The Dearborn Public Schools have partnered with several community organizations to take a proactive approach in providing age appropriate education about the dangers of substance abuse and the importance of making good choices.
“Fortunately we do not have a drug problem in our schools nor are we seeing any type of significant increase in students taking part in drug related activities”, commented Ms. Danene Charles, Coordinator of Affective Education for the District.
“However, we are not immune to this growing problem in our nation and there are families in our community impacted by substance misuse and abuse,” Charles went on to say.
Under the direction of Superintendent Maleyko, district staff members developed a comprehensive plan that reached beyond just building an awareness of substance abuse and included:
• Heighten awareness about drug use focusing on positive messaging and making good choices
• Providing students (3rd - 12th grade) with language to “Say No”
• Engaging parents by providing information regarding education, prevention, and treatment
• Minimizing the stigma and/or shame associated with substance abuse
With 21,000 students and 34 schools reaching all students in a timely manner with age appropriate messaging is a daunting task. The District looked to several long time community partners to be part of the effort.
“We are very fortunate in Dearborn to have the support of several great organizations in our community. They all bring unique qualifications, expertise, and experience to the table and we greatly appreciate their willingness to step up and be a part of the solution,” commented Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko.
As a first year pilot program four dynamic community organizations, LAHC (Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities), C-ASIST (Community, Advocate, Support, Inspire, Service and Teach), ACCESS Substance Abuse Program and SAFE (Safe, Addiction, Family, Education- HYPE Athletics) were strategically matched with schools throughout the District.
Although some of the organizations have already been involved with schools in the district, the program will officially get underway in January 2018. The framework includes:
• Thirty minutes or less of instruction in grades 3-5, middle and high school students during one class period.
• At least 1 interactive assembly should be provided at each school.
• At least 1 parent meeting should be provided at each school (or combined with other schools if possible)
• An optional component may include participation of a student club or organization
The effectiveness of the program will be evaluated in June and adjustments made to enhance lessons and or content.
“Our hope is that by working with our community partners in a proactive approach we will be able to reach our students with a positive message and meaningful information that will help them to make wise decisions not only now but throughout their life,” Dr. Maleyko commented.