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  • Sunday, October 12, 2014 7:21 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    The House Education Committee approved the following items:

    Parent Penalties for Truancy -- House Bill 2356 (Rep. Gillen, R-Berks) amends provisions in the School Code regarding truancy by removing required fines and jail time for parents of truant students. Under the bill, a parent must intentionally fail to comply with compulsory attendance requirements in order to warrant a summary conviction. The bill adds community service as an alternative to the current requirement to complete a parenting education program. The committee approved an amendment that reinstates imprisonment as an optional penalty for truancy. Last week PSBA presented testimony to the House Education Committee on House Bill 2356, suggesting that there are a number of legislative changes that would be very helpful in addressing clarity and flexibility with truancy enforcement issues.

    Statewide Truancy Study -- House Resolution 1032 (Rep. Benninghoff, R-Centre) directs the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to examine truancy across the Commonwealth.  The resolution was amended to add representatives of county children and youth agencies and juvenile justice agencies to the committee; and clarifies language related to charter and cyber charter schools.

  • Monday, September 15, 2014 8:39 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    On Monday, 9/15/14, the PA General Assembly is returning to Harrisburg for the remaining days in the two year Legislative Session.
     
    Also on Monday, Senate Bill 1164 is scheduled for a vote of final passage in the PA House of Representatives.  Senate Bill 1164 includes Good Samaritan provisions for those seeking help for people who have overdosed.  It also provides access to Narcan for first responders and families.

    If the bill is passed by the PA House, it will return to the PA Senate for a vote of concurrence on House amendments, including the amendments providing access to Narcan for first responders and families.

     

  • Monday, September 15, 2014 8:34 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    Police, Safety Groups to Offer Safety Seat Checkpoints Statewide

    Harrisburg – State Police and PennDOT are encouraging motorists to participate in free child passenger safety seat checkups throughout Pennsylvania as the agencies mark National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 14 – 20. Additionally, Saturday, Sept. 20, has been designated as “National Seat Check Saturday.”

    “I urge all parents and caregivers to not only get their seats checked, but also to explore all educational materials available to them,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. “PennDOT, police departments and safety partners across the state are available year-round to ensure children are legally and correctly restrained.” 

    PennDOT funds resources such as training and educational materials for 145 fitting stations across Pennsylvania, at which more than 5,000 car seats were checked last year. The checkups are designed to teach drivers the proper installation and use of child safety seats.

    Another PennDOT-funded resource is “Sit Back – It’s Elementary,” a new elementary school curriculum focused on reducing traffic-related injuries and deaths. Through the in-school program, trained police officers and safety partners educate children on making proper seat-belt use and positioning a habit.

    “Child car seats and booster seats save lives, but only when they are installed and used properly,” said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan.  “The inspections conducted by our troopers typically find that a high percentage of these seats are not installed correctly -- in many cases, the child’s seat was not securely anchored,” Noonan said.  “Anchoring the child seat properly to the vehicle is critical to its performance in a crash.”

    Pennsylvania law requires that children under the age of 4 ride in a federally-approved car seat that is appropriate for the child's age, height and weight. Children between the ages of 4 and 8 must use a booster seat if they are no longer in a car seat.

    The state’s seat belt law mandates that children ages 8 to 17 must use a seat belt, and violating this law is a primary offense. It is a secondary offense for drivers and front seat passengers age 18 and older to travel unbuckled.

    Because of the potential dangers associated with air bag deployment, children ages 12 and under should always ride in a vehicle’s back seat.

    The State Police Bureau of Patrol also offered the following tips:

    • Read and follow the car seat and vehicle manufacturers’ instructions;
    • Use the car’s seat belt to anchor the seat to the car unless you are using a child safety seat with the LATCH system;
    • Fill out and return the registration card for your seat so you'll know if it is recalled because of a problem;
    • Make sure the seat’s harness fits snugly; and
    • Use a tether strap if the seat requires it.

    For more information on car seat safety and to get a list of state police car seat safety inspection locations and dates, click on the "Public Safety" link at www.psp.state.pa.us.

    To view a list of PennDOT-supported car seat checks and see how PennDOT promotes child passenger safety, visit www.JustDrivePA.com, then "Traffic Safety Information Center" and "Child Passenger Safety."

    Media contacts:
    Ashley Schoch, PennDOT, 717-783-8800
    Adam Reed, Pennsylvania State Police, 717-783-5556

  • Wednesday, September 03, 2014 7:31 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    Informing Everyone About Your School’s SAP Team

    “Mar-ket-ing noun \ˈmär-kə-tiŋ\:  the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc...the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service” (Webster, n.d.).

    Marketing is an essential element to an effective Student Assistance Program (SAP) team’s functioning as they work to promote the positive results that can stem from the SAP process.  Why is it an essential component?  A well-functioning team needs to share information and understanding about the purpose of the SAP process with stakeholders, including parents, students, educators, staff, and the community.

    From the parent aspect, parents need to be partners in the SAP process working with the school’s SAP team to support the student once an issue has been identified.  Parents also need to know that the SAP team is a viable option for support and assistance at the school and be familiar and comfortable with team members in order to establish a level of trust and comfort to work effectively with the team. Marketing the SAP team to parents can include creating an inviting, easy to access web page connected to the school website, possibly containing a team member’s email address to easily communicate concerns to the team member; a mini presentation by team members at a school’s open house night with an informational brochure for parents to keep on the refrigerator should need arise throughout the year; and team members attending school functions to become easily recognized and reachable by parents.

    Students on the other hand need to know they are not alone and when they need assistance or know of a friend or classmate that may need assistance; they know who they can reach out to in the school.  Marketing the SAP process to students may take the form of having an original SAP logo created and displayed outside each team member’s door to alert students to those educators who are trained to provide support through the SAP process; including a SAP presentation at the beginning of the year to inform students of who and what the SAP team is; and utilizing and advertising the ways that student SAP referral can be made in the school, through a frequently visited mailbox located in the school or easy access email monitored by a SAP team member.

    While marketing the SAP process to parents and students is important, educating all school educators and staff is also essential.  Marketing the process includes in-servicing teachers and staff on the SAP process, the SAP team members, and how to make referrals; defining the process and access to forms for ease in referring students in need; and providing opportunities for all staff members to be trained in the SAP process, as funding allows, to demonstrate the importance and overall process of the program.

    Finally, marketing the SAP process to the community through presentation, brochures, and websites can help to build community support for the overall health and well-being of all stakeholders in creating environments and situations that are beneficial to the safety, health, welfare, and education of all children. What ideas do you have for marketing your SAP team?  What’s been most successful?  Contact your SAP Regional Coordinator if you have SAP marketing success stories to share.  Maybe your SAP team can host the refreshment stand at the next parent/teacher night or home football game!
    Marketing. (n.d.).

    Retrieved August 22, 2014, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marketing

    This article is taken from September 2014 SAP County Coordination Update - Prepared by PA Network for Student Assistance Services (PNSAS) 

    Download the entire September 2014 SAP County Coordination Update

  • Thursday, August 28, 2014 3:43 PM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    The Center for Safe Schools is pleased to announce the availability of Safe Dates Implementation Training for Pennsylvania educators and community partners. The training will be held on November 5, 2014 at the Center for Safe Schools, 275 Grandview Avenue, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011. 

    Safe Dates is an evidence-based program for preventing dating abuse among adolescents. It consists of the following five components:

    1. A ten-session dating abuse curriculum
    2. A play about dating abuse
    3. A poster contest
    4. Parent materials, including a letter, newsletter, and the Families for Safe Dates program
    5. An evaluation questionnaire

    Safe Dates can be used as a dating abuse prevention tool for both male and female middle- and high-school students. Safe Dates would fit well within a health education, family life skills, or general life skills curriculum.

    This one-day event is being offered for those individuals who wish to support their schools in the implementation of the Safe Dates Curriculum. A school counselor can offer Safe Dates as part of a support group or counseling/education program or it can be used in after school, community youth enrichment, and faith-based youth programs. Safe Dates can also be used as an intervention tool at domestic abuse or crisis centers, in juvenile diversion programs, and with victim support groups.

    There is a $129.00 registration fee for Pennsylvania educators and community partners. Out-of-state participants or those who will not be implementing Safe Dates in a school will be charged a $350.00 registration fee. Each participant will receive a copy of the Safe Dates Curriculum and supportive materials, as well as lunch at no extra charge.

    For additional information and to register please click on this link: http://www.safeschools.info/professional-development/2014-safe-dates-implementation-training.
     

  • Friday, August 15, 2014 7:00 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    On behalf of the Officers and Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistant Professionals (PASAP), we welcome Julie S. Perhacs to the PASAP Board of Directors as a new Northeast Region representative. Julie attended her first PASAP Board of Directors meeting on August 8th in State College.  She will be a welcome addition to the board.

    Julie Perhacs is an elementary school counselor in Nanticoke, PA, which is located near Wilkes Barre and has served on the SAP Team for 2 years.  Her undergraduate degree is from Kutztown University and she earned her Masters in School Counseling from the University of Scranton.  Julie has been a school counselor for 7 years and worked in children's mental health for 8 years.  She is the president of the LIU 18 School Counselor Network, is a facilitator for the Strengthening Families Program through the Penn State Extension, and works with graduate students in the counseling program at Marywood University. 

  • Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:32 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    The Susquenita School Board has asked Superintendent Kent Smith to review the district's student drug-testing policy and come back to it next month with recommended changes to make it clearer and perhaps exclude students who are tested in the fifth and sixth grades. Harrisburg Patriot-News, Aug. 12, 2014

    Full story
     

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014 11:33 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    By Sarah D. Sparks on July 23, 2014 9:44 AM

    This morning, yet more evidence that early trauma in children's lives can ripple out for years: A new PLOS-Medicine study finds children and teenagers whose mom or dad died were 50 percent more likely to die themselves by early adulthood.

    Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark analyzed birth and death data from three relatively high-income countries: Denmark from 1968-2008, Sweden from 1973-2006, and Finland from 1987-2006. They found that 2.6 percent of children who lost either parent between the ages of 6 months and 18 years were 50 percent more likely to die themselves by the end of the study period, well into the child's early adulthood.

    Why does this matter to schools? The researchers focused on wealthier countries where the orphaned children were less likely to be left without medical care or resources themselves if their parent died, but there were still "social-behavioral consequences of parental death, such as the loss of a care giver, misbehaviors, and functioning impairment [which] can increase the risk of death from injuries or other external causes." If the parent died of "unnatural causes," such as murder or suicide, the child was 84 percent more likely to die. Parent suicide, for example, led to higher rates of both unnatural and accidental deaths.

    The findings also come on the heels of an April study in the journal Pediatrics that found long-term academic struggle for children after the death of a parent. There's a long-established and rapidly building body of evidence that early severe traumaundefinednot just the death of a parent, but ongoing violence, neglect, and the chronic deprivation that stems from povertyundefinedcan cause "toxic stress" that makes it harder for students to learn and develop. For a good look at how problems can build up for students in the aftermath of a parent's death, check out my colleague Ben Herold's story of Philadelphia student Monica Reyes.

    But many of those same studies also show that even severe trauma doesn't have to turn toxic; children can be remarkably resilient if they are surrounded by a network of support from other adults in their school and community.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 120,000 Americans died in 2011 in prime parenting age, between 20 and 50. The death rate was higher for young black and Hispanic adults than for whites of the same age, and those groups were also more likely to be parents. How much support, and for how long, do schools give to students after trauma? While many school districts have "crisis counselors" and plans in place to support students in the immediate aftermath of tragedy, there are generally fewer resources available for ongoing support, and sometimes teachers and administrators aren't even aware of earlier trauma if a child changes schools.

    As the Denmark researchers concluded: "Parental death in childhood was associated with a long-lasting increased mortality risk from both external causes and diseases, regardless of age and sex of the child and the deceased parent, cause of parental death, as well as population characteristics like socioeconomic background. The findings warrant the need for health and social support to the bereaved children and such support may need to cover an extended time period."

    Download the entire study here:  journal pmed 1001679.pdf

  • Monday, June 30, 2014 12:48 PM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    On Thursday, June 26, Governor Corbett signed Act 71 of 2014 into law – formerly HB 1559. This bill codifies school based suicide prevention and has the following provisions:

    Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, each school entity:

     

    1. SHALL adopt an age-appropriate youth suicide awareness and prevention policy 2. SHALL include 4 hours of training in youth suicide awareness and prevention every 5 years for professional educators in grades 6-12 3. MAY incorporate a youth suicide awareness and prevention curriculum into its existing instructional programs.

     

    The Department of Education SHALL:

    1. Develop a model youth suicide awareness and prevention policy, in consultation with a youth suicide prevention organization 2. Develop a model youth suicide awareness and prevention curriculum and make it available to all school entities 3. Compile, develop, and post on its publicly accessible internet website guidelines and materials for training of educators and resources and age-appropriate educational material.

    Link to bill:

    http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2013&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=1559&pn=3709

    (The Act also included sections of HB 19, which deals with child exploitation awareness education. It requires the Department of Education to develop a model child exploitation awareness curriculum which schools may adopt.)   

  • Monday, May 05, 2014 3:18 PM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

    Because of their unique relationship working alongside children in the community, youth professionals and mentors at all levels have a unique role to play in bullying prevention. Children and youth who are struggling with this issue may be more comfortable with approaching these trusted adults.  Stop Bullying.gov  has developed a resource tailored for individuals who are youth professionals and mentors to be a guide for the StopBullying.gov training module. Click here to access this resource. 

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Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistance Professionals
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Titusville, Pennsylvania 16354 

Email us: support@pasap.org 

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