Contact Person: Clarence Jones
The Student Safety and Wellness (SSAW) office is dedicated to promoting prevention activities to increase community awareness and collaboration to support healthy life choices. It also provides prevention presentations for schools and parents, to reduce attendance issues, violence, bullying, gangs, and drug use. The office monitors state and federal websites to identify trends, professional development opportunities, and changes in regulations which may impact the FCPS code of conduct.
One of the many aspects of the SSAW office is working in collaboration with the hearings office, and the school board to edit and revise the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) booklet, and to develop activities, videos and print materials to help students and parents understand the SR&R. SSAW provides accurate and timely response to requests from parents and school staff for interpretation of the student code of conduct and the proper codes to use when recording incidents in the student information system. This helps create a more accurate database of information about behavior trends seen, to allow school teams to develop more refined plans for intervention.
In partnership with the Fairfax County Office of Neighborhood and Community Services and the Fairfax Falls Church Community Services Board, SSAW works with schools, parents and other community members to raise public awareness of trends in alcohol and other drug use in teens. Close collaboration with the police and monthly review of data from law enforcement, schools and community reports results in early identification of problems and early intervention to prevent escalation of unwanted behaviors.
Educational programs are presented for students and parents on how to avoid alcohol and other drugs and how to resist peer pressure around the use of illegal substances. A library of resources is collected each year and shared with schools, so they can, in turn, provide parents with easy access to the latest research and best practices for talking to their child or teen about a range of topics including alcohol, inhalants, drugs, bullying, cyber-bullying, and gang involvement. A five-day intervention seminar is provided for students suspected of coming to school under the influence or in possession of alcohol or other drugs.
The SSAW office also works to develop protective factors shown to reduce the risk of student involvement in negative behaviors. SSAW is committed to teaching students to manage and resolve conflicts by understanding other's points of view, making responsible choices, recognizing alternative responses to a problem and communicating effectively to manage and resolve conflict. Conflict resolution techniques are taught to students and teachers, so they can model an appropriate response when confronted with challenging behavior. In-school peer mediation programs teach students to help peers resolve conflicts in a peaceful way, giving them a sense of self-determination and efficacy. Each year the SSAW office sponsors two Peer Mediation Conferences, one for middle and high school students and their sponsors, and a second for elementary students and their sponsors. Approximately 1750 students and teachers attended one of these two conferences in 2011-2012, and participated in activities where they learned and practiced basic mediation techniques. The SSAW continues to provide training in Restorative Justice Practice for school administrators. This will support administrators in giving them options instead of suspensions,
The SSAW office also works with the Fairfax County Juvenile Courts to provide the supervision and probationary counseling for students who are under court supervision or who are deemed to be at high risk for court involvement, and helps monitor the behavior of these students. The School Court probation Counselor (SCPC), are FCPS employees, and their daily presence in the schools allows them to develop close mentoring with the students under their supervision. Students in the program report on a weekly basis to their SCPC to discuss their attendance and behavior. Student participation is closely monitored, with weekly documentation of response to interventions, input from the Courts's probation officer, and the student's teacher. SCPC meet with their students before or after school in order to provide the required contacts and intervention.
Lastly, the SSAW Mentor Works program matches mentors with students, building relationships with caring adults. A majority of schools in FCPS have implemented a mentor works program and provide one to one or group mentoring during the school day at the school site. Mentors are all volunteers and maybe FCPS staff, community or business members or even peers. For more information on the mentoring works program, follow the following link: http://www.fcps.edu/dss/ips/ssaw/mentorworks/
SSAW also provides the logistics for the yearly Fairfax County Youth Survey by assuring that all aspects of the survey process are maintained and followed in order for every 6, 8, 10, and 12 graders to take the survey unless OPTED out by parents or guardians.
In order to accomplish the above responsibilities, the approved budget for the SSAW office is $300,000. For additional information regarding the Student Safety and Wellness office budget, please follow this link to page 188 http://www.fcps.edu/fs/budget/docs/FY2011ProgramBudget.pdf