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Scope and Methodology

drug prevention programs; and researchers' observations on drug education (views on specific drug evaluation approaches, problems with evaluating programs, and suggestions for improvements). We conducted our review between September 1989 and May 1990.

Drug Education Programs and Activities in
Six Urban School Districts

Overall, the six school districts we visited used about 52 percent of their
total Drug-Free Schools funds for student assistance programs. The dis-
tricts divided the remaining Drug-Free Schools funds about evenly
between the other two major drug education approaches-school team
training and classroom curricula and materials. Spending for the three
approaches varied among the districts we studied. Houston and Dade
County, for example, used all of their Drug-Free Schools funds for stu-
dent assistance programs, while Detroit used none for such programs.
(See table II.1.) Districts could not always reach all the students or
schools they intended. Districts also used nonfederal funds for drug edu-
cation programs and activities but could not identify the amounts.

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Student Assistance
Programs

Student assistance programs are generally joint school-community programs that provide students with prevention, intervention, support, and instructional services related to drug and alcohol abuse. Participants in student assistance programs do not necessarily have drug- or alcoholrelated problems, but most are considered “high-risk youth.” Such programs are emphasized at the junior and senior high school levels.

Students frequently receive services through individual and group coun-
seling sessions. Typically, they volunteer, although they may be
referred by teachers, counselors, or parents. In the District of Columbia,
programs included after-school and summer instructional, recreational,
and peer-helping activities.

Most group counseling is conducted during the school day, primarily by school personnel, including counselors, teachers, and principals. Volunteers from community agencies may assist. These sessions help students

Drug Education Programs and Activities in
Six Urban School Districts

learn about the effects of drugs and alcohol and, perhaps most importantly, give them the opportunity to discuss personal problems and support each other in dealing with drug- and alcohol-related problems.

Such programs provide for a wide variety of group situations in which students can become involved, depending on their personal needs and experience with drugs and alcohol. For example, a junior high school we visited in Los Angeles had established groups called “The Clean Team" for students not using drugs or alcohol. Leaders of these groups concentrated on preventing substance use and abuse by providing information and support to students who may be at risk for future drug abuse. In contrast, a middle school we visited in Houston had groups for students who were using drugs or alcohol. Leaders of these groups concentrated on intervening in students' use by educating them on the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol and providing the support needed to abstain. In the District of Columbia, peer-helping groups were organized and given training in communication skills and self-esteem building. By participating in school assemblies or personally intervening with other students, participants could assist in school drug education efforts.

School Team Training
Programs

In training programs, teams of school personnel and community representatives are trained to help schools prevent and reduce drug and alcohol abuse. Team members typically attend 3-7 days of training. During it, they receive information on the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol and learn skills to develop and implement drug education programs tailored to their school's needs. This may include assessing the nature and extent of their school's substance abuse problem, determining the kinds of curricula and other programs that would best address student needs in their school, developing or purchasing appropriate programs, and providing leadership and direction in implementing them.

The Cleveland school district used school team training as the primary approach at the junior and senior high school levels. The Los Angeles school district used it as a stepping-stone to provide initial substance abuse training for school staff. Once they learned to work as a team, school personnel could receive additional training in how to conduct student assistance groups.

Drug Education Programs and Activities in
Six Urban School Districts

Classroom Curricula and Materials

Four of the districts we visited (Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, and District of Columbia) used part or all of their Drug-Free Schools funds to purchase materials and training for curricula and other classroom materials. The approaches taken by classroom curricula on drugs and alcohol abuse vary widely as do the kinds of lessons used to provide classroom instruction.

In Cleveland, the district used some of its Drug-Free Schools funds to purchase Children Are People, a commercially developed chemical abuse prevention program for kindergarten through fifth grade. Over a period of 3 weeks each year, this program directly addresses drug and alcohol abuse in 5 of 30 lessons. Class periods range from 45 to 60 minutes. In the remaining 25 lessons, such topics as self-image, decision-making, and family dynamics are covered.

The Detroit school district used all of its Drug-Free Schools funds to buy the Michigan Model, a state-developed, comprehensive, health education program for grades one-eight and train teachers in its use. This program devotes 1 of its 10 major segments to instruction on substance use and abuse over a 2-week period each year. Other segments include safety and first aid, nutrition, personal health practices, and growth and development.

A portion of the Los Angeles school district's Drug-Free Schools funds went to purchase Second Step, a commercially developed violence prevention curriculum for the elementary school level. The program does not specifically mention drugs or alcohol, but covers empathy training, impulse control, and anger management. This violence prevention curriculum was chosen largely for its strong emphasis on decision-making and problem-solving and because it complements the educational strategies used in other district drug prevention programs, a district official told us. A Department of Education official believed this to be an inappropriate use of federal drug education funds. Program officials told us that the Department has referred this matter for resolution to its Office of General Counsel.

The District of Columbia spent part of its Drug-Free Schools funds to purchase classroom materials such as pamphlets and video tapes on drugs and alcohol for all grade levels. The materials supplemented drug education provided through nonfederal funds.

Drug Education Programs and Activities in
Six Urban School Districts

Not All Schools or
Students in a District
Reached

While districts have made progress in implementing Drug-Free Schools programs during the 3 school years that funds have been available to them, most district programs have not reached all students the programs were set up to serve. In some cases, programs were not implemented in all schools or in all classrooms within schools. Sometimes, one or more grade levels for which the program was intended were not covered districtwide. In five of the six districts (Cleveland, Dade County, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.) we reviewed, program implementation and student coverage had not yet met district goals for the programs.

These gaps in coverage occur for two primary reasons, according to district officials:

1. The Drug-Free Schools program is relatively new, and some school districts have not had time to fully implement their programs.

2. Many curricular programs require specialized training for teachers. This training is often voluntary and provided outside the regular school day, making it difficult to obtain enough volunteers.

The Detroit school district exemplifies these gaps in coverage. Its goal is to provide the Michigan Model to all students in kindergarten through the eighth grade. But due to a lack of trained teachers, its implementation in school year 1989-90 was limited to kindergarten through the eighth grade in about half of the district's schools. At the three Detroit middle schools we visited, students in only one grade received drug education because only the teachers in that grade had been trained. Detroit reported that, overall, only 20,254 (11 percent) of its 176,861 students received instruction in the Michigan Model.

In Cleveland, the school district had 549 teachers trained in the Children
Are People curriculum program, enough to cover fewer than half
(17,370 students) of the district's 37,070 kindergarten through fifth-
grade students.

Officials from the Dade County (Miami) school district told us the district intends to implement, but has not yet begun, a student assistance program in 13 of its 24 high schools. Similarly, the Los Angeles district had reached only the first through third grades with its elementarylevel curriculum package. It planned to add the fourth through sixth grades as soon as an ongoing pilot test was completed.

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