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What programs and resources does MCPS have in place to address substance abuse? How is MCPS working with families, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other relevant agencies to coordinate programs and services for students?

Question#: 56

ANSWER:

Montgomery County Publics Schools (MCPS) addresses substance abuse through our Kindergarten–Grade 12 Health Education Curriculum.  Curriculum 2.0 addresses substance abuse through the development of critical thinking and decision making in Kindergarten–Grade 5.  Substance abuse is addressed in Grades 6–8 through the middle school health curriculum.  In Grades 9–12, substance abuse is addressed in the required high school health course.

Phoenix at Needwood Academy, an MCPS alternative program, is a recovery support program committed to providing a safe and caring place for students to receive their education while they are in treatment for substance abuse.

Substance abuse resources are available in all schools through the counseling and administrative offices.  School health staff members, counselors, and administrators receive training to identify uncharacteristic behaviors in students. Teachers are encouraged to refer students to trained staff members if they believe a student is at risk. 

Families are made aware of resources specific to substance abuse via Parent Teacher Association meetings, parent/teacher conferences, and community forums.  Other resources available to parents are included in A Students Guide to Rights and Responsibilities handbook, and the High School Athletics Handbook.

MCPS student services staff work in collaboration with our community agency partners to refer and assist students and families with substance abuse concerns.  Staff maintain open communication through our Collaborative Problem Solving process to assist and support students with instruction and social and emotional issues while accessing community resources available through our partnerships with community agencies, which include:

  • SASCA:  Screening and Assessment Services for Children and Adolescents
  • Mental Health Association
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Montgomery County Police Department
  • MCPS Department of School Safety and Security
  • County Commission on Children and Youth

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