Student Assistance Today

A self-initiated commitment to develop and deliver a common agenda to assist 1) educational organizations in addressing behavioral/performance issues caused by personal problems including alcohol, drugs and violence, and 2) students in identifying and resolving personal concerns, including, but not limited to alcohol and other drugs, family, emotional, stress or other personal issues that may affect school performance and behavior.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

At a time when many children in Canada are receiving the message that drugs are a “way of life” and just have to be tried and used with “common sense”, one community initiative is taking a hard line of prevention through education.
Children involved in the Drug-Free Marshals program, sponsored by Churches of Scientology, take a strong position against drugs, not backing off when it comes to telling their peers the facts about drugs, directing them toward drug education and having them pledge to live a drug-free life.
The campaign is filling a need among our nation’s youth, popularizing drug prevention. Campaign events regularly take place at locations throughout the country. Chapters of this anti-drug crusade are active in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Kitchener, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
At a time when a growing number of drug programs are resorting to such means as drug substitution (e.g. methadone for heroin) and “clean needle” exchanges—trying to halt the ramifications of drug addiction after giving up on its causes—Narconon is emerging as the preeminent program in actually handling addiction in Canada.

Belize conference confronts key issues affecting youth

Youth at Risk: was the theme of a three-day Student Assistance Conference this month at the House of Culture. National Kriol Council President and conference coordinator, Myrna Manzanares, said the annual seminar was actually the brainchild of the now defunct Pride Belize, but after talking to some of her colleagues in the field, it was time to end the decade-long hiatus. Manzanares told me the topics chosen for discussion are critical for the development of Belize's young adults and the people who work with them.

If you are interested in more information on the Student Assistance Conference, call the Kriol Council at 207-0329 or Myrna Manzanares at 223-5551.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

National Conference

Talked to a friend of mine from the States who just got back from attending the National Student Assistance Conference in San Francisco. Someday I may get a chance to attend the conference. She said that it's a must for those working with high risk kids. For those who are looking for a great training experience visit www.nsac.info or call 1-800-453-7733. No location selected for next year as of this posting.

Red Squirrel

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Student Assistance Programs (SAPs) are comprehensive school-based (K-12) services designed to assist (1) educational institutions in addressing behavioral/performance issues and (2) students in identifying and resolving personal concerns, including but not limited to alcohol and other drugs, family, emotional, stress or other personal issues that may affect academic performance and behavior. Student assistance programs focus on behavior and performance at school, using a process to screen students for personal problems that include alcohol and other drug abuse. SAPs represent a partnership between community health agencies and educational institutions, and may rely on internal/contractual staff or community agencies for assessment and treatment services.

The purpose of student assistance programs is to provide school faculty and staff with a mechanism for helping students with a wide range of personal problems. Faculty and other school staff receive training on how to identify youths experiencing performance/behavioral problems. However, they are not expected to intervene personally. Students are referred to the SAP for assessment and referral.

While Student Assistance Programs can produce innumerable benefits for students and their
families, the following are recurring and core expectations. A Student Assistance Program is
meant to:
• Improve school performance as measured by change in grades, attendance and policy
violations
• Prevent further problems in student’s lives
• Postpone, prevent, or reduce the use of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs
• Improve coping, communication skills, resistance skills
• Increase protective factors, reduce risk factors, and promote resilience

Ongoing evaluation is necessary to ensure that Student Assistance Programs grow and evolve to
meet student needs K-12. A successful Student Assistance Program evaluation will assess the
program’s measurable goals and objectives and use the results of the evaluation to refine
objectives, and improve activities and services. Ultimately, a Student Assistance evaluation
should show positive student changes in grades, alcohol and other drug use, violence, attendance, discipline attitude and disruptive behavior, and more helpful and hopeful attitudes on the part of a school’s faculty and discipline staff.