Student Assistance Program

Being a teenager can be stressful.
Sometimes the many changes and pressures can be overwhelming.
The Student Assistance Program is here to help.
Student Assistance Program

Student Assistance Programs are mandated in every high school and middle school in the state of Pennsylvania. The Student Assistance Program (SAP) at East Pennsboro Area High School aims to identify students who may be facing challenges or barriers to learning that pose a threat to a student’s success. Such challenges may include family problems, eating/sleeping difficulties, peer conflict, depression, pregnancy, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, anxiety/fears, and drug and/or alcohol use. The primary goal of SAP is to provide the intervention necessary to promote a student’s achievement and success. SAP follows state-mandated guidelines for student assistance programs.

Team Members

Mr. David Frey, Principal;

Mrs. Jennifer Shelley, Assistant Principal;

Miss Diane Libby, Guidance Counselor;

Ms. Christina Baker-Lipschutz, Guidance Counselor;

What Is the Student Assistance Program?

SAP is a confidential and voluntary intervention program aimed at identifying students who are faced with challenges that prevent a student from learning. SAP provides intervention to support and promote a student’s achievement and success. The core of the program is a professionally trained team, including school staff and liaisons from community drug & alcohol and mental health agencies.  SAP team members are trained to identify problems, determine whether or not the presenting problem lies within the responsibility of the school, and to make recommendations to assist the student and the parent.   When the problem lies beyond the scope of the school, the SAP team will assist the parent and student so they may access services within the community.  The student assistance team members do not diagnose, treat, or refer to treatment, but they may refer for a screening or refer for an assessment for treatment.


How Does My Child Become Involved in the Program?

If you would like to refer your child or another student for which you have some concern, referrals can be made by calling a  school guidance counselor, filling out a referral form in the main office or guidance office, or requesting an online referral form from a team member. Referrals can be made by anyone, including peers, teachers, parents, coaches, community members, or by students themselves. You may remain anonymous when submitting a referral. Referrals remain confidential, being discussed only within the SAP team.

The SAP team will review the referral and obtain current academic performance and observable behavior from the student’s teachers. The SAP team will then decide whether the referral is appropriate for SAP. Once the referral is accepted, parent contact is made to obtain permission to have the student participate in the SAP process. Parent permission is required in order for a student to be involved in SAP. 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. Following parent permission, the student must also agree to participate in SAP and sign the required forms. As previously stated, SAP is a voluntary program.


What if Someone Has Already Referred My Child to the Program?

When someone refers your child to SAP, this means that someone cares about your child and has some concerns regarding changes he or she may have noticed. Perhaps a teacher or friend has noticed changes in behavior and/or habits that you may or may not have noticed at home. Maybe your child has approached someone about a problem he/she is trying to solve. The SAP team will proceed with the referral process and will contact you, as the parent, for permission to proceed if the referral is accepted by the team. All information is kept confidential by the SAP team. No one other than the SAP team and the adults at school who need to know will know that you are involved in the program.


What Happens After I Give My Permission?

The team will take several steps after you sign the permission form:

  • A SAP team member will be assigned as a case manager for your child. He/She will talk with you either in person or over the phone about your observations, your child’s strengths, and your concerns. You will also be asked to complete a Parent Checklist to detail your observations.
  • Your child will then meet with the case manager to discuss the noted concerns and the Student Assistance Program. Your child will be asked to participate in the program and sign the permission and release forms. If he/she agrees, a Student Checklist will be completed. The case manager will further discuss any areas of concern and make recommendations as to what steps should be taken next.
  • Together, the student, parent, and 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 SAP team will continue to work with and support your child. They will monitor your child’s progress and success in school.
It is the parent’s right to be involved in the SAP process. Involvement of parents in all phases of the Student Assistance Program emphasizes a parent’s role and responsibility in the decision–making process affecting his or her child’s education and is key to the successful resolution of problems. Your continued involvement as a parent is encouraged as your child progresses.


Some Signs that May Indicate the Need for SAP Involvement

  • Sudden drop in grades or change in study habits
  • Withdrawing from family, friends, and/or school
  • Changing friends; no longer spending time with old friends
  • Unexplained physical injuries
  • Talking about suicide
  • Depressed
  • Defying authority, both at home and at school
  • Acting aggressively
  • Lying
  • Needing money without an explanation
  • Experimenting with drugs or alcohol
  • Recent death of a loved one
  • Divorce of parents
  • Family relocation
  • Relationship problems
  • Other traumatic event

If your child is having trouble in or out of school, the SAP team can help. Please contact a team member if you have questions or need assistance!