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Association of
Student Assistance Professionals 

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  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 8:26 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    The Pennsylvania Head Start Association (PHSA) is interviewing to find a new Associate Executive Director.  This is an excellent opportunity for passionate Head Start advocate.  Please feel free to share this email with potential candidates. 

    Send questions to Blair Hyatt - blair@paheadstart.org.

  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 8:25 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    Plan now to attend the 2019 Social and Emotional Learning Conference presented by the Center for the Promotion of Social and Emotional Learning (CPSEL). The conference will be held May 20-22, 2019 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Md. CPSEL is currently seeking relevant and compelling presentations that support one of the five CASEL core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. To learn more about the conference and apply to be a presenter, go to https://selconference.center-school.org/call-for-presenters/

  • Saturday, August 04, 2018 6:36 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    Below you will find the newly designed joint Best Practice Guidelines for Drug & Alcohol/Mental Health Liaison Services document. 

    Previously there were two documents, one for Mental Health and one for Drug and Alcohol liaisons. The newly designed version has combined the two documents.  No changes were made to the liaison expectations.

    Please contact your Regional SAP coordinator if you have any questions.

    Joint SAP Liasion Best Practice Guidelines 8.1.18.pdf

  • Saturday, August 04, 2018 6:28 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    Below is Act 147 information and bulletin received from Shaye Erhard, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. 

    1.     Consent to Mental Health Treatment for Minor Children:  

    ·        The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services released a bulletin that clarifies Act 147 of 2004 (“Act 147”), 35 P.S. §§ 10101.1-10101.2.

    ·        Act 147 addresses who can provide consent to voluntary mental health treatment for minors ages 14 and less than 18 years of age in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

    ·        Act 147 provides that minors can consent to inpatient mental health care for themselves without parental consent. As is the case under the MHPA, the consent must be in writing and obtained only after the minor receives an explanation of the treatment and his or her rights and demonstrates that he or she substantially understands the nature of the treatment.

    OMHSAS 08-01 Act 147 Bulletin.pdf 

  • Thursday, June 14, 2018 8:39 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    House Bill 2493, would require public schools to have an assessment team tasked with identifying threats before they happen. A second measure, House Bill 2492, would require threat assessment committees at public colleges and universities.
    ABC Channel 27, June 13, 2018
    Full story

  • Tuesday, May 15, 2018 8:41 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    13 Reasons Why Season 2 Pre-Release Statement & Resources

    Statement from Perri Rosen, Project Director, Garrett Leigh Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant

    13 Reasons Why Pre-Release Statement_SAVE.pdf

    As you may have heard, the second season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is being released this coming Friday, May 18th.  Please see the attached pre-release statement by Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) regarding the series and some general guidelines and resources for educators and families.

    As stated in the attached document, numerous organizations from around the world have partnered to develop resources for youth, families, educators, clinicians, and the media around the various challenging topics portrayed in the series.  These resources are presently being compiled on the following website: https://www.13reasonswhytoolkit.org/.   

    Please note that content is still being added to this site, and the site is expected to be completed later this week.  Therefore, while the website (and attached letter) may be helpful for schools as they prepare to communicate with youth, family, and community members about the series, it is not recommended to share these resources with family members until the website is completed later this week.  The attached letter providing the website link may also be disseminated widely at that time.

    Thank you,

    Perri Rosen, PhD, NCSP | Project Director, Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant
    Department of Human Services | Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services
    Bureau of Children’s Behavioral Health
    P.O. Box 2675 | Commonwealth Towers | 11th Floor | Harrisburg, PA 17105-2675
    Phone: (717) 772-7858 [office] | (717) 303-4611 [mobile]Fax: (717)-772-7964

  • Monday, February 19, 2018 8:13 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    In the aftermath of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, we are compelled to inform the public about Pennsylvania’s Student Assistance Program (SAP), which was first developed in Pennsylvania in 1984-85.  

    SAP is a mandated kindergarten-grade 12 program for all Pennsylvania schools as per Act 211 of 1990 and Chapter 12 of the Pennsylvania School Code.

    Oversight of SAP in Pennsylvania is provided by the PA Network for Student Assistance Services (PNSAS) Interagency and Regional Coordinators’ team; comprised of representation from the PA Departments of Education (Safe Schools Office), Drug and Alcohol Programs (Division of Prevention and Intervention) and Human Services (Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services).

    The Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program (SAP) is a systematic team process used to mobilize school resources to remove barriers to learning. SAP is designed to assist school personnel in identifying issues including the use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, mental health related concerns, or other issues that pose a barrier to a student’s learning and/or school and life success. The behaviors that might indicate a problem are often seen in school and they may not mimic behaviors seen outside the school. The primary goal of SAP is to help students overcome these barriers in order that they may achieve, remain in school, and advance.

    While Student Assistance Programs exist in other areas of the country, the structure and operation of the program in Pennsylvania is a unique and integrated model serving the needs of Pennsylvania families and students.   

    SAP team members are trained to identify concerns, gather data, and make recommendations to assist the student and the parent(s). It is a support program, not disciplinary or punitive. The core of the program is a professionally-trained team. Team members include school administrators, school staff, and liaisons from community agencies.

    When the problem lies beyond the scope of the school, the SAP team will assist the parent(s) and student so they may access services within the community. The Student Assistance Program team members do not diagnose, treat, or refer to treatment; but they may refer a student to a liaison who may screen or assess for further community based services and support.

    SAP recognizes that detrimental influences in the areas of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, mental health, as well as other concerns continue to adversely affect the health and well-being of our youth. In recent years, Student Assistance Program teams have become more diverse in their prevention efforts with focus on improving school climate in order to address school violence, bullying and cyber-bullying, suicidal ideation, and self-injurious behaviors, among others. In addition, SAP is interwoven into the guidance actions steps for schools related to attendance and truancy reduction plans.  

    The importance of this established school-wide team approach to identifying at-risk behaviors cannot be emphasized enough. It is imperative that school boards and administration assure implementation of the SAP team process with fidelity to include regular education of all staff and students related to the program, importance of making appropriate and timely referrals, sufficient time for team planning, and encouraging planning for prevention, intervention, and follow-up to assist in the activation of these needed supports. SAP should be the gatekeeper for students dealing with at-risk issues impacting school performance/success.

    The ultimate goal of the SAP team is to reduce the possibility of a student falling between the cracks and potentially causing harm to self or others.

    SAP is voluntary and, in accordance with laws of confidentiality, requires written permission to participate. Involvement of parents in all phases of the Student Assistance Program underscores the parents’ role and responsibility in the decision-making process affecting their child’s education and is key to the successful intervention and possible resolution of concerns.

    A Student Assistance Program (SAP) can be a significant resource for parents and students and, when properly implemented, could possibly save the life of a troubled student and others.

    We encourage you to contact your local school administrators to learn more about their SAP Program.

    Terry L. Kerr, Executive Director
    Lisa Sviben Miller, President
    Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistance Professionals (PASAP)

  • Saturday, February 17, 2018 9:29 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    1. Act 71 Suicide Awareness/Prevention: The previous Model Policy along with the Administrative Regulations available for schools to use have been update with minor revisions. Links to these two updated documents will be sent out to all districts, as well as to Commonwealth Approved SAP Trainers by late February.

    2. DDAP’s State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant: Funding through this grant has gone to county drug and alcohol offices. They were permitted to use the funds for SAP training (to include paying for substitute teachers for school staff who attend the training) and purchasing program curriculum, workbooks and other program materials for certain evidence-based prevention programs. DDAP has applied for a second year of funding under this grant and expects to know the outcome of that application in April or May.

    3. Truancy Prevention: PDE’s Legal team is currently developing the Basic Education Circular and is scheduled for completion in March.

    4. Opioid Bill 1190:

    The Bill was not passed; however, some of the statutory language from Section 1547 (PS 15-1547 formerly Act 211) of the School Code, was amended by Act 55 of 2017 (HB 178). PDE is charged with developing, in collaboration with DOH and DDAP, a model curriculum for use in grades 6-12 as well as in-service training programs for LEAs to be used beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

    5. Course Development: A PILS course, "Equity in Schools" is currently being developed by PATTAN, Harrisburg.

    6. Safe Schools Office/PDE:

    a.) The PA Career Ready Skills were created to support schools with non-academic skills all students need to be successful in school, jobs and adult life. The committee working with this initiative will release a document to introduce the skills as well as a toolkit for schools.

    b.) 2017-18 PDE School Climate Surveys Participation

    The non-School Climate Leadership Initiative group:

    Total surveys – 77

    Participants - 12,194

    LEAs Participating - 18

    The School Climate Leadership group:

    Total surveys 273

    Participants - 35,747

    LEAs Participating – 59

    c.) PA Bullying Prevention Consultation Line (866-716-0424): The Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Consultation Line is a toll-free number available to school staff, students and parents across the Commonwealth. The consultation line offers discussion of effective strategies and resources available to deal with school-based bullying. Approximately 4-5 calls come into the line on a weekly basis. In addition, parents and guardians call or email the PA Department of Education directly seeking support for unresolved bullying situations. During the 2016-2017 school year, over 250 calls came into the PA BP Consultation Line.

    For more information contact: Joe Loccisano, PDE Safe Schools Office: jloccisano@pa.gov

  • Friday, February 16, 2018 12:36 PM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Association of Student Professionals (PASAP) sends it heartfelt sympathy to all those who have been impacted by the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida.  The immense challenge of those working to recover from this most recent act of violence is truly unimaginable.  Strong and effective Student Assistance Programs become increasingly important as we work to identify those students who are struggling with at-risk issues.  As an organization, we stand ready to provide resources and information that may assist educators, agency providers, parents and the community as they deal with the aftermath of this terrible incident.  Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can be of support.

Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistance Professionals
PO Box 165
Titusville, Pennsylvania 16354 

Email us: support@pasap.org 

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