Olin J. Bittner is a 2015 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee:

  • Bill Heusler, Psy.D., Committee Chair
  • Steven Curtis , Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Shamsah Ebrahim, Ph.D., Committee Member


Program Evaluation, Education, Special Education, Tracking Outcomes, Measuring Outcomes, Mental Health, Mental Health Outcomes, Student Mental Health, Therapeutic School, Therapeutic Day School

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The Children's Institute on Mercer Island (CHILD) is a private therapeutic day school in the Seattle area serving students in elementary and secondary education. Their stated mission is to "provide innovative school programs and therapies that promote social, emotional and academic development for children with special needs." In the fall of 2012 they engaged in a program evaluation that in many respects resembles a needs assessment in order to explore and improve aspects of their functioning. Through preliminary evaluation processes, including dialogue with CHILD's Leadership Team and a survey of internal stakeholders, an area of interest in student mental health was uncovered and an initial evaluation question emerged: "How does CHILD claim expertise, particularly in the area of mental health?" Historically, evidence of CHILD's impact in this regard has been largely anecdotal. Aside from a limited collection of behavioral data pertaining largely to IEP goals and objectives, CHILD does not track mental health, or long-term student outcomes. As a program interested in its own claims to "expertise," members of the Leadership Team and other stakeholders have called for improved data collection in this regard. This program evaluation is an attempt to understand the types of data that would be most useful to CHILD's interest in expertise and then design a program for tracking this data. Bronfenbrenner's (1994) ecological model was used as a framework for guiding data collection, the results of which are synthesized and integrated into a series of recommendations constituting the final results of the project. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA, and Ohio Link ETD Center,


ORCID Scholar ID #0000-0001-7855-4247