The PA Masonic Youth Foundation continues a long-standing partnership between the Masons of Pennsylvania and the PA Department of Education’s Student Assistance Program (SAP). SAP is designed to assist school personnel in identifying alcohol, drug, and other issues that pose a barrier to a student’s learning and school success.
Student assistance is not a treatment program. It is a systematic process using effective and accountable professional techniques to mobilize school resources to remove the barriers to learning. Where the problem is beyond the scope of the school, the Student Assistance Team will assist the parent and the student with information so they may access services within the community.
The heart of the program is a professionally trained team, including school staff and liaisons from community agencies, who process issues based upon state guidelines, professional standards, and policies and procedures adopted by the local school board of directors. Professional training for team members in all phases of the student assistance program is required. The rigorous training of all team members, which results in a certificate from the approved training provider, ensures the board of school directors, school administrators, parents, students and the public that team members have received up-to-date professional training consistent with accountable standard and appropriate professional practices.
Pennsylvania Masons have been involved almost since the beginning of Student Assistance. Four school SAP teams participated in the very first SAP team training in December 1984, and in the 1985-86 school year, the Fraternity’s involvement with SAP began. For a significant period of time, SAP team trainings were conducted exclusively at the Masonic Conference Center – Patton Campus in Elizabethtown. Currently, all secondary school buildings are required to provide Student Assistance Programs, and the team trainings are conducted by Commonwealth Approved Training Providers throughout the state. While SAP teams are no longer trained exclusively at Patton Campus, the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation helps fund the Commonwealth Approved Training system, and various other SAP-related programs for educators throughout the Commonwealth. Our partnership with the PA Department of Education’s Student Assistance Program remains strong and is the cornerstone of our prevention efforts.