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  • Tuesday, May 15, 2018 8:41 AM | Anonymous

    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:   

    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 | Anonymous

    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 | Anonymous

    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:

  • Friday, February 16, 2018 12:36 PM | Anonymous

    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.

  • Friday, February 02, 2018 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    The goal of the program is to create healthier school environments that experience positive, sustainable, and lasting change through comprehensive strategies. The Highmark Foundation has a new look and feel with some changes that are intended to make it easier for schools to apply for the grants and implement the programs. Your school may apply for a school grant in one of four areas: Bullying Prevention, Child Injury Prevention, Environmental Health, or Healthy Eating & Physical Activity. Public, private, vocational high school, parochial and charter schools throughout West Virginia and Pennsylvania (excluding Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties) are invited to apply. Now entering its sixth year, the Highmark Foundation’s School Grant and Awards Program has provided more than $1.8 million of support to schools in communities served by Highmark Inc. in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

    Click here to access the grant. All applications must be submitted online.

  • Thursday, February 01, 2018 2:58 PM | Anonymous

    When a suicide or tragedy occurs in a school district, STAR Center Outreach staff are available to consult with educators on how to provide postvention services. STAR Center Outreach staff are available by telephone to any district or agency following a suicide or tragedy that occurs in their school community 24/7 (412-864-3346). Many school districts across the country have come to rely on the Postvention Standards Manual: A Guide for a School’s Response in the Aftermath of a Sudden Death. Click here to contact the STAR Center or request a training.

  • Thursday, February 01, 2018 2:49 PM | Anonymous

    The Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS): How-To Guide & Workbook with Supplemental Materials. The PAYS How-To Guide & Workbook was designed to help you and your team to get the most out of your PAYS data. Throughout the guide you'll find worksheets that prompt you to answer thought-provoking questions about your data. Because this PDF document contains editable fields, if you're working online you may type your responses directly into the worksheets and save or print your completed guide. Access the updated guide here.

  • Thursday, February 01, 2018 2:20 PM | Anonymous


  • Monday, December 11, 2017 7:53 AM | Anonymous

    Prevent Suicide PA and the Pennsylvania Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant are pleased to announce that the Suicide Prevention Online Learning Center is now live!  This site is designed to provide current and evidence-based information to anyone who may come into contact with individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors, including educators, mental health professionals, medical professionals, and the general community.  

    The Online Learning Center can be accessed by visiting

    Select featured courses include the following:

    • Suicide Prevention for Educators (an 8-class course that can fulfill Act 71 requirements for schools)
    • Clinical Approaches to Suicide Prevention for School-based Counselors
    • Method Restriction: Primary Care and Public Health Approaches

    When visiting the site for the first time, users must click the “login” tab to register, creating a username and password.  Then, click the “All Courses” tab to view all site content.  Any trainings that users complete will be documented on a transcript that may be downloaded, and some courses will offer printable certificates.

    We hope you find this new training resource useful in supporting your personal and professional suicide prevention efforts!

  • Tuesday, December 05, 2017 3:22 PM | Anonymous

    Pennsylvania’s Governor signed new truancy legislation, taking effect for the 2016-17 school year, with the express purpose of improving students’ attendance and deterring truancy through a “comprehensive approach to consistently identify and address attendance issues as early as possible through credible interventions.” With the above in mind, schools should use their Student Assistance Program (SAP) building teams to support the efforts of the new truancy law, particularly with early prevention of school absences, well before they become chronic.

    Typically, the initial SAP referral is made by a concerned school staff member as a result of one or a combination of observable behaviors, triggered by a change of a student’s usual pattern of attendance, academic performance, health, and/or general behavior.  In those cases where SAP is already involved with a chronically absent student, participation by a SAP team member greatly augments the School Attendance Improvement Plan (SAIP) by providing first-hand historic and informational background whenever the SAIP stakeholders meet to discuss a particular student’s case.

Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistance Professionals
PO Box 1254
State College, Pennsylvania 16804 

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