Model Program

Ripple Effects Whole Spectrum Intervention System

33 New Montgomery Street
Suite 1210
San Francisco, CA 94105

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Contact Information:
Ms. Alice A. Ray
President & CEO

Program Specification:






Strong Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

Middle School
High School

Inner City

Grade Level
School Wide


Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities


The Ripple Effects Whole Spectrum Intervention System (WSIS) is an integrated, technology-enabled system for effective, personalized, culturally competent, tiered interventions to address non-academic factors in school and life success. It is designed to enable youth-serving organizations to provide evidence-based, scalable, sustainable interventions to meet the diverse, individual needs of the whole spectrum of today's youth, in a whole spectrum of site-specific circumstances, with special attention to youth most at risk of school failure and related negative outcomes. Backed by decades of research and proven effective in 11 scientific studies, the WSIS integrates an accessible, multi-modal learning system, assessment, expert guidance, progress monitoring, professional development, and implementation support, all delivered through a comprehensive suite of software, print, video, and web-based tools and resources. The system is used in 500+ school districts across the U.S., both as a stand-alone intervention, and as a supplement to existing programs.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, Alternative Education, Attendance/Truancy, Behavior Management/Discipline, Bullying/Violence, Career Education, Computer Assisted Instruction, Counseling/Advisories/Coaches, Extended-School/Summer Program, Family/Parental Involvement, Homeless, Literacy Development, Mentoring/Tutoring, Professional Development, Students with Disabilities, Study Skills, Substance Abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Virtual Learning, Life Skills Training

Strategies for Locating Students:

Starting Date: 1998
Students Served Per Year: 500+
Reenrolled Students with Disabilities: N/A
Last Verified: 2010

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • Has a learning disability or emotional disturbance
  • High number of work hours
  • Parenthood
  • High-risk peer group
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Highly socially active outside of school
  • Low achievement
  • Retention/overage for grade
  • Poor attendance
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school
  • No extracurricular participation
  • Misbehavior
  • Early aggression

Family factors

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • High family mobility
  • Low education level of parents
  • Family disruption
  • Low educational expectations
  • Low contact with school
  • Lack of conversations about school

School factors

  • Limited resources: expenditures per student/ teacher salaries/ student-teacher ratios
  • School size: too small/too large
  • Race/ethnicity
  • School policies and practices
  • Student engagement
  • Teacher expectations

Community factors

  • Youth social attitudes

Program promotes the following:


  • Clear social norms
  • Good relationships with parents, peers, and teachers
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers


  • Healthy/conventional beliefs and standards
  • Positive/resilient temperament


  • Social competencies
  • Self efficacy


  • Problem-solving skills
  • Flexibility


  • High expectations by community, family, school, and self
  • Optimistic

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is less than $25,000 or less than $500 per student.

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

Federal Agencies
State Agencies
Local/City/County Agencies
School Districts
Faith Based Organizations
Service Clubs

Social Workers
Graduation Coaches
School Administrators

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:

Instructional Texts/Manuals
Computer/Internet Based


Evaluation Information:

Evidence from 11 studies, 8 randomized controlled trials and 3 quasi-experimental designs, involving nearly 5,000 diverse students from 50 urban, rural and suburban schools indicates that exposure to Ripple Effects had positive impacts on multiple risk and protective factors under a variety of conditions of use. Individual studies showed statistically significant improved scores for problem solving and empathy and reduced scores on Beck's depression scale. A summary of six studies showed exposure resulted in significantly higher grades and fewer suspensions. In individual studies it resulted in higher grades, lower absenteeism, fewer tardies, less disrespectful behavior, increased awareness of the risk of alcohol use, and fewer students having dropped out at a twelve-month follow-up. In discipline settings extensive voluntary use of the program for guidance on personal matters, especially trauma, resulted in reduced repeat referrals to ISS. The articles that describe all these studies are available from Ripple Effects.

How evaluation data was collected:
Outside experimental studies
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level

Additional Evaluation Information: