UpFront Confronts the Problems
Assessing the reality of the substance abuse situation is step 1.
Chief among the challenges adolescents face today are those related to alcohol and other drugs. Whether in a large urban high school or a rural elementary school, students' lives are touched by tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use. When considering the one issue which accounts for the largest number of student problems, what would it be?
The answer often comes back to alcohol and other drugs. Once you successfully target that issue, by association you get access to issues of school failure, pregnancy, violence, neglect, sexual abuse, school adjustment problems, depression, family and cultural issues, suicidality, etc.
As schools begin to acknowledge these realities and address this range of very real problems, students have a much better chance of successfully completing their high school careers and developing into independent, healthy adults. Often traditional programs are ineffective in addressing these issues, leading up to threats by the federal government to defund ALL school based prevention programs.
We see things in a different light.
In operation in the bay area for the last 7 years, the UpFront SAP model is dynamic, inclusive, flexible and population driven. This is in contrast to traditional student assistance/treatment services that focus on identifying and treating only those students deemed at risk, usually by implementing a predetermined strategy and curriculum.
The UpFront Technical Assistance and Training model is based on the concept that although adolescent drug use is pervasive, the drug related issues of each school and student body are unique and complex and deserve an effective program tailored to fit those needs, not a rigid one size fits all model and curriculum. We believe that the students are the most important part of any program, and including them in the process of development and implementation is essential.
The UpFront model as practiced at Oakland High School has been consistently evaluated as exemplary by the State of California and Oakland Unified School District and our trainings have received high ratings from all groups that received them.