treatment plans for the first group. See accompanying guides for prevention and positive youth development ideas.

Content Sample Treatment Plans are available for these topics:

     Anger – cold predatory

     Anger – reactive

     Attention seeking/needy

     Bias activity/hate crimes


     Communicative disorder

     Cultural alienation



     Disruptive in class

     Disruptive on playground




     Poor judgment

     Rejected by peers

     Sexually harassing

     Spaced out/inattentive     




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  Ripple Effects
"One of the most exciting prevention resources available. There has never been such a comprehensive effort thoroughly based in research, creative and right on. Relate is a benchmark - a breakthrough that will mark a change in the way we do our prevention work."
Cordelia Anderson
Nationally Recognized Prevention
Leader and Consultant
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