Goals and Objectives:
The School and Non-Academic Program (SNAP) has been developed jointly with the Safe Schools partners committee, which includes representatives from police, education and child welfare. This program provides an alternative to home suspension for those students who are suspended under Board Policy and/or the Safe Schools Protocol, and where the school principal has recommended a student after gaining parent/guardian consent.
The objective of the program is to provide students under suspension with an opportunity to continue their education and develop appropriate social skills. The program is supervised by a program coordinator and trained community volunteers. While participating in the program the student will remain in a positive environment avoiding negative influences which may affect his/her behaviour.
A typical day for a student begins with an assessment, followed by the development of an intervention plan. Work alternates throughout the day between academic work and cognitive skill development.
SNAP volunteers perform a number of functions with the students attending the program. Under the supervision of the Program Coordinator, volunteers:
- Provide a supervised alternative program to suspension at home.
- Provide suitable assessment and skill training activities.
- Ensure suitable academic support to the student is provided during the program.
- Attend the readmission meeting upon request from the school or when the program supervisor or staff feel their presence is required.
As well, there is the potential to continue working with specific individuals once they have left the program. Often, schools are interested in follow-up support to assist the youth in the reintegration back to the regular school setting. Volunteers can provide this support within the school setting.
Training and Orientation:
All volunteers must apply to the program and be screened according to the program procedures which will include reference checks and a criminal record check.
Volunteers are encouraged to spend some time observing and assisting on an informal basis prior to beginning their volunteer work. Upon commencement of their shift, volunteers are given an opportunity to be introduced to the students. Volunteers are always under the direct supervision of the coordinator during their volunteer experience. After the orientation, volunteers are trained in the use of several anger management, temper control, and conduct management modules. These cognitive and social skills modules are relatively straightforward and can be delivered under supervision with only a brief orientation.
Some volunteers may also be trained in administering the assessment questionnaires and scoring the results to establish the client profile. This training would be over and above the normal training.
Duties/Responsibilities of the School Principal:
- To discuss the referral with the parents/guardians prior to referral.
- To ensure participation in the program is stipulated as a condition of readmission to school after the suspension is completed.
- Provide sufficient academic material in order that the student can maintain progress at a comparable rate to those in a regular class.
- Ensure that program staff are aware of any academic issues, social behaviours or attendance problems which may accompany the student. The consent form must be forwarded with the accompanying information.
- Plan for readmission to the school upon completion of the suspension.
- Take all materials necessary for the completion of academic work assigned by the school to the program each day.
- Attend the program and participate as required.
- Participate in any activity or skills training as recommended by program staff.
- Act in an appropriate manner towards staff and others.
Once a student is suspended from school, it is the responsibility of the School Principal to make the referral to the program and obtain parental/guardian consent where the Principal believes such a referral is appropriate. The school is then responsible for providing the student with the necessary academic work to complete while under suspension, and ensuring that the Program coordinator receives the necessary documents. Upon arrival at the program, the parent and student are oriented to the expectations, and an assessment is completed with the youth. Where possible the teacher of the student under suspension will also be asked to complete a questionnaire.
The assessment will then be used to develop an appropriate intervention plan for the duration of the suspension. The program will then deliver some cognitive support that is tailored to the individual needs of the youth, and tutoring as required. Upon exit of the program a report will be issued on the youth's progress and the recommended follow-up to his/her involvement in the Program.
Location and Transportation:
The program is located at the Youth Diversion Office, 559 Bagot Street. Transportation to the program is the responsibility of the parent/guardian. Every effort will be made to ensure that all students have access to the program.
The Youth Diversion Program has a policy of not using physical restraint when dealing with a client who is out of control. Staff of SNAP have been trained in crisis intervention and prevention. Volunteers are advised not to intervene in behavioural outbursts, as staff are on site at all times to deal with these situations. In the event of a physical assault, volunteers are permitted to use the least force necessary to protect themselves from further assault.