Student Assistance Programming
The Illinois Masonic Student Assistance Program is a school-based early intervention approach for students who are having difficulty being successful in school. There are a number of factors that may contribute to student difficulties in school. Among these are problems with:
What is the Goal of the SAP?
- Substance Abuse
- Changes in the family
- Peer pressure
- School environment
Student Assistance Programs can positively affect student achievement and health.
The goal of the Student Assistance Program is to identify and assist students whose behavior, attendance, health and /or academic performance indicate that they may have problems threatening their success in school.
Through the SAP process, students are directed to appropriate school or community- based services. Working cooperatively, the school-based core team and community services personnel assist the student and his/her family to receive the necessary help.
Who is on the Core Team?
The core team of the SAP is comprised of a building administrator, two or more classroom teachers, school counselors, social workers, and a school nurse. A district central office administrator is also needed to mentor the program's development.
- Ad hoc team members include:
- School psychologist
- Adolescent/child addictions counselor
- Child/family mental health counselor
Most Student Assistance Programs have several components, that when implemented comprehensively will help the program be successful. Included in these components are:
How are students actually helped?
- School Board Policy which is fair and consistently enforced addressing the areas of Substance use/abuse/sale, violent behavior and the role of the Student Assistance Program.
- Administrative support at both the building and district level
- Formation of a building-level intervention or core team
- Staff Development Training - Appropriate and ongoing, for the core team and all staff
- An internal referral process to identify students that is school-based and school -focued
- Program Awareness for staff, parents and students
- Integration with other school based programs and resources
- Cooperation and collaboration with community based agencies and resources
- Student intervention resources including support groups and mentoring
- Program evaluation
Briefly, a systematic, objective and careful process is followed, which includes:
- Early identification,
- Data Collection of grades, attendance, parent and student self reports,
- Intervention plan and implementation to help address the problem, which may involve mentors, joining a group or seeing an community counselor and
- Follow-up, a collaborative process to monitor the student's progress and need for additional options.