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Be CALM Program Development & Research

Be CALM Priorities for Continuous Quality Improvement

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Fit & Feasibility

We collect ongoing stakeholder input from teachers, administrators, and school mental health staff that informs program training and development and implementation supports.

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Student Engagement

We regularly invite student feedback and use it to adapt the curriculum to be more culturally responsive, developmentally appropriate, engaging, and relevant for all students.

Image by Tim Mossholder


We examine student engagement and outcomes by race, ethnicity, and gender identity to inform program and curriculum adaptations and educator training.

Program Development & Research

More than 100 educators have been trained in the Be CALM Program. They include teachers, school counselors, school-based mental health clinicians, and administrators across 6 school districts in North Carolina. More than 30 teachers have delivered the curriculum to over 2,700 students in 6th – 9th grades. The program has been implemented in a variety in settings – in Health class as part of the standard course of study; in AVID electives, and in advisory.  

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2017 - 2018

Early development at UNC-Chapel Hill Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute funded by Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

2018 - 2019

Pilot test of the Be CALM program with over 400 6th to 8th grade students and 5 teachers across three school districts in North Carolina.

2019 - 2020

Randomized control trial conducted with 9 teachers and 447 middle schools from five schools in North Carolina.

2020 - 2021

Adaptation of the middle school program for 9th graders with support from DHHS's Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education program.

2021 - 2022

Pre-post pilot study with 95 9th graders enrolled in Advancement via Individualized Education (AVID) elective at four rural North Carolina high schools.


Development of a Tier 2 adaptation of Be CALM for implementation by middle school counselors with funding support from IES

Research Findings & Dissemination

In a small randomized controlled trial conducted in 2019 with 9 teachers and 447 middle schoolers from 5 NC schools:

  • Trained health/PE teachers reported less emotional burnout and greater mindfulness than comparison teachers and were observed to more frequently support students’ social-emotional skills. 

  • Due to scheduling constraints, teachers completed only 57% of required curriculum activities and only 42% of the recommended mindfulness practices. Based on this, we began pursuing other opportunities for when and where the program can be delivered.

  • Despite the limited program delivery, students with initial high stress levels improved their self-reported prosocial behavior as did male students. There were no differences in outcomes by grade level. 82% of students who participated gave specific examples of utilizing skills taught to improve their interpersonal interactions, stress, and sleep. 

In a pre-post pilot study with 95 9th graders enrolled in Advancement via Individualized Education (AVID) elective at four rural NC high schools:

  • Teachers delivered 88% of the 16 weekly lessons although the quality of delivery did not reach full competency for the majority of those delivering it for the first time.

  • Students reported increasing their emotion regulation and conflict resolution skills and decreasing bullying behaviors.

  • Students’ perceived relationship with their teacher predicted their engagement in the program, which was related to how much their emotional wellbeing increased.

Preliminary findings are being prepared for publication. Information about the program including implementation and outcomes has been presented at several conferences:

  • Advancing School Mental Health Conference

  • Mindfulness and Education Conference

  • Southeastern School Behavioral Health Conference

  • Society for Prevention Research

  • NC Career and Technical Education Conference

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