Sign Up For Newsletter

Blueprints For Healthy Youth Development logo

Positive Action

Positive Action is a comprehensive, school-based program for kindergarten through 8th grade students, which promotes learning through enhancement of self-concept.  Positive Action operates on the philosophy that thoughts lead to actions, actions lead to feelings, and feelings lead to thoughts.  When this cycle is positive, it is maintained intrinsically because self-efficacy is a robust motivator.

Positive Action consists of 140 scripted, age-appropriate lessons lasting approximately 15 minutes.  Lessons are delivered by a school teacher, external instructor, or in an alternative setting two to four times per week.  The program aligns with existing academic standards and affords the flexibility of customization for chosen outcomes. The curriculum is comprised of six units, encompassing the conceptual foundation of the program, developing habits for healthy mind and body, personal management and self-control skills, building beneficial relationships, understanding responsibility and self-awareness, and goal-setting and achieving.  In addition to classroom coursework, Positive Action consists of additional kits for school administration and counselors in order to coordinate efforts and affect the school climate overall.

The Blueprints Model Program qualifying studies included two randomized trials.  The first trial, beginning in 2001 in Hawaii, followed first and second grade students to fifth and sixth grade in 2006.  In the second trial, students in Chicago, IL were monitored from third grade in 2004 to eighth grade in 2010. Research methodology and program implementation were similar in both trials.  Schools were matched on several variables, including demographics, school size, disciplinary referrals, and standardized achievement scores. Then, matched pairs were randomly assigned to either the program implementation condition or control condition.

Results revealed significant positive effects on antisocial behavior, academic self-efficacy, and skills for social interaction in schools that implemented Positive Action compared to those in the control condition.  In Hawaii, schools observed significant reductions in suspensions and absenteeism as well as improvements in academic proficiency and school supportiveness among their students. These effects were maintained through the one-year post implementation follow-up.  Additionally, in Chicago, students displayed greater academic motivation and schools demonstrated lower normative support for aggression. Moreover, both trials exhibited improved social interaction skills among students who received the program.

Read the Program Fact Sheet

Return to Blueprints Bulletin Issue 4. November 2017.


Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
University of Colorado Boulder
Institute of Behavioral Science
UCB 483, Boulder, CO 80309


Sign up for Newsletter

If you are interested in staying connected with the work conducted by Blueprints, please share your email to receive quarterly updates.

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is
currently funded by Arnold Ventures (formerly the Laura and John Arnold Foundation) and historically has received funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.