In the first phase of the Aldrich Project, the School of Nursing led a comprehensive health assessment of Brown, Greene, Jackson, Lawrence, Monroe, Morgan, and Owen counties. The results of the assessment helped the project team identify community priorities for evidence-based interventions and opportunities for interprofessional health education and practice.
Based on the results of the assessment, a pilot project was implemented at Paragon Elementary School in fall 2016. “Say It Straight” is a communications assertiveness program that teaches elementary school children healthy ways to communicate with others. Six IU nursing students were trained to teach the curriculum, which they delivered during after-school programs.
Since then, the “Say It Straight” program has been expanded to include elementary and middle schools in five counties (Brown, Greene, Lawrence, Monroe, and Morgan), six school systems, thirteen schools, and five after-school programs. The program has been taught by 67 students in the IU School of Nursing, as well as 19 students in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, the School of Public Health, and the School of Social Work, to over 2,800 school-age students.
Beginning with the fall 2020 semester, the Aldrich Project is aligning with regional school systems to teach the Second Step curriculum to children in kindergarten through 8th grade. Second Step is a social emotional learning process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.