The Student Assistance Program of Upper Darby School District was established in 1986 to combat the problem of drug and alcohol abuse among the students in our schools. Our program was part of a statewide effort to address the problem of drugs and alcohol in public schools. Our program was set up based upon the state model and was funded and implemented with the assistance of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The Student Assistance Program is an integral part of the instructional program of Upper Darby School District. Through education and awareness programs targeting the dangers and risks associated with the use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco we hope to eliminate a barrier to academic achievement and success. These programs contribute to the universal school-wide supports needed to build resilient schools in our district.
Goals of the Student Assistance Program
- To educate and heighten the awareness of students, faculty, parents, and the community concerning the risks of drug and alcohol use.
- To identify students who are involved, or who are “at risk” of becoming involved with the abuse of alcohol or other drugs.
- To intervene with the identified students and, in cooperation with their families, refer them to appropriate outside agencies for treatment and support.
- The use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs among our students presents a significant barrier to academic success and thus impedes the realization of the instructional goals of our school district. The Student Assistance Program (SAP) is a proactive effort to address this concern and advance the interests of our students. At the elementary school level the focus is on prevention through education and awareness, whereas, at the middle school and high school level SAP is primarily a referral and intervention program set up to identify students who are involved, or who are “at risk” of becoming involved, with the abuse of alcohol or other drugs.
The SAP Team
The SAP Team of each school is made up of specially trained school personnel. Teams are representative of the professional staff of the school, i.e. school nurses, teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, school psychologists, and administrators. The SAP Team provides information to faculty and staff regarding the warning signs and symptoms of substance abuse through in-service presentations, departmental meetings, new teacher orientation, and written materials.
The Referral Process
Students are referred to the SAP Team by teachers, staff members, administrators, parents, and peers. If the referral is determined to be an appropriate SAP concern, objective behavioral data is gathered and reviewed by the SAP Team. Should the data support the concern, the parent/guardian is contacted and invited in for a meeting to discuss the concern and to offer support and a possible assessment by our professional drug and alcohol specialist. Based on the assessment, appropriate support and/or treatment strategies are suggested and discussed. All SAP referrals and the information obtained and discussed throughout the process is confidential. SAP records are not included in the students’ school file.
Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco use can lead to many negative consequences, including bad grades, family problems, physical injuries, and trouble with the law. As a parent or guardian, look for the signs of substance abuse: a sudden change in behavior, a drop in grades, or a change in friends. If you suspect your child is using drugs, please call your child's guidance counselor at the high school for support from the SAP Team.
Delaware County SAP Resources:
Delaware County Directory of Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Services
Other helpful resources for parents:
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens