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District to introduce K-12 Character Education curriculum

on March 2, 2016

A group of WVCSD teachers and prevention professionals came together last summer to create a framework for a new K-12 Prevention Plan to address substance abuse through education.

Early discussions around curricular activities were informed by research showing that a strong foundation of life skills helps direct adolescent behavior.

Since then, a proposal for a K-12 character education curriculum has received Board of Education approval. More recently, a third grade pilot program developed under the direction of Richard Linkens, Director of School Operations, was presented to third grade teachers, who have committed to testing the program during the 2016-17 academic year. Feedback provided by these teachers will be valuable when the program is implemented in subsequent grades.

The prevention curriculum, developed in partnership with the Warwick Valley Coalition for the Prevention of Substance Abuse, consists of two prevention units of six lessons each, and emphasizes skill development related to self-discipline and self-improvement. Universal bridge activities will complement individual lessons and align with school-wide efforts around PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports). In its advanced phase, the Prevention Plan will build curricular connections to the Health and Physical Education departments at the Middle School and High School.

Expected positive outcomes include respect for self and others; time-management skills; positive outlook on life; the practice of positive decision-making; discovery of personal talents and potential; personal goal-setting; and the practice of courage and persistence.

In the context of its partnership with the District, the Coalition offers education through the “Strengthening Families” program, networking with parent groups and facilitating the Youth Advisory Board to engage students in community service as a positive alternative to alcohol and drug use.

The Warwick Valley Coalition for the Prevention of Substance Abuse (WVCPSA), a CADCA recognized community coalition, involves families; educators, youth; business owners; law enforcement; government; health practitioners; clergy and diverse community groups and resources. The WVCPSA is dedicated to learning about Warwick’s youth with regard to alcohol and drug use; education; outreach and collaboration with the Warwick Valley Central School District in the prevention of substance abuse.

 

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