Building Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS)

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The Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) is a classroom program designed by Stephen Elliott, PhD and Frank Gresham, PhD for students in preschool to grade 8. The program can be used to identify and help students with social skills difficulties so that they can excel both socially and academically. This program is meant to be used by teaching professionals including teachers, school counselors, or teacher’s aides. There are 30 lessons for each grade, delivered three times a week over ten weeks that include formal instruction, teacher modeling, and opportunities for students to apply and practice these skills. The lessons are primarily focused on interpersonal skills, listening to others, and managing emotions with others. Teachers are provided with a manual for self-training and includes screening tools, rating scales, and monitoring tools. There are additional resources including video clips online webinars for teachers, and booklets for students.

Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) is designated as a SELect program on the CASEL guide. Two randomized control trials published in 2015 and 2017 demonstrated effectiveness in students four to five months later in multiple social skills such as communication, cooperation, and responsibility. Students also reported higher academic motivation and engagement than control groups.

Evaluation data from (as reported on CASEL website):

DiPerna, J. C., Lei, P., Cheng, W., Hart, S. C., & Bellinger, J. (2017). A Cluster Randomized Trial of the Social Skills Improvement System-Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP) in First Grade. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication.

DiPerna, J. C., Lei, P., Bellinger, J., & Cheng, W. (2015). Efficacy of the Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP) primary version. School Psychology Quarterly, 30(1), 123.