Three Steps to "PREPaREdness:" One District's Response to Crisis Intervention

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Three Steps to "PREPaREdness:" One District's Response to Crisis Intervention Powered By Docstoc
					CRISIS MANAGEMENT                                                                                             Contributing Editor’s Note: In this column, members of the PREPaRE workgroup and workshop trainers
                                                                                                              from across the country bring to you descriptions of how various elements of the PREPaRE curriculum are
                                                                                                              currently being implemented in local schools and agencies. In this first column, we offer an illustration of

Three Steps to “PREPaREdness:”                                                                                how the first element of the curriculum (“P” or Prevent and Prepare) is currently being addressed within
                                                                                                              the Palm Springs Unified School District (Palm Springs, CA). If any Communiqué reader has an interest in

One District’s Response to                                                                                    writing a similar article on how they are currently using the PREPaRE curriculum within their local school
                                                                                                              district(s), please contact me at brock@csus.edu. —Stephen E. Brock, PhD, NCSP

Crisis Intervention
B Y T I F FA N Y M I N G O & S H E RY L D E E D S

          istorically, the Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) has made it a                             Becoming PREPaRE trainers. After being educated in the PREPaRE model, we

H         priority to provide preventive services to students and their families. It was
          this priority that motivated the district’s administration to pursue additional
training in crisis prevention and response. It was, and is, our belief that the preventive
                                                                                                             realized the need to become trainers ourselves in order to sustain the integrity and
                                                                                                             implementation of the response model. In becoming trainers we became able to train
                                                                                                             our own staff in the PREPaRE model, thereby keeping our procedures fresh from year
model offered by the PREPaRE curriculum not only supports this priority, but also fur-                        to year and addressing the reality of staff turnover. To accomplish this goal, the district
thers our understanding of what we can do to prepare for school crisis situations. The                       worked in concert with the NASP PREPaRE trainers to cosponsor a Workshop 1 and 2
“P” (Prevent and Prepare) element of the PREPaRE acronym substantiates our efforts,                           Training of Trainers program. This proved to be cost-effective (especially important
and has guided and directed our goals to train all PSUSD schools in this model.                              in these difficult financial times) as PSUSD offered the training facility in exchange
    Schools prevent, prepare for, and respond to crisis situations every day. For ex-                        for five PSUSD scholarships. In other words, by offering NASP workshop facilities at
ample, we believe that we do so by offering after-school programs, after-school and                           no cost to the association, we were able to obtain training from NASP for free. This
weekend tutoring, and intervention classes to support student learning. Consistent                           training was well-attended and brought in school professionals from all over the world,
with the guidance offered by PREPaRE, we offer social skills training and have on-                             including Canada and India.
site counseling services available to our students and their families. The district                              Our use of the PREPaRE curriculum. We incorporated what we learned from the
also contracts with outside agencies to provide additional counseling and family                             PREPaRE model into an updated district-wide and school-specific crisis response and
services. We have made a concerted effort to ensure that our students and their                               recovery manual. This was easily accomplished with the generous assistance of PREPaRE
families receive the support needed to                                                                       Workgroup member Melinda Susan, from the Sonoma County Office of Education. With
promote their emotional and physical                                                                         their permission, we were able to adapt their manual (Moore & Susan, 2007) to fit the
health, making them more resilient and                                                                       needs of PSUSD. Our manual adopts the principles of PREPaRE, including the recom-
less vulnerable to crisis events. However,                                                                   mendations for preparing and responding to a crisis, developing an ICS flowchart, incor-
we recognize that even given our best ef-                       In the 2007–2008                             porating psychoeducational lesson plans, and providing psychological first aid.
forts at prevention, crises are inevitable.                school year, our three                                Organization of district-wide training of our ICS- and PREPaRE-informed crisis
It was in the midst of responding to mul-                high schools responded                              procedures was broken into three phases. Phase one included presenting the PREPaRE
tiple crises that we recognized our con-                 to three suicide comple-                            Crisis Intervention and Recovery Workshop, given by PSUSD’s own newly trained train-
tinued need to prevent and prepare for                                                                       ers, to school principals, site coordinators, counselors, nurses, and lead teachers. This
future crisis events. The first step in this
                                                          tions, as well as at least                         took place over a 2-day period in October 2008 and provided PSUSD site-based person-
regard was to update our district’s crisis              10 additional psychiatric                            nel with an in-depth understanding of the PREPaRE model. It also provided PSUSD
response procedures and the roles of our                      hospitalizations as                            PREPaRE trainers with an opportunity to give a PREPaRE training, further developing
crisis response and recovery team.                               a result of suicide                         our knowledge and understanding of the curriculum and its principles.
    The origins of our efforts to PREPaRE.                attempts. This dramati-                                 Phase 2 consisted of training a crisis team from each school site
				
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Description: [...] we judged it imperative that our district develop and train a school district crisis response and recovery team that made use of the National Incident Management System's Incident Command Structure (ICS; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2004). In our opinion, this makes PREPaRE relevant not only to school district crisis responders but to all professionals assisting in the aftermath of a crisis event. Because crisis response and recovery was PSUSD's top priority for the 2008-2009 school year, the district sponsored a PREPaRE Crisis Intervention and Recovery Workshop (Workshop 2) upon the Superintendent's directive to update our crisis procedures.
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