A closer look: Andy Garbacz using $4M grant to probe family-school partnership intervention

By WCER Communications

WCER researcher Andy Garbacz has received a grant of $4,000,000 from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) for a five-year project designed to test the efficacy of a family-school partnership intervention for elementary school students with social, emotional, or behavior concerns.

Andy Garbacz

Specifically, Garbacz’s project will measure results of the partnership intervention when school-based specialists implement the intervention, in comparison with prior studies that used research personnel in that role.

The research team will examine impacts of the intervention on student behavior, parent-teacher relationships, and parent and teacher practices, as well as factors that mediate or moderate those outcomes. Researchers also will study the implementation process to better understand what leads to optimal implementation and how stakeholders experience the intervention.

The project, titled “Systematic Replication Study of Conjoint Behavioral Consultation in Elementary Schools,” will continue through June 30, 2026.

Systematic replication studies vary one or more aspects of a previous study to create a better understanding of what interventions improve education outcomes and the conditions under which they likely will work best and for whom.

The family-school partnership intervention examined in this project is Teachers and Parents as Partners (also known as Conjoint Behavioral Consultation, or CBC). Teachers and Parents as Partners brings parents and teachers together to work collaboratively as they support a student’s social, emotional, and behavior competencies.

The research will take place in 60 elementary schools in urban and suburban schools. A total of 720 students, for an average of 12 students per school, in kindergarten to fourth grade who have social, emotional, or behavior concerns will be enrolled in the study in two consecutive cohorts, along with their parents and teachers. Each cohort of 720 students will be followed for two years.

Garbacz, an associate professor in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology at UW−Madison, also serves as co-director of the School Mental Health Collaborative.

His work focuses on family, school, and community partnerships to promote family well-being and youth mental health, with an emphasis on equity and cultural responsiveness. He is a licensed psychologist and licensed/certified school psychologist.

The U.S. Department of Education’s IES is the nation’s leading source for rigorous, independent education research, evaluation, and statistics.

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