; Khatapoush, S.; Sanchez, V.; Rose, J.; and Thaker, S. Health Education Research
, vol. 23, pgs. 238-248 (2008)Reconnecting Youth (RY) is a school-based drug prevention program designed to address academic, substance use and mood management goals among youth at risk of dropping out of high school. This paper presents the organizational factors and RY program characteristics that either promoted or hindered the implementation of the program during a randomized controlled effectiveness trial in 10 schools in two school districts in the United States. Data were collected using surveys and interviews from teachers and school and district staff who participated in the implementation of the RY program in these schools. Results suggest that certain RY program characteristics made it difficult to implement. Small class size, resource-intensive procedures for student selection and recruitment and special training, qualities and skills needed to be an effective RY teacher meant that schools had to significantly change their usual practices to implement the program. Organizational barriers included a lack of financial resources and leadership support for program implementation, and low priority for non-academic courses for high-risk students. Transient student populations, staff turnover and district-wide scheduling and curriculum changes all resulted in high levels of organizational turbulence at most schools, further hindering program implementation.