Student Assistance Program
WHAT IS THE STUDENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM?
The student assistance program is a statewide initiative designed to help educators identify students who show signs of experiencing serious school-related problems. Through a systematic process, students are identified, interviewed, and if appropriate, referred to an outside agency. It is an intervention process, not a treatment program.
Student assistance programs have been implemented in all Pennsylvania school districts. The core of the program is the student assistance team, comprised of school and agency personnel specially trained to work with at-risk students. Presently, there are two teams in operation; one at the Senior High School and one at the Middle School.
WHY HAS MECHANICSBURG AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT BECOME INVOLVED IN THE STUDENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM?
The primary responsibility of schools is to educate students. If a student is under the influence of mind-altering chemicals or feels depressed and hopeless, he or she cannot learn effectively. If a student disrupts the school climate, other students will not be able to learn and teachers will not be able to teach.
Schools are the only institution through which all young people must pass. This gives the school a unique opportunity to identify and help those whose lives are being negatively affected by some high-risk behavior.
Because Mechanicsburg Area School District employees are dedicated to helping students have optimal learning experiences, we have developed a student assistance program called STAR. The program is a systematic response to students’ problems in our schools.
HOW DOES STAR OPERATE?
STAR is a voluntary intervention process. Any concerned individual may refer a student by contacting the student’s guidance counselor or any member of the Student Assistance Team. Upon receiving a referral, the team gathers information from staff members who have contact with the student. A team member then volunteers to contact a parent. If the parent agrees, then the team member and the student meet to discuss the reason(s) for the referral.
If recommended by the team, formal assessments are offered to the student by trained specialists from county drug and alcohol and/or mental health agencies. These individuals work closely with the team and make recommendations based on the information gathered from all sources. These recommendations may include school-based services, counseling, or a referral for treatment.
Confidentiality between the student and school personnel will be respected and maintained in the best interest of the student.