Andy Frey Does It Again! Research Funding at UofL’s Kent School of Social Work Hits Record High

It certainly is an exciting time to be involved with the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work, which is fulfilling the mission of the university to provide excellent education through research. Dr. Andy Frey, Program Coordinator for the specialization in School Social Work, has again successfully brought a new grant to fruition. This award yields $3,499,896 for collaborative First Step Interventional educational research. With this award and with the addition of the $3,496,998 award (also from the Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences), brought in the previous week, the Kent School records an all-time high of $20 million dollars awarded for research funding.

Frey’s recent grants will enable four years of collaborative research with the Oregon Research Institute and the University of Cincinnati, from 2015-2019. The purpose of these projects are to determine the efficacy of the Preschool First Step (PFS) and Tertiary First Step interventions for students with or at risk of developing behavior disorders in preschool/Head Start and grades K-3, respectively. The focus of the studies will be on improving social skills and academic engaged time, and improving social competency skills related to school success.

“First Step” is a collaborative home and school intervention program delivered by a behavioral coach that is geared for regular classroom settings, and designed to help at-risk children get off to the best start possible in their school careers.

PFS includes a classroom management component, a school component, and parental engagement activities. Sixteen preschool centers (8 in Oregon and 8 in Kentucky will be recruited to participate in each of three years.  One child from each classroom will be recruited to participate, and centers will be randomly assigned to the PFS or business as usual comparison group. Children from the PSF intervention group will also receive a booster in kindergarten.

TFS intervention is similar, but is designed for children with more severe behavior, and has a more robust home component. For this project, Dr. Frey and his team will recruit 100 teachers/children/families in 16 elementary schools (grades k-3) across participating districts (JCPS, Oldham, and Greater Clark) per year. After four years, 400 teachers/students/families in 64 elementary schools will have participated. After consent is obtained from teachers and parents, participants will be randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (a) home and school components, (b) school component only, (c) home component only, or (d) business as usual/comparison. Outcomes will include teacher and parent reported measures of social skills and problem behavior and direct observation of student behavior in the classroom setting.

These collaborative research projects will give Kent School students enrolled in the School Social Work specialization unparalleled educational opportunities for participation in unique hands-on research at participating locations.

These dynamic educational research opportunities for students at the Kent School truly are second to none. Very few similarly sized schools of social work around the country have been so prolific with awards for educational research. It is truly an honor for both faculty and students alike at the Kent School of Social Work to be making such a dramatic impact on the lives of future generations in communities across the country.

In a note sent to the staff and faculty, Terri Singer, dean of Kent School said: “It is a great time to be a Kent School grad student and a member of the Kent School team. But let me add, it is good to be Andy Frey! Great job.”

Although the specialization in School Social Work is offered only on campus, students who live within driving distance from UofL and are enrolled in the online Master of Science in Social Work often attend courses in this specialization.

Visit the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work program page to learn more about the many educational opportunities, both traditional and online, that the prestigious Kent School has to offer for you. To see the online social work offerings, visit: