Family Portrait

Partners in Prevention (PiP) 
Proven prevention programs equip students with skills that  not only help them avoid drugs and alcohol, but also help improve their academic achievement, attendance, classroom behavior, and social and emotional wellbeing. These programs can also help reduce bullying and violence.


Evidence-BASED prevention programs help students avoid substance use and improve other outcomes as well

66%    Less likely to initiate use of heroin, crack and cocaine*

28%    Less likely to smoke long term**

66%    Less likely to initiate use marijuana long term**

15%    Lower absenteeism***

51%    Higher math scores on state tests***

18%    More likely to graduate high school*

41%    More likely to attend college*

32%    Drop in delinquency**

26%    Drop in fighting**


In 2019, Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL) launched a 3-year grant initiative to help La Porte County schools identify, implement, and sustain proven substance use prevention programs. All schools in La Porte County (accredited, K-12 public, parochial, and private schools) were invited to apply for grant dollars to help them plan and implement evidence-based programs.  


HFL’s Board of Directors has committed over $2.5 million for planning, implementation, technical assistance to the schools, and a full evaluation of outcomes. HFL has contracted Education Development Center (EDC) as the Technical Assistance (TA) provider that assisted schools during the planning phase and is now helping with the implementation phase of the initiative.  The TA providers were chosen due to their expertise in assisting schools implement evidence-based programs as intended (with fidelity) by the curriculum developers. The professional evaluation firm, RTI International (RTI) has been contracted to annually, over the course of three years, evaluate programming effectiveness and delivery of programming as intended, which is critical to successful translation of evidence-based interventions into practice.

HFL is interested in learning about the overall impact of Partners in Prevention, and the effects on related youth risk and protective factors. These factors determine how drug use begins and how it progresses.  At the end of the third year, Partners in Prevention is projected to serve 13,000 students, across 11 school systems, and 37 individual school buildings in La Porte County.

Our Model

In 2018, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation committed more than $10.2 million to 151 Indianapolis schools delivering proven prevention programs to 71,112 students by the 2020-2021 school year. This funding is helping to implement evidence-based prevention programs in public and accredited private K-12 schools in Marion County. Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation has kindly permitted HFL to adopt the main components of their initiative, and we thank them for their support.


Planning & Implementation Grants

HFL awarded planning grants of up to $10,000 to all La Porte County school systems, and private and parochial schools to investigate and learn about evidence-based prevention programs.  Planning grants were awarded on a non-competitive basis, meaning that all schools that met eligibility criteria and applied received a planning grant.

Twelve schools received planning grants in March 2019 and were provided access to expert technical assistance from EDC who provided step-by-step technical assistance to help: 1) identify the proven, age-appropriate prevention program(s) that best meet(s) the needs of each applicant’s students, staff, and school environment and 2) help ensure planning grant recipients carefully think through the steps required for successful program implementation and continued sustainability.

Schools participating in Partners in Prevention applied for implementation grants in late spring of 2019 to begin implementing their chosen evidence-based substance use prevention program. Schools began their selected programs in fall 2019 and will continue over the course of three years (August 2019-June 2022). Schools awarded implementation grants will continue to receive support from EDC and RTI throughout the three-year grant period to support program delivery, data collection, and evaluate the impact of their programs on their individual schools.



Grant Award Recipients


We are excited to introduce the private, parochial, and public school systems that are participating in Partners in Prevention.

Progress & Successes, Year 1


HFL is committed to evaluating the outcomes of Partners in Prevention.  RTI will evaluate 1) the impact and benefit of the initiative, and 2) identify early challenges to provide additional support to address these issues moving forward and improve quality of delivery.

Evaluation Design

RTI’s evaluation design for Year 1 consisted of the evaluation of process measures and outcome measures.

Process measures collected from:

  • Grant director surveys (12)

  • Grant director interviews (12)

  • Implementer surveys (298)

Outcome measures collected from:

  • Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) data

  • Statistics from data that grantees collected


Happy Kids with Books



And finally, what was the impact of COVID-19.  Surveys were distributed before COVID was an issue, so we don’t have survey data about it’s impact. However, grant directors were interviewed just as schools were shutting down in the spring. The surveys did not have any interview questions specific to COVID, but every grant director mentioned that COVID affected their program implementation in some way.

One said:

“We were on top of things, and we knew what to expect. We were actually really excited about the implementation of the spring semester because we felt really confident, and then COVID happened.”

We know that this pandemic is a continuing challenge for schools this year, and we’ll be able to ask more specific questions about that in the Spring 2021 implementer and grant director surveys.

Overview and Year 1 Learning

We are delighted to share an overview of Partners in Prevention impact at scale, timeline for implementation, and lessons learned.  Additionally, our infographic outlines the reasons why we clearly support a need for purposeful intervention in schools and these proven programs set the path for student success now and into their future.

Infographic PDF Download


Home School

At the time of their survey, which happened over March and April 2020, only 11% of implementers had completed implementation with all or some of their students. However, an additional 56% of implementers were on track to complete implementation by the end of the school year. In total, we expected about 2/3 of implementers to complete program delivery by the end of the school year.  Implementers had positive attitudes about programming.


In terms of program impact, it’s early in the initiative (1st year) for us to have hard numbers about whether Partners in Prevention is having positive impact in schools. We will gather data about that as the initiative moves along into years 2 and 3. However, in Year 1, schools at Pre-K through grade 12 levels reported positive changes in how students interacted and behaved, both with their peers and with their teachers.

The data presented by the evaluation of Year 1 yielded several insights that will guide quality improvement efforts on the part of schools, grantees, technical assistance providers, and HFL moving into Year 2.  


These include:

  1. Achieve the greatest impact by improving implementer training, oversight, and the delivery of curriculum as intended by the curriculum developers.

  2. Better embed programs into the school communities, such as among non-implementer staff, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and parents.

  3. Use the expert technical assistance providers contracted by HFL to increase student engagement, comprehension, and modeling of the curriculum concepts outside the classroom.

  4. Build buy-in by encouraging grantees to reach out to community stakeholders including parents and other caregivers, county and city leadership, school staff (bus drivers, school nurse, coachers, custodial staff), non-profit organizations and agencies, businesses and chambers, social service organizations (Rotary International and Kiwanis) healthcare, and to share their successful outcomes.

  5. Collect meaningful data to demonstrate changes in academic achievement, emotion management, attendance, perceived risk of substance use, and disciplinary events.



Year 2, Everyone In!

Year 2 of PiP implementation continues in either virtual, in-person or hybrid learning environments, changing from week to week depending upon the county’s COVID-19 status.  Challenges are heavy for implementers and grant directors in schools, however now is not the time to move away from social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculums.

Today, intentionally embedding SEL curriculum and activities in the classroom to enable students and teachers to heal is critical.  These evidence-based programs will help to instill a growth mindset in students and give them multiple opportunities to practice skills that will prepare them for success beyond COVID-19.

Even though times are tough, let’s continue to implement PiP curriculum. Decades of research studies demonstrate the following benefits of SEL.

  • Improvement in students’ social and emotional skills, attitudes, relationships, academic performance, and perceptions of classroom and school climate.

  • Decline in students’ anxiety, behavior problems, and substance use.

  • Long-term improvements in students’ skills, attitudes, prosocial behavior, and academic performance.

  • Wise financial investment according to cost-benefit research

    Source: Casel.org/what-is-sel

Connection to College & Career Readiness

As discussed, PiP delivers prevention programs that integrate evidence-based social-emotional learning curricula. We already know that research shows that social-emotional learning has a positive impact on student achievement.  But it also has a positive impact on employability and overall mental well-being.

Forbes reports the 10 skills employers most desire in graduates, and ranked these 4 at the top:

  1. Work in a team

  2. Solve problems

  3. Make decisions

  4. Communicate

Of 16 critical 21st-century skills, 12 are social-emotional skills.



Key Takeaway

For students to be prepared for future success, they need academic achievement AND social-emotional development.

Sources: Adams, S. (2014, November 12 and Soffel, J. (2016, March 10). What are the 21st-century skills every student needs? World Economic Forum; and https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/03/21st-century-skills-future-jobs-students/


See also World Economic Forum. (2016, March). New vision for education: Fostering social and emotional learning through technology. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_New_Vision_for_Education.pdf) for purposeful intervention in schools and these proven programs set the path for student success now and into their future.



February 2021 Webinar Slides (download)

Resources and Documents


Contact Mary Wellnitz with questions or for more information about this school prevention initiative.