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Student Assistance Program

Mars Area School District’s Student Assistance Program (SAP) offer a school-based approach to providing focused services to student seeking support or needing interventions for academics, behavior and attendance often because of deeper concerns. This program is a process — not a curriculum or treatment center — that connects programs and services within and across school and community systems to create a network of supports to help students. As a process, SAP and ESAP identify students in need of intervention, assess these students’ specific needs and provide them with support and referral to appropriate resources. The overarching goal of this program is to remove barriers to education so that a student may achieve academically. SAP and ESAP offer support to those students and their families.

At the core of SAP is a team of school employees, who have received specialized training from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania-approved SAP Training Providers. The Team may include teachers, nurses, counselors and administrators, and is often referred to as the “Core Team” or “SAP Team.” Representatives from community agencies may also meet with the Team as consultants.

One of the most important tasks of a SAP Team is to build a working partnership with families, focusing on the student’s success as their common goal. In addition, the Team may offer student-centered services such as education support groups, in-school mentoring and after-care resources. The Team may also assist families in identifying options for professional support when a problem is beyond the scope of the school. Participation in the SAP is voluntary and is offered as a source of help and support for the student and family. When a student is in need of assistance outside of the school setting, knowing how and where to find assistance can be overwhelming. In cases where a problem lies beyond the limits of the school, it is the Team’s responsibility to inform the parent of the problem affecting the child’s performance in school and help the student and his/her family to access services and resources available in the community.


Family & Student Assistance — How Does it Work?


There are several basic steps a Student Assistance Team takes to build an effective partnership with families.
  1. The initial contact may be made by the parent/guardian with concerns or the SAP team may contact the family.
  2. After initial contact the parent/guardian will be invited to meet with Team members to share information, observations, student strengths and common concerns.
With the family’s permission, a Student Assistance Team member may then meet with the student to gather further information, or the Team and family may meet with the student to discuss the barrier(s) to learning. Next, the SAP Team will present the family with options and resources, both in and out of school, which may be of some help to the student. The family then decides on the plan of action they find best suits their child. The plan may or may not include the Student Assistance Team. Whatever the decision, the family and Team attempt to maintain ongoing communication to monitor student progress and success in school. If the family does not want the student to work with the Team, they are invited to contact the Team at any time in the future should the situation or their wishes change.
 

The Family/Student Assistance Partnership

The goal of the Family/Student Assistance Partnership is to encourage and support student success in school. The Student Assistance Team attempts at all times to form a respectful family/school partnership. The family and school share the common goal of supporting and maintaining student success.

As in all good partnerships, both parties have rights and responsibilities. The Student Assistance Team provides the family with concrete information regarding observable student behavior in school. The Team also aids in identifying learning barriers and suggests resources and available options. In turn, the family makes decisions for their child, using the information provided by the Student Assistance Team.

For more information about Mars Area’s Student Assistance Program, contact the Office of Pupil Services at (724) 625-1518, or contact your child’s guidance counselor.