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    About the Prevention and Intervention Program

    The Prevention and Intervention Program is committed to fostering and maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment in our schools. With the goal of discouraging risky and unhealthy behaviors and encouraging healthy choices and positive attitudes we provide universal prevention education, early intervention, screening and identification of problem behavior(s), educational support groups, individual and family intervention, referrals to community-based social service and treatment providers, and back to school transition support services. 

    Program Initiatives:

    1. Drugs and alcohol:

    It is the policy of Seattle Public Schools to provide a drug and alcohol-free environment for our students and staff. We do this through strong anti-drug policy, training for school staff, and providing students with evidence-based programs aimed at preventing the initiation of drug and alcohol use. For students who are already using, we assist in connecting them to early intervention and treatment services.

    Students are taught about drugs and alcohol through evidence-based curricula which are proven to reduce experimental and continued use of substances. These curricula, such as Project ALERT, Project SUCCESS, LifeSkills Training, motivate students against substance use by delivering facts about drugs and their use, providing them with skills and strategies to resist and refuse drugs and helping them establish beliefs and attitudes to maintain non-use. Several of our schools have on-site Prevention and Intervention Specialists to provide classroom education, group counseling, and family outreach and engagement.

    We also currently support two Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative (CPWI) coalitions, the Healthy Youth Central Area Network (HYCAN) and the South West Seattle Youth Alliance (SWSYA), which aim to create healthier communities by building strengths in families, schools and neighborhoods.

    Possessing, using, distributing and selling of drugs and/or alcohol on school property violate school board policy. For more information on SPS’ disciplinary procedures, please visit the Discipline webpage. For a list of substance use treatment agencies, please refer to the “SPS Assessment Resources” document in the resource column.

    2. Mental health:

    Research shows that good mental health is associated with higher productivity, better academic performance, and more consistent attendance.  We strive to support every student in need of mental health care and we try to accomplish that through a few different routes.

    • Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT): SBIRT is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for our students. Many of our secondary schools deliver SBIRT to their students. The SBIRT model includes:
      • Screening: Screening for substance use and mental health issues, combined with a strengths-based survey. Screening can be universal or selected based on needs for each school.
      • Brief Intervention: The Brief Intervention consists of sessions with the youth and caregiver, based on motivational interviewing principles.
      • Referral To: May include referrals to assessment and/or other community-based services and supports.
    • Building partnerships with agencies that specialize in youth mental health services to address student’s mental health needs. Many of the agencies we have partnered with send providers to school to render services.
    • In addition to external mental health agencies, school-based counselors, PI Specialists, and nurses provide mental health screenings and brief intervention services.

    3. Family Life And Sexual Health (FLASH):

    FLASH is a comprehensive sexuality curriculum created by Public Health Seattle and King County.  The FLASH curriculum is grounded in Social Learning Theory and is designed to encourage people to make healthy choices: abstain longer, use protection if they do have sex, seek health care when they need it, communicate effectively with their families and with their partners and health care providers, seek help for sexual abuse, treat others with respect (not harass or exploit them), and stand up to harassment and exploitation.

    The FLASH curriculum is unique in several ways:

    • Addresses such issues as physical development, promotion of sexual health, prevention of disease, affection, interpersonal relationships, body image, and gender roles.
    • Spans the school-age years (grades 5-12 and secondary special education).
    • Embraces an abstinence-based approach, as well as information related to the prevention of pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
    • Focuses on the needs of public schools and diverse communities.
    • Ensures discussion about the wide spectrum of beliefs on sensitive issues.
    • Values family involvement.
    • Is medically accurate, developmentally appropriate, and culturally responsive.

    If you would like to know more about FLASH, please contact: 

    Elementary - Kai B Kunkel | 
    Middle School - Lisa Davidson |
    High School - Lisa Love |

    4. Healthy Youth Survey:

    Our middle and high schools administer this survey every two years to measure various health-related issues including mental and sexual health and substance use. Survey results not only indicate changes in health behavior, they are also used to help identify areas where students need support. Read more about the Healthy Youth Survey