Continuity of Operations planning information for the College of Education: Click here

Dr. Jennifer Frank

Dr. Jennifer Frank
Phone: 8148672865
Office Address:
308 CEDAR Building
University Park, PA 16802-3108
Campus: University Park


Associate Professor of Education (Special Education)


Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education


Special Education
School Psychology

Other Penn State Affiliations

Prevention Research Center, Child Study Center, Social Sciences Research Institute (SSRI), Penn State Methodology Center, Educational Risk Initiative (ERI)


My work focuses on developing and evaluating school-based prevention practices that modify the social ecology of risk (school-family-peer-individual factors) that gives rise to high-incidence disabilities, and preparing the next generation of school-based professionals to implement high-quality prevention practices in school settings. I strive to do work that is interdisciplinary and draw from diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to understand the determinants of risk and resilience. The ultimate goal of my teaching, research, and service activities is to create optimal social contexts to support academic learning that are sustainable in real-world settings. My current research interests include: school-based prevention, positive behavior supports, innovative statistical and experimental methods to validate evidence-based interventions, social-emotional learning, and mindfulness-based interventions.

Education History

Ph.D. (2008) University of Wisconsin-Madison; Post-Doctoral (2010) University of Oregon

Representative Publications

Jennings, P.A. & Frank, J.L. (2015). In-service preparation for educators. In J.A. Durlak, C. Domitrovich, R.P. Weissberg, T.P. Gullotta. & P. Goren (Eds.). Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): Research and Practice.  New York: Guilford Press. 

Broderick, P.C.  & Frank, J.L. (2014). Learning to BREATHE: An Intervention fostering mindful attention and awareness. New Directions in Youth Development, 142, 31-44.

Frank, J.L., & Bose, B.K. (2014). Effectiveness of a school-based yoga program on adolescent mental health, stress coping strategies, and attitudes towards violence: Findings from a high-risk sample. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 30, 29-49.

Felver, J.C., Frank, J.L., McEachern, A. (2014). Effectiveness of the Soles of the Feet Mindfulness-Based Intervention with elementary school students. Mindfulness, 5, 589-597.

Frank, J.L., Jennings, P.A., & Greenberg, M.T. (2013). Mindfulness-based interventions in school settings: An introduction to the special series. Research in Human Development, 10, 205-210.

Fosco, G.M., Frank, J.L., Dishion, T.J., Horner, R. & Stormshak, E. (2013). Opening the “Black Box”: Family Check-Up intervention effects on self-regulation that prevents growth in problem behavior and substance use. Journal of School Psychology, 51, 455-468. 

Jennings, P.A., Frank, J.L., Snowberg, K., Coccia, M., & Greenberg, M.T. (2013). Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. School Psychology Quarterly, 28, 374-390

Frank, J.L., Broderick, P.A., Reibel, D., Cantrell, T., & Metz, S. (2013). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy on educator stress and well-being: Results from a pilot trial. Mindfulness Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s12671-013-0246-2

Metz, S.M., Frank, J.L., Reibel, D., Cantrell, T., Sanders, R., & Broderick, P.C. (2013).  The effectiveness of the Learning to Breathe program on adolescent emotion regulation. Research in Human Development, 10, 252-272.  

Flannery, K.B., Frank, J.L., McGrath-Kato, M., Doren, B., Fenning, P. (2013). Implementing Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support in high school settings: Analysis of eight high schools. High School Journal, 4, 267-282.  

Fosco, G.M., Frank, J.L. & Dishion, T.J. (2012). Understanding the influences of deviant peers on problem behavior: Coercion and contagion in peer, family, and school environments. In  S.R. Jimerson & M.J. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of School Violence and School Safety (2nd ed., pp. 69-80). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates. 

Full-Text Publications

Google Scholar


Project RESPECT: A Proposal to develop the Responding in Emotionally Supportive and Positive Ways in Educational Communications skills Training Program (U.S. Department of Education/IES: 07/01/15–06/30/18) 

This project will develop materials needed to teach in-service teachers the principles and skills of effective interpersonal communication and conflict management, and evaluate the success/effectiveness of those materials.

Stress, Self-Regulation and Psychopathology in Middle Childhood (National Institutes of Health/NICHD: 9/1/12-8/31/17)

This project examines the ways that self-regulation development is limited by adversity in families and by high levels of social and economic stratification in more geographically isolated communities characterized by high rates of poverty, unemployment, and low social capital. We hypothesize that self-regulation difficulties and their impact on academic, substance use, and mental health outcomes will be more severe and frequent for children in families facing high levels of poverty-related adversity in infancy through school entry and more likely to lead to disadvantageous outcomes in smaller, more highly stratified communities. This study is a project of the longitudinal Family Life Project study.

Promoting Adolescent Well Being and Academic Performance through Mindfulness-based Emotion Regulation Skills Instruction (U.S. Department of Education/IES: 7/1/14-6/30/17)

The aim of this project is to complete the development and evaluation of the Learning to BREATHE (L2B) program, a mindfulness-based curriculum designed to facilitate the development of attention and emotion regulation skills within the context of public high schools.

Longitudinal Effectiveness of Communities that Care on Reducing Youth Risk Factors (National Institutes of Health/NIDA: 9/1/14 - 8/31/16)

This project examines the longitudinal effectiveness of the Communities that Care model (CTC) on youth risk and youth risk and protective factors, ATOD use, youth mental health, bullying and gambling behaviors.

Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): A Cluster Randomized Controlled Efficacy Trial (U.S. Department of Education/IES: 3/1/12-2/28/15)

We are conducting a multi-site cluster randomized controlled trial to determine the efficacy of the Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) professional development program in 32 New York public elementary schools (kindergarten through fifth grade).

An Epidemiological and Longitudinal study of Rural Child Literacy Trajectories (National Institutes of Health/NICHD: 6/30/15 - 6/30/19)

This study examines the acquisition of literacy skills from early elementary to middle school in an understudied, vulnerable, and important group of children who live in low wealth rural communities.  Specific aims include examination of how variations in early parenting and quality of teacher instruction across elementary school years are associated with word reading, vocabulary, and reading comprehension development at later grade levels, timing effects of the quality of teacher instruction, durability of the effects of instruction during the transition to middle school, and the variability of effects on the basis of race, poverty, gender, and school-level poverty. This study is a project of the longitudinal Family Life Project study.

Stress Exposure and Immune Outcomes in Children (National Institutes of Health/NIMH: 9/1/12 - 8/31/17)

The purpose of this study is to determine how early exposure to psychosocial stress affects children’s immune outcomes and health and refine developmental and clinical models of the developing interplay between psychosocial stress and stress in children through the examination of inflammatory biomarkers (circulating levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-alpha and the acute phase protein CRP) and indicators of glucocorticoid resistance. This study is a project of the longitudinal Family Life Project study.

Using Virtual Roleplay Modules to Accelerate Student Mastery of Effective Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Resolution Strategies (COIL: 9/1/15 - 12/31/16)

This project will continue the development and refinement of online virtual role play instructional materials designed to assist teachers in acquiring greater levels of self-efficacy and skill in responding to student bullying.

Student Training Grants

The follow are student research training grants on which I currently serve as a faculty affiliate/mentor. I welcome inquiries from students participating in these programs regarding potential research opportunities.

Training Interdisciplinary Education Scientists (TIES) Training Grant

The goal of the Training Interdisciplinary Educational Scientists (TIES) program is to prepare educational scientists with expertise in the development and evaluation of interventions aimed at promoting literacy and social/emotional competence in children and youth.

Prevention and Methodology Training Program (PAMT)

The main objective of the PAMT program is to produce two types of well-trained scientists. One is prevention scientists who apply the most appropriate methodology in their research and are able to do this even when the methodology is advanced and cutting-edge. The other is methodologists who understand and are committed to prevention, and who work on improving and disseminating methodology for use in prevention research.