Friday, August 21, 2015

"we talk about substance abuse at the elementary, middle and high school levels"

Via Maureen Sabolinski, Superintendent, Franklin Public Schools
Hi- I wanted to followup with Kristen Cerce/Director K-12 Health and PE about curriculum in Franklin Public Schools - Kristen had been out of town - here is the summary- pretty comprehensive.

As far as our curriculum goes, we talk about substance abuse at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Our primary focus is on alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco, but we do educate students about other drugs in both middle and high school. The lessons that we teach are dependent on the needs of our students, as identified in the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey.

At the elementary level, students primarily learn about alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and prescription/non-prescription drugs, as well as refusal skills. They learn strategies to avoid using substances including drugs and alcohol. 
K-2 teachers discuss prescription and over the counter drugs, instructing students on how to take medicine safely and cautioning them that they should only take medicine if a trusted adult gives it to them. 
The curriculum for grades 3-5 focuses on how drugs affect the body, the dangers of drugs, drug and alcohol refusal skills, and how to make good choices. Teachers typically do not name harder drugs, such as opiates, but if a student brings up the name of a specific drug, they will answer the student's question. 
The DARE program goes into other drugs in more depth than our program. Students participate in the DARE program in grade 5. 
Throughout middle school, teachers focus on a spectrum of drugs in greater depth than elementary school. These drugs include alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, bath salts, cocaine, steroids, prescription/non-prescription drugs, and opioids. Lessons focus on refusal skills, the dangers and risks associated with drug use/abuse. 
Wellness students (grades 9 and 10) study drug abuse in greater detail. Again, lessons are designed based on the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey. Survey results indicate that these are the ages at which students are inclined to experiment with alcohol and marijuana more than other drugs. 
Wellness 9 specifically focuses on alcohol and marijuana, because they are common “gateway drugs.” Lessons address legal issues associated with theses drugs, as well as impaired driving, sexual assault, addiction, social host laws, related diseases, and other resulting injuries. 
Wellness 10 reviews topics covered in Wellness 9 and serves as a general overview of drug abuse classifications. These drug classifications include: stimulants (cocaine, crack, caffeine, amphetamines), depressants (alcohol, barbiturates, cannabis), hallucinogens (ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms, “date rape drugs”), narcotics (prescription/non-prescription drugs, opioids, heroin, morphine), inhalants, and tobacco (smoking and smokeless). Students typically participate in drug research projects and presentations. 
I hope this information is what you are looking for. Feel free to contact me with any questions. 
Thank you,Kristin

This update is in response to a question from the audience at the recent SAFE Coalition meeting. The audio recordings of that meeting and panel/Q&A discussions can be found here Part 1 and Part 2

S.A.F.E. Community Coalition Meeting featuring Dr. John Kelly
S.A.F.E. Community Coalition Meeting featuring Dr. John Kelly

The Franklin TV video for the presentation portion of the meeting can be found here

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