By Desiree Williams
The Zionsville Community Schools board of trustees approved the implementation of Preventure, a substance abuse prevention program for high school students. Preventure’s content targets personality types that are more likely to seek and misuse substances.
“When we went through the (random drug testing approval) process, we recognized as a board that the testing in and of itself was not the answer and that we needed programs like this to come alongside in order to achieve the results we were looking for,” said Joe Stein, board vice president.
ZCS Chief Academic Officer Kris Devereaux led a task force in the spring that included community members, counselors and administrators who reviewed a variety of programs before selecting Preventure.
At the Nov. 13 school board meeting, Dr. Nicole Fowler, assistant professor of medicine at Indiana University and member of the task force, said Preventure rose to the top because of the strong evidence base from testing in different settings and age groups to the results of implementing the program, as well as how it weaves into the district’s Strong in Every Way initiative.
“I think the Preventure program (has) a nice way of differentiating the strengths that kids need to be able to build,” Fowler said.
Preventure offers two program models. The district can start with a personality survey for all freshmen that will become a baseline measurement, and then students participate in optional workshops to understand what leads to substance abuse. The second model starts with students who are referred who will meet with a counselor and then participate in those workshops.
Devereaux said they will decide which model works best for the community after four or five district professionals go through the training process.
The program’s costs, including training and implementation during the next three years, will be covered by a Lilly Endowment grant. Devereaux said administrators will evaluate the program after the allotted time to see if it is producing the desired results.