What is the Student Assistance Program?

    In Pennsylvania, every school district is required to have a plan for identifying and assisting students who experience “barriers to learning”. The Secretary of Education established the Student Assistance Program as a Pre-K through Twelfth Grade System for assisting parents and school personnel in removing these barriers. A SAP team, made up of school and agency staff, is available to help you access school and community services for your child.

    Your school’s SAP team will help you find services and assistance within the school and, if needed, in the community. We do not diagnose, treat, or refer your child for treatment. Rather, we will provide you with information; you make the choices. Remember, you are part of our team. Our goal is to help your child succeed in school.

    How does my child become involved in the program?

    Students come to the SAP team in different ways. Anyone can refer a student to the Student Assistance Program. Some students are referred by teachers and other school personnel. Any school staff member, a student’s friend or family member can let the SAP team know that they are worried about someone. The students themselves can even go directly to the SAP team to ask for help. However, the SAP team will not become involved unless we receive your permission.

    What if someone has already referred my child to the program?

    First, know that your child was referred because someone is concerned about observable changes they are seeing in your child. Perhaps a teacher or friend has noticed changes in behavior and habits that you may or may not have noticed at home.

    The SAP team will request that you sign a permission form for your child to become involved in the program. Once you sign, the SAP team will begin to work with you and your child. If you feel you need more information before making a decision, please let your SAP team know. If you do not sign the permission form, the SAP team will not become involved. Participation is voluntary.

    What happens after I give my permission?

    There are several steps that the team will take after you sign the permission form:

    • Together, you and the SAP team will develop a plan of action to help your child achieve success in school. The plan might include services and activities in school and/or services from a community agency. If necessary, the SAP team will talk with you about services in the community and give you information on how to contact others who may be able to help.
    • The SAPteam will continue to work with and support your child. They will stay in touch with you to talk about your child’s progress and success in school. Your continued involvement is very important.