Marion County Schools Provide Prevention Programming for 81,400 Students, Schools Share Lessons Learned
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- Meeting Students’ Heightened Emotional Needs: Many grantees noted greater social and emotional needs among students at the start of the 2020-21 school year, likely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More than half of Prevention Matters grantees described their prevention curricula as their foundational programming to address students’ heightened needs.
- Leadership Matters: Schools require consistent support and buy-in from school leadership to successfully implement and sustain their prevention programming. Many grantees reported documenting and sharing program impact last school year to strengthen staff and administrator buy-in, which is critical to long-term program sustainability.
- Build a Strong Base of Support: Grantees have found it is important to share prevention program responsibilities among a committee or taskforce. This minimizes the disruption caused by teacher turnover and helps spread enthusiasm for the prevention program throughout the school community.
- Set Clear Implementation Goals: Embedding a new program into a school’s culture can be difficult. Grantees recommend starting small and scaling program implementation over time. A step-by-step implementation plan with clear goals will ensure all teachers remain focused on high-quality program implementation.
- Regularly Monitor Implementation and Measure Impact: Tracking program success allows schools to continuously improve their prevention instruction. Staff should provide routine observations and feedback to ensure high-quality program implementation and regularly collect student outcomes data to assess program impact.
- Consistency is Key: In Year Three, Prevention Matters grantees improved the consistency of their instruction by using district-wide lesson plans, fidelity checklists and/or online lesson completion trackers.
- Plan for Sustainability: Long-term program sustainability is dependent on prioritizing prevention programming in school and district budgets.
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