The Student Assistance Program (SAP) in Pennsylvania and in the North Pocono Middle School helps schools identify students who are experiencing behavior and/or academic difficulties, which are interfering with their learning and success in school. SAP offers support to those students and their families.
The core of our program is a team of school personnel who have received specialized training from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Approved SAP Training Providers. Our team includes teachers, nurse, counselors, administrators, and representatives from community agencies such as Lackawanna Drug and Alcohol and Scranton Counseling Center.
We consider one of the most important tasks of our program to be building a working relationship with families that focuses on the student’s success. The team may offer student-centered services such as educational support groups, in-school mentoring, or aftercare resources. The team may also assist families in identifying options for professional support when the problem is beyond the scope of the school. When a student needs assistance outside of the school setting, the team informs the parent of the problem and helps the student and family access services and resources within our community. Participation in the program is voluntary and is offered as a source of help and support for the student and family.
Some of the barriers to leaning which are addressed by the SAP Team are:
- Sudden drop in grades
- Missing school or skipping classes
- Destructive behavior against self and/or others
- Negative attitudes such as being angry most of the time
- Talking about alcohol and/or drug use
- Change of friends
- Sadness, nervousness, moodiness
- Being bullied, teased, made fun of on a regular basis
The steps that are followed when the team receives a referral that they feel warrant action are:
- Team member contacts family, usually by phone, and an invitation is extended to meet with team members to share information, observations, student strengths and common concerns.
- When the parent gives permission, a member of the team may then meet with the student to gather further information.
- The team helps the family with options or resources, both in and out of school that may help the student.
- Family may then decide on a plan of action.
If the family does not want their child to work with the student assistance team, they are invited to contact the team at any time should the situation or their wishes change.
Staff, parents, or other students with an immediate concern for the physical and/or emotional well-being of a student can make a referral by returning the form in the front section of the student planner to the main office, contacting a school counselor, or contacting a school administrator. Referrals made by parents and students are anonymous. The names of referrers who do identify themselves are considered confidential.
SAP Team Members
Leeta Dennebaum, Assistant Principal
District Social Worker