News from the SAS Team

Monthly updates on current events, education and resources

Who are Student Assistance Specialists?

Student Assistance Specialists have master’s degrees in social work or counseling and are frequently licensed by the Virginia Board of Social Work or Counseling. They have expertise in the fields of substance use and mental health. As members of the Unified Mental Health Team, Student Assistance Specialists advance LCPS initiatives of Substance Use Prevention, Social Emotional Learning and Suicide Prevention through K-12 education, support, prevention, intervention, referral services, staff development and consultation.


Student Assistance Specialists provide services and interventions designed to enhance the social, emotional and academic success of students by helping to address the needs of the whole child. The foundation of these interventions is a strength-based service delivery model focusing on developmental assets, risk/protective factors, prevention education and resiliency skill building.


To find your school's SAS assignment, visit our website listed below.

Current Events

Preparing for 4-day Instruction

April 20th marks the start of 4-day in-person instruction for those who selected the Hybrid Learning model this semester. This is an exciting step for students and staff alike and will be a significant change in routine for our students. Even the most positive transitions can carry with them stress and challenge. Students entering the 4-day learning schedule may be anxiously anticipating social situations, routine changes, mask discomfort or health concerns. We have seen our students make incredible changes in the past year and although this change is welcome, it is important to support our students in feeling prepared. Here are some tips for supporting your student as they navigate the upcoming transition:

Ask how they are feeling about the change and what they imagine it might be like.

Normalize the anxiety or stress that comes along with even happy transitions. Transitions are part of life and feeling discomfort in them is normal.

Encourage your student that you believe in their ability to be successful in this transition. Highlight or ask them to highlight past successes with transition. Transitions may look different but the skills used to manage them are consistent.

Plan a daily routine to allow for a sense of predictability. Identify coping strategies to respond to uncomfortable feelings and who to ask for help when needed. Make sure your student knows how to reach out to the School Psychologist, School Social Worker, School Counselor or Student Assistance Specialist. These names and their contact information can be found on each school's website.

Flexibility allows us to review the effectiveness of our plan and make adjustments accordingly. Check in with your student about how they're navigating the change and anything they might need to continue moving forward.

By walking your student through these steps, you will not only help them prepare today, you will prepare them for a way of responding to future life transitions. Reach out to your school's Unified Mental Health Team members if you or your student would like additional support.

Preventing Substance Use Upon Return to School

In the past year, national rates indicated an increase in subtance use for those who were already using, but a reduction in substance use onset - likely due to lack of access during quarantine. With students returning in larger numbers to in-person instruction, we must consider the potential for exposure to glorification, use or even sale of substances before, during or after school hours. Talk with your student about situations they may face where others are promoting/encouraging substance use or even offering it. Equip your students with accurate information using educational tools found at www.drugabuse.gov or from the Student Assistance Services website https://www.lcps.org/Page/1398. Remind them of the policies pertaining to tobacco, alcohol and other drug use (policy 8240), which can be found https://www.lcps.org/page/76. As always, your school's SAS is available to support you and your students and answer any questions you have.

UPCOMING EVENTS

What Parents Need to Know: Legalization of Marijuana & Potential Impact on Teens

Thursday, April 29th, 12pm

This is an online event.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/98532583605?pwd=Z1psaXdnTVVIMXF6SlVPU2ExeVZOZz09

Meeting ID: 985 3258 3605

Passcode: 3FL2bn

One tap mobile

+13017158592,,98532583605#,,,,*764614# US (Washington DC)

Dial by your location

+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

Meeting ID: 985 3258 3605

Passcode: 764614

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/atUSFkD7h

What Parents Need to Know: Legalization of Marijuana in Virginia and Potential Impact on Teens

Thursday, April 29th, 6pm

This is an online event.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/93143283442?pwd=WWlyN0huNkprYjlHeGdZajQ1Q0ovQT09

Meeting ID: 931 4328 3442

Passcode: Ujz29N

One tap mobile

+19292056099,,93143283442#,,,,*468260# US (New York)

+13017158592,,93143283442#,,,,*468260# US (Washington DC)

Dial by your location

+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)


Meeting ID: 931 4328 3442

Passcode: 468260

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/acahWBwR0z

What's New in Teen Substance Use?

Thursday, May 13th, 6:30-7:30pm

This is an online event.

In this presentation, Student Assistance Team members will provide information about current trends in teen substance use and the impact of COVID-19. Strategies for educating and supporting students at home will be discussed.


Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/96295177137?pwd=V2lwYlJKZUd2T01aQVBUOTNqTUFlQT09

Meeting ID: 962 9517 7137
Passcode: A8EhE6

Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
Meeting ID: 962 9517 7137
Passcode: 558252
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/adGLHruOBW

Education and Support Resources

Increase Your Knowledge

https://www.lcps.org/Page/223622 - Parent/Student SUD information

https://www.lcps.org/Page/201540 - Alcohol Information

https://www.lcps.org/Page/184676 - Drug Information

https://www.lcps.org/Page/201538 - Tobacco and E-Cig Information

https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/ - Easy-to-read drug facts

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/comorbidity/covid-19-resources - COVID-19 & Substance Use

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1054139X20303992—Stanford study on vaping increasing COVID-19 risk

https://www.dea.gov/factsheets - DEA website - drug-specific information, pill identifiers, social media trends

https://www.addictionpolicy.org/addiction-a-z— Addiction Policy Forum website—provides educational videos and articles

Support for you as a Loved One

https://www.familiesagainstnarcotics.org/ - Resource for families

https://drugfree.org/article/online-support-community-for-parents-caregivers/ - Online Support Community for parents/caregivers

https://www.alanondistrict10.org/ - Support for family members of someone struggling with addiction—Zoom meetings

https://www.alanondistrict10.org/zoom-meetings—Support for children of parents struggling with addiction—Zoom meetings

https://al-anon.org/for-members/members-resources/mobile-app/ - Find online Alateen meetings

https://www.addictionpolicy.org/find-help—Addiction Policy Forum website for finding and navigating the treatment experience

Find a Treatment Provider

https://findtreatment.gov/ - SAMHSA treatment locator

1-800-662-HELP (4357) TTY: 1-800-487-4889
www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline - SAMSHA National Helpline

https://www.smartrecovery.org/smart-recovery-toolbox/smart-recovery-online/ - Online Recovery Community: Self-Management and Recovery Training

https://recoverydharma.org/- Recovery community based on Buddhist Principles, virtual meetings available

https://na.org/?ID=virtual_meetings—Virtual Narcotics Anonymous meetings

https://nvintergroup.org/ - Virtual Alcoholics Anonymous meetings

https://www.lcps.org/Page/228303 - LCPS listing of community treatment providers