Student Assistance Program

What is the Student Assistance Program (SAP)?

The Student Assistance Program (SAP) is a statewide initiative designed to help school personnel identify students who may be experiencing serious school-related problems. Through a systematic process, students are identified, interviewed and, if appropriate, referred to an outside agency.

Who's on the SAP team at Iron Forge Elementary School?

Amandna Windhausen, Teacher
Amanda Sheaffer, Teacher
Angelina Romano, School Social Worker
Aron Kunkel, School Counselor
Brad Zell, Teacher
Chelshea Pruznak, School Psychologist
Courtney Salmon, Mental Health Liason
Tara Swank, Teacher
Jerri Swavely, Cumberland/Perry Drug and Alcohol
Trisha Reed, Principal

Why is the South Middleton School District 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/she cannot learn.

Schools are the only institution through which all children 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.

How Does the Student Assistance Team Operate?

A referral may be made by any concerned person by contacting a member of the Student Assistance Team or by requesting a SAP referral form.

Upon receiving a referral, the team designates a case manager who gathers information from faculty members who have contact with the student. Next, the case manager establishes contact with the parents. After receiving parental permission, the team member then meets with the students to discuss the reason for the referral.

Sometimes, the problem may be solved by intervention from school personnel. Other times, more information is needed. If the team recommends, a formal assessment is offered to the student by professionals from county drug and alcohol and/or mental health agencies. These specialists are team members and will make recommendations based on the information gathered from all the sources. The recommendation may range from school based services to a referral for formal treatment.

The team monitors and provides support for the student throughout the process. Confidentiality between the student and school personnel will be respected and maintained.

How to Make a Referral

Who can make a referral?
Anyone who is concerned about a student. A referral could come from a teacher, a parent, another student, or a student could refer him/her self.

How does one make a referral?
Referrals can be made in one of two ways.

  • A concerned person could make a referral by calling or talking to a building principal, guidance counselor, or any of the team members listed on this site. A referral form will then be completed and sent to the team.
  • A concerned student could also call or talk to a team member about themselves or a friend.

How do I get more information?
If you would like more information about the student assistance team, please feel free to call any team member. Call any member of the Student Assistance Team if you would like to make a referral.


Why Make a Referral?

Behavior Changes

  • Unexplained periods of moodiness or depression
  • Over-reaction to mild criticism
  • Preoccupation with self; loss of concern of others
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Lethargy; lack of energy
  • Need for instant gratification
  • Changes in values and beliefs
  • Change in friends
  • Disappearance of money

School Changes

  • Decline in acadmics
  • Reduced short-term memory
  • Reduced concentration
  • Sleeping in class
  • Slow response
  • Increased behavior problems
  • Change in peer group
  • Frequent tardiness/absenteeism

Warning Signs of Depression

  • Noticeable change in eating and sleeping habits
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Persistent boredom
  • Decline in quality of school work
  • Running away
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Unusual neglect of personal appearance
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Psychosomatic complaints
  • Depressed mood
  • Refusal to attend school
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Excessive fear

(From Teenline, Holy Spirit Hospital)

Warning Signs of Suicidal Thoughts and/or Actions

  • Direct verbal statements or threats of suicide.
  • Indirect verbal clues e.g. "Everyone would be better off with out me."
  • Previous suicide attempt, including minor gestures such as scratching wrists or taking mild overdoses.
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Specific purchase or questions about lethal methods which would indicate having a suicide plan in mind.
  • Discontinuation or withdrawal from activities which had been important
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Sudden behavior changes
  • Expression of feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Symptoms of depression.

(from Teenline, Holy Spirit Hospital)

Signs of Possible Drug Use: Physical Symptoms

  • Acting intoxicated
  • Bloodshot eyes or droopy eyelids
  • Imprecise eye movements
  • Wearing sunglasses at inappropriate times
  • Abnormally pale complexion
  • Change in speech
  • Frequent persistent illness
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Repressed physical development
  • Sudden appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Neglect of personal appearance

Related Links

For more information about Student Assistance Teams, Drug and Alcohol abuse, or Mental Health issues click the links below.

Cumberland-Perry Drug & Alcohol Commission - This site provides a comprehensive list of services offered locally.

Student Assistance Program - This link is specifically for student assistance services.

More Information about ESAP  - This link provides more information about ESAP/SAP.