Primary Project was started in 1957 by a group of researchers and practitioners from the University of Rochester
and the Rochester City School District. From its beginning in one inner-city urban school and still true today in its 3000
diverse sites nationally, Primary Project preventively helps young school children who are just starting to experience school
adjustment and behavioral difficulties.
"It was so easy that I finished in half the time it used to take, and I did not have to copy and mail them either."
"The COMET emails remind me when I need to get something done, and, I love it. With COMET I am not late anymore."
"The parents were impressed with what I had at my finger tips, and so was I."
Two hallmarks of Primary Project include: a) systematic early detection and screening
processes used to identify children in need and b) ongoing monitoring of children's and programs' outcomes.
COMET was designed, in part, to meet the needs of those who implement Primary Project, and other evidence-based programs.
In the spring of 2008, COMET was Beta tested and then piloted in the fall in several Primary Project districts across the
country. The results from the pilot were stellar and COMET was rolled out in September 2009 to all new Primary Project
programs funded by Children's Institute.
With COMET, the screening of children takes half as much time. Staff report completing instruments such as
the Teacher-Child Rating Scale (T-CRS) in 2-3 minutes for each child, when it used to take 4 to 5 minutes. Results are also
instantaneous and staff no longer need wait weeks for reports from instruments that used to be hand or machine scored. Real-time
feedback allows teachers to identify unmet student needs and address them much sooner.
Teachers who have completed the screening and assessment tools for Primary Project, have also discovered that the reports
available 24/7 for each measure can be used for other important purposes. One teacher shared how she needed to do
an observation on a child who was being referred for a possible disability. She completed a T-CRS on the child, clicked
on the "individual report" for the child, printed the report, and gave it to the school psychologist in minutes.
Parents are also impressed by COMET's immediate reporting feature. During parent-teacher conferences, teachers can print
individual reports from COMET for parents. These reports serve as a basis for discussing the strengths and needs of their
COMET helps Primary Project program administrators too. Over the years we have observed that on average 60% of the teachers
complete and return their screening or assessment measures on time. This means about 40 out of 100 teachers need a follow-up
contact and the measures are late. At times on-time completion has been as low as 0% and rarely has it ever been 100%.
Because of COMET's built-in e-mail tickler system, the on-time completion rates range between 95% to 100%. Teachers comment
that they never intend to be late, but get busy and forget.
Primary Project programs utilize caring adults called child associates who work with the children through play. Child associates
complete the Associate-Child Rating Scale (A-CRS) twice during the program. Child associates typically track the
children's attendance in Primary Project. Mental health professionals, such as school psychologists, school social workers, or
school counselors also complete the Professional Summary Review (PSR) as a summary of the child's functioning at the end of the
year. The COMET tickler system facilitates near 100% on-time, error free completion for all these instruments.
At the end of Primary Project, teachers complete a second round of observations and assessments on the student.
COMET activates the tickler system automatically and teachers are helped to remember when their work is due. Administrators
can monitor day-to-day progress for program participants and can identify those who may need help, even before a request for
help is received. COMET helps "promote success and prevent failure" at multiple levels.
Assessing change from the beginning to the end of the program, which took weeks to perform, is now immediate. Change can be
assessed at all levels-individual student, group of children, school buildings and district-wide. Before the next program
starts, which could be as short as a few days, student and program outcomes are known and program efforts can be modified to
help children reach their full potential.