The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Student Assistance Program (SAP), which is administered by the PA Department of Education’s Safe Schools Office in partnership with the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs’ Division of Prevention and Intervention, and the PA Department of Human Services’ Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, is designed to assist school personnel in identifying issues including alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and mental health issues which pose a barrier to a student’s success. The primary goal of the Student Assistance Program (SAP) is to help students overcome these barriers in order that they may achieve, remain in school, and advance.
The Student Assistance framework is an organizational model for delivering services at three levels to students impacted by non-academic barriers to learning. The Union City Area School District offers the Student Assistance Program (SAP) in both the elementary building and the middle/high school building. The SAP Team is made up of school and agency staff to help caregivers and educators access school and community supports for their students.
The SAP Team members are trained to identify problems, determine whether or not the presenting problems cause immediate action and intervention, and to make recommendations to further assist the parent and student.
There are four phases to the Student Assistant Program:
Referral- An initial referral is placed and contact was made with the parent to obtain permission to discuss student needs with the SAP Team by the referring source.
Team Planning- The SAP Team will review applicable data related to student grades, attendance, disciplinary records, emotional stability, standardized tests, and detailed grade reports. Information is also collected from the parent. Together, a plan is developed that includes strategies for eliminating non-academic or academic barriers and promoting the student’s academic and personal success to include in-school and community based support.
Intervention & Recommendation- The plan is put into action. The team assists at linking the student and the family to in-school interventions or activities and community-based services.
Support & Follow up- The SAP team continues to work with and support the student and their family. Follow-up includes monitoring, mentoring, and motivating for academic success.