What is Student Assistance Program (SAP)?

In Pennsylvania, every school district is required to have a plan for identifying and assisting students who experience "barriers to learning.” The Secretary of Education established the Student Assistance Program as a Pre-K through 12th Grade system for assisting parents and school personnel in removing these barriers. A SAP team made up of school and agency staff is available to help you access school and community services for your child.

Your school's SAP team will help you find school based services as well as community resources if needed. It is important to know we do not diagnose, treat, or refer your child for treatment. Rather, we will provide you with useful and relevant resources so that you make the choices.

Remember, you are part of our team. We strongly encourage parental involvement in the SAP process. Our goal is to provide students appropriate support and resources to be successful in school.

Are you concerned about your child?

Sometimes events or situations your child is experiencing can disrupt their emotions and academics. This can include: your child’s reaction to the death of a loved one, divorce, family relocation, relationship concerns, or other traumatic event. If your child is struggling and you do not know how to help them, let us help you.

How do I get my child involved in SAP?

Students can be referred to SAP using several methods. Teachers, other school staff, family members, friends, or students themselves can refer because they are worried. However, the SAP team cannot become involved until they receive parent/guardian permission.

What if my child has already been referred to the SAP team?

First of all, it is imperative to know that you child was referred to us because someone is concerned about observable changes in your child’s habits. Perhaps a teacher or friend has noticed changes in behavior that you may or may not have noticed at home.

The SAP team will request that you sign a permission form for your child to become involved in the program. Once you sign, the SAP team will begin to work with you and your child. If you feel you need more information before making a decision, please let your SAP team know. If you do not sign the permission form, the SAP team will not become involved. Participation is voluntary.

What happens after I give permission?

There are several steps the team will take after you sign the permission form:

  • Together, you and the SAP team will develop a plan of action to help your child achieve success in school. This plan could include school-based services and activities or even community resources. The SAP team will talk with you about services in the community and provide additional contact information if needed.
  • The SAP team will continue to support your child. They will have continued contact with you and provide feedback about your child's progress and success in school. Your continued involvement is encouraged and very important to your child's growth.

How do I contact a SAP Team Member?

If you feel that your child may need help, call your child's school and ask to speak with a member of the SAP team. Someone will be there to help.

I'm concerned about my privacy. Will my privacy be protected?

YES! The SAP team and the school will respect you and your child's privacy at ALL times.

If you have any further questions about the services our SAP team members can provide, please call our office at (724) 869-2222 or email:

Suzanne Goulder, SAP Coordinator (s.goulder@thepreventionnetwork.org)
Katie Parks, SAP & Crisis Liason (k.parks@thepreventionnetwork.org)
Mandi Rea, SAP & Crisis Liason (m.rea@thepreventionnetwork.org)

For more information, please visit the Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program at sap.state.pa.us