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Steps to Respect

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

An anti-bullying curriculum designed to reduce bullying and destructive bystander behaviors, increase prosocial beliefs related to bullying, and increase social-emotional skills through a grade appropriate literature unit and other educational materials and lessons.

Program Outcomes

  • Bullying
  • Prosocial with Peers

Program Type

  • Bullying Prevention
  • School - Environmental Strategies
  • School - Individual Strategies
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Teacher Training

Program Setting

  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Universal Prevention (Entire Population)


  • Late Childhood (5-11) - K/Elementary


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Promising
  • Crime Solutions: Effective
  • OJJDP Model Programs: Effective

Program Information Contact

Sally Vilardi
Director of Marketing & Outreach
Committee for Children
2815 Second Avenue, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98121

Program Developer/Owner

  • Sherry Catron Burke
  • Committee for Children

Brief Description of the Program

Steps to Respect is designed to decrease school bullying problems by increasing staff awareness and responsiveness, fostering socially responsible beliefs, and teaching social-emotional skills to counter bullying and promote healthy relationships. All school staff receive an overview of program goals and key features of the program content. Teachers, counselors and administrators receive additional training in how to coach students involved in bullying. The student curriculum consists of skill and literature based lessons presented by third- through sixth-grade teachers over a 12-14 week period. Ten semi-scripted skill lessons focus on social-emotional skills for positive peer relations, emotion management, and recognizing, refusing and reporting bullying behavior. A 45-minute skill lesson and 15-minute follow-up booster are taught weekly. Upon completion of skill lessons, teachers implement a grade-appropriate literature unit, based on existing children's books, providing further opportunities to explore bullying-related themes. Parents are provided information about the program throughout the implementation of the classroom curriculum.

See: Full Description


Significant outcomes for intervention students, compared to control students, included (Frey, et al., 2005):

  • Less acceptance of bullying/aggression, more responsibility to intervene with friends who bullied, and greater adult responsiveness, according to self-report,
  • Perceived difficulty of responding assertively to bullying lower in grades 5 and 6,
  • Increases in observed bullying were lower,
  • Decreases in observed argumentative behavior and increases in observed agreeable behavior.

Significant replication outcomes for intervention schools compared to control schools included (Brown, et al., 2011):

  • Greater increases in school anti-bullying policies and strategies,
  • Improved student and staff climate reported by school staff,
  • Students more willing to intervene in bullying situations reported by school staff,
  • Less school bullying-related problems reported by school staff,
  • Lower levels of physical bullying perpetration reported by teachers,
  • Higher levels of student climate and positive bystander behavior reported by students,
  • Less decline in teacher/staff bullying prevention during the year and greater increases in students and teachers/staff willing to intervene in bullying, reported by students.

Significant Program Effects on Risk and Protective Factors:

  • Higher levels of student social competency reported by teachers.

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

The program is appropriate for all youth, and evaluations have reflected the race/ethnic makeup of the population in general. The strongest study included 52% White, 7% African American, 6% Asian American, 35% Other Mixed Race.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Individual: Bullies others*
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Clear standards for behavior, Problem solving skills, Skills for social interaction*
  • School: Rewards for prosocial involvement in school

*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program.

See also: Steps to Respect Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

The Steps to Respect School-Wide Implementation Support Kit includes everything needed to conduct staff training sessions. The kit includes a trainers’ manual with scripted training sessions, slides, digital handouts, and a DVD. These resources provide sufficient support for experienced trainers to teach the program to school staff. For schools/districts without the internal capacity to deliver staff training using the School-Wide Implementation Support Kit, Committee for Children can provide a 3-hour program workshop.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

Steps to Respect has been evaluated twice. In the first evaluation, six elementary schools in two school districts were matched and paired, within each district, and each school in the pair was randomly assigned to the bullying intervention or to a control condition. Children in grades 3 to 6 (n = 1126) completed pre- and posttest surveys of behaviors and teachers rated beliefs and attitudes. Observers coded playground behavior of a random sub-sample (n = 544). The second evaluation matched 33 schools in North Central California and then randomly assigned matched pairs to treatment or control conditions. From each of the 33 participating schools, 128 classrooms were randomly selected for data collection: grades 3 (n=52), 4 (n=62) and 5 (n=11). There were also 2 third- and fourth-grade split classrooms and 1 fourth- and fifth-grade split classroom. Implementation ran from December, 2008 and ended May, 2009, at which time posttest data was collected.


Brown, E. C., Low, S., Smith, B. H., & Haggerty, K. P. (2011). Outcomes from a school-randomized control trial of Steps to Respect. School Psychology Review, 40(3), 423-443.

Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, J. L., Snell, J. L., Van Schoiack Edstrom, L., MacKenzie, E. P., & Broderick, C. J. (2005). Reducing playground bullying and supporting beliefs: An experimental trial of the Steps to Respect program. Developmental Psychology, 41(3), 479-491.