Student Assistance Program
In 1991, Pennsylvania passed an act that mandated secondary schools to establish a Student Assistance Program. This program tries to identify at risk students so that they are able to receive help in order to have a successful school career. It focuses on prevention, intervention, and postvention. The program is voluntary and confidential. It provides support and resources to students and families.
Each school has a Student Assistance Team that consists of administration, nurses, teachers, school counselors, and agency staff. All team members have received special training in understanding and identifying students who are suffering from problems. The team's main objective is to recognize pupils who are experiencing barriers to the educational process. These obstacles can be drug or alcohol issues and/or mental health concerns.
Students are referred to our program for the following reasons:
- Violating school policy - Self reported problems
- Behavioral concerns - Suffered recent loss
- Drop in grades - Involvement in the legal system
- Attendance - Bullying
- Thoughts of suicide - Suspected child abuse/neglect
- Academic concerns - Other
- Social concerns
Anyone can refer a student to our program without disclosing his or her name. It can be a parent, teacher, friend or relative of the student, a community member, or a self referral. After the referral is made, the team requests permission from the parent or guardian. If the parent declines, the SAP process is closed. However, other school resources are utilized such as the school counselor. If parent permission is warranted, checklists are then sent out to parents and teachers. At the next meeting, checklists are discussed to decide on the appropriate supports. At that point, the team will request either a mental health or drug and alcohol assessment.
The mental health consultant will meet with the student up to three times. He or she will gather information and make an assessment based on the student's needs. The mental health consultant does not provide counseling. The drug and alcohol consultant provides an informational assessment to those students who are referred. He or she may provide ongoing support throughout the school year. The consultants will contact parents to discuss their concerns and the needs of the child. They will then make a recommendation based on the information gathered. It is up to the students and their parents to follow through with the consultant's recommendations.
The agencies get outside services involved. The may include:
- Support Groups
- Academic Supports
- Prevention and Educational Programs
The Student Assistance Program is instrumental with helping students to overcome their problems. It has been very valuable at the Millersburg Area School District because it has benefited numerous students and their families.
Our team consists of:
- David Shover
- Jeffrey Prouse
- Beth Strawser
- Kelly Petery
- Corey Keim
- Leslie Hepler
- Kirsten Mowery