SOE News

Steve Knotek and Samuel Song awarded grants from FPG Institute to study Latina mothers and bullying prevention

Steve Knotek, assistant professor of School Psychology and Early Childhood Education, and Sam Song, assistant professor of School Psychology, were each recently awarded one-year, $20,000 grants from the FPG Child Development Institute to fund two separate projects.  Knotek’s project, “Madres para Ninos,” is a group intervention aimed at educating, empowering and supporting Latina immigrant mothers, while Song’s project, titled “Effective School Bullying Prevention,” focuses on school bullying in grades K-5.

The purpose of “Madres para Ninos” is to educate, support and empower Latina immigrant mothers through a collaborative problem-solving approach to
culturally responsive group support and intervention.One of the goals of this group intervention is to create a physically and psychologically safe space for Latina mothers to think about and conceptualize their roles in their children’s language, literacy and educational development and attainment.

Prior research and experience indicate that Latina mothers are at greater risk for maternal stress and challenges in working with schools and teachers than are other maternal populations.It is hoped that the group intervention will give these mothers an increased skill level, knowledge and sense of self-efficacy to parent and support their children; an increased understanding of the U.S. educational system; and an improved ability to problem-solve.

“Effective School Bullying Prevention” is a bullying intervention project that relies on an interdisciplinary framework based on research from the fields of school psychology, evidence-based prevention and intervention, and developmental psychopathology.  This project is part of a larger program of research – the "Protective Peer Ecology Research Project" – which seeks to understand healthy peer environments and to develop innovative, sustainable intervention practices to promote them in schools. 

Through the FPG grant, it is hoped that the “Effective School Bullying Prevention” program will be implemented by school personnel in elementary schools (K-5) in rural North Carolina. 

Founded in 1966, FPG is one of the nation's largest multidisciplinary centers for studying young children and their families.  It was named for Dr. Frank Porter Graham (1886-1972), president emeritus of UNC-Chapel Hill and former United States Senator.