Informing Everyone About Your School’s SAP Team
“Mar-ket-ing noun \ˈmär-kə-tiŋ\: the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc...the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service” (Webster, n.d.).
Marketing is an essential element to an effective Student Assistance Program (SAP) team’s functioning as they work to promote the positive results that can stem from the SAP process. Why is it an essential component? A well-functioning team needs to share information and understanding about the purpose of the SAP process with stakeholders, including parents, students, educators, staff, and the community.
From the parent aspect, parents need to be partners in the SAP process working with the school’s SAP team to support the student once an issue has been identified. Parents also need to know that the SAP team is a viable option for support and assistance at the school and be familiar and comfortable with team members in order to establish a level of trust and comfort to work effectively with the team. Marketing the SAP team to parents can include creating an inviting, easy to access web page connected to the school website, possibly containing a team member’s email address to easily communicate concerns to the team member; a mini presentation by team members at a school’s open house night with an informational brochure for parents to keep on the refrigerator should need arise throughout the year; and team members attending school functions to become easily recognized and reachable by parents.
Students on the other hand need to know they are not alone and when they need assistance or know of a friend or classmate that may need assistance; they know who they can reach out to in the school. Marketing the SAP process to students may take the form of having an original SAP logo created and displayed outside each team member’s door to alert students to those educators who are trained to provide support through the SAP process; including a SAP presentation at the beginning of the year to inform students of who and what the SAP team is; and utilizing and advertising the ways that student SAP referral can be made in the school, through a frequently visited mailbox located in the school or easy access email monitored by a SAP team member.
While marketing the SAP process to parents and students is important, educating all school educators and staff is also essential. Marketing the process includes in-servicing teachers and staff on the SAP process, the SAP team members, and how to make referrals; defining the process and access to forms for ease in referring students in need; and providing opportunities for all staff members to be trained in the SAP process, as funding allows, to demonstrate the importance and overall process of the program.
Finally, marketing the SAP process to the community through presentation, brochures, and websites can help to build community support for the overall health and well-being of all stakeholders in creating environments and situations that are beneficial to the safety, health, welfare, and education of all children. What ideas do you have for marketing your SAP team? What’s been most successful? Contact your SAP Regional Coordinator if you have SAP marketing success stories to share. Maybe your SAP team can host the refreshment stand at the next parent/teacher night or home football game!
Retrieved August 22, 2014, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marketing
This article is taken from September 2014 SAP County Coordination Update - Prepared by PA Network for Student Assistance Services (PNSAS)
Download the entire September 2014 SAP County Coordination Update