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SD Department of Education
June 2019  
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  DSS to support school-based substance use and violence prevention program

The Department of Social Services, Division of Behavioral Health is pleased to offer an opportunity to middle schools in South Dakota to implement an evidence-based substance use prevention program. During the 2019 Legislative Session, Governor Noem requested, and the legislature approved, funding to support school-based meth prevention.

To gauge the level of interest from middle schools in the implementation of the LifeSkills program, a brief survey is available for schools: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6X6DYXP.

This funding is intended to support the implementation of the Botvin LifeSkills Training program in middle schools.

For those unfamiliar with LifeSkills, it is an evidence-based substance use and violence prevention program designed to promote positive youth development. The program learning objectives include personal self-management skills, general social skills, and drug resistance skills to promote healthy behavior and positive education outcomes. The middle school program is designed to be taught in sequence over three years and build on skills learned in previous levels.

The LifeSkills middle school program structure is as follows:

  • Foundation Level 1, 15 sessions
  • Booster Level 2, 10 sessions
  • Booster Level 3, 5 sessions
Each session is designed to be taught in 30-45 minutes, and sessions are taught as your schedule allows. This may include a more intensive schedule, such as sessions occurring two to three times per week, or it can be taught on a more extended schedule, such as once per week. Supplemental sessions can be included in Level 2 and Level 3 on topics such as meth, marijuana, vaping/e-cigarettes, health, nutrition, and bullying. Please see the LifeSkills Middle School Scope and Sequence for more information on the structure and topics covered in the program.

DSS-DBH’s next step is to issue a Request for Proposals to solicit accredited substance use prevention providers to employ the LifeSkills facilitators. The expectation of the LifeSkills facilitators is that they are trained in the LifeSkills program and possess either a Certified Prevention Specialist or Certified Prevention Specialist Trainee certification.

If you have questions about the program, you may contact Jana Sprenger with the Division of Behavioral Health at 605-367-5236.


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