The present study reports initial efficacy data for a new school-based intervention - the Relationship Building Intervention (RBI) - that includes a series of teacher-facilitated, structured activities designed to promote positive peer relationships and inclusive classroom communities. The RBI was evaluated in fifth-grade classrooms by estimating multilevel model (MLM) analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) comparing 368 fifth-grade students in intervention classrooms with 259 fifth-graders in control classrooms on social behaviors, perceptions of classroom connectedness, and academic performance. Controlling for pretest scores, cohort, and demographic variables, findings revealed that students who participated in the RBI liked school more, felt a greater sense of classroom identification and inclusion, were perceived by teachers to be less aggressive, and performed better academically than students who were in control classrooms. Further, implementation data showed that students and teachers responded positively to the activities. These results suggest that the RBI is a promising approach for improving the social and learning environment in fifth-grade classrooms.
Keywords: Academic achievement; Classroom climate; Peer relationships; School-based intervention; Social skills development.
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