on the Putnam Valley Schools
November 21, 1997
a periodic newsletter of the Putnam Valley Central School District
Phone: 914-528-8143 Fax: 914-528-0274

Index

Superintendent's Corner

Parents Brainstorm Strategies

We Are Not Alone

What Can We Do?

PVTV

PVTV Drug Abuse Task Force


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Superintendent's Corner

Last year the students in grades 6, 7, and 8 took a Pride Survey which screened their involvement with drugs and alcohol. The results indicated the presence of a small but significant number of students in those grades who were involved with drugs and alcohol.

The results indicated to me that the children understood that the use of drugs and alcohol is very harmful ­ but that, surprisingly, some persist in that behavior anyway. The survey indicated that much of the use occurred away from the school, with friends and on weekends. I wish to state clearly that the vast majority of our students are making the correct choices when it comes to the use of drugs and alcohol. However, a small but significant percentage of students indicated that they are regularly experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

I do not wish to alarm anyone but I feel it is incumbent upon me to bring this information forward so the issue may be discussed and examined. The district

scheduled a parent informational meeting on November 6 at the Middle School. At that meeting, parents and staff brainstormed issues and solutions. The district will continue its commitment to educating our students on the consequences of their behavior when taking drugs and alcohol. It will continue its involvement with Peers Influence Peers. And, through our Health Advisory Committee, the district will continue to sponsor parent awareness sessions as well as interventions with our students. Straight Talk, scheduled for March 10, is one such important evening that parents should attend.

Our community has always demonstrated its commitment to our students in helping them make good choices. We hope you will continue to work with us to seek solutions to these problems. It is only through our combined efforts that we may accomplish this goal. Please take time from your busy schedule to attend our parent programs!

John Kleinegris, Superintendent of Schools



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Parents Brainstorm Strategies that Make a Difference

On Thursday, November 6th about fifty parents attended a meeting sponsored by the District's Health Advisory Committee to review the results of last year's Parent's Resource Institute for Drug Education survey. It was alarming to hear that Putnam Valley teenagers use alcohol and other drugs at a rate above the national average: 8.4% of the sixth graders, 21.9%

of the 7th graders, and 44.2% of the eighth graders said they used alcohol more that six times a year. These percentages more than double each year. While most of our children are making healthy decisions not to drink alcohol, it is unacceptable for any ten- through fourteen-year-old middle-schooler to drink alcohol. The survey also highlighted that teen drug use in our community occurs more often in the home and on weekends. These statistics sent us a powerful message that we cannot ignore.

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We Are Not Alone

One recent article about teen drug use said that awareness programs are important and parents can make a difference. Of particular interest to parents was the finding of another survey that teenagers who felt close to their parents and more connected to classmates and teachers at school were less likely to smoke, use drugs, drink alcohol, or engage in violence.

The greatest success in decreasing substance use is for parents, students, and faculty to work together. In that spirit at our parent meeting we broke into four

groups to brainstorm ways we could keep our children safe from substance abuse.

The following parents and teachers acted as facilitators, Pam Darreff, Pat Ill, Elise MacDonald, Marjorie Holderman, JoAnn Riley, Marie Gabari, Frank Reale, Kim Gembecki, and Nancy Witt. The small group setting created an environment where parents could talk honestly with one another. It was good to hear that other parents had similar experiences, shared similar values, and had similar ideas about how to deal with drug use problems. The experience was energizing! We discovered we are not alone!



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What Can We Do?

What can parents do to immunize their children against substance abuse?

  • Talk to kids:
    • Be open; encourage two way conversation.
    • Calmly discuss your values.
    • Let each other know where you are!
  • Show and tell them you care.
    • Reward healthy decisions!
    • Spend time with each other.
  • Network with other parents.
    • Get to know your child's friends and their parents.
    • Speak to another adult about parties; talk to host parent.
    • Ask host parent if alcohol will be served and if kids will be supervised.
  • Be a positive role model! Don't glamorize usage.
  • Be parents. Set limits.
    • Trust ... don't lose it.
    • Discuss consequences...Follow through with consequences.
    • Show vigilance.
    • ·Know where they are! Call, follow up on their stories.
    • Know who they are with.
    • Keep reinforcing message.
  • Find balance between being watchful and being intrusive.
  • Help is available!! Keep in touch with the school if you have concerns.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Pam Darreff at the Middle School (528-8143).

Pam Darreff, Health Teacher


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PVTV

PVTV Productions is in full swing! Students in the 5th and 6th grades are in training with Mrs. Ganeles, learning all about sound, lighting, and the use of a camcorder. In addition, Mrs. Ganeles is working with them on their interviewing techniques. In the 7th and 8th grades, students are busy producing the weekly cable television show, "The Tiger's Eye." This weekly program, on the air for seven years, features new stories every month

about Middle School events, projects, and activities. In addition, students will conduct interviews and report on things that are of interest to middle-schoolers. On November 22 they plan to interview Sheriff Bob Thoubboron and plan to travel to the studios of the NBC hit show "Inside Stuff." So watch PV's own TV show every Monday at 6:30 on your local access channel (not available in Roaring Brook.)

Frank Reale, PVTV Advisor

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PVTV Drug Abuse Task Force

The Putnam Valley School District has co- sponsored a very unique program these past five years called Peers Influence Peers [#PIP/PIP96.html]. This is a statewide broadcast carried by over 80 cable and PBS stations to 15 million homes that gives teens an opportunity to speak their minds about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Over 20 schools and 300 students statewide have participated in the program. In addition to the students, many guests have appeared on the show including Governor Pataki, General Barry McCaffrey, Floyd Patterson, Derek Jeter, LL Cool J and many others.

This year's two hour program, Peers Influence Peers IV, will air on April 25, 1998 at 7 PM. The students are in busy preparation for the show. On December 7 they will fly to Buffalo where they will meet with the players of the Buffalo Sabres and students from ten area high schools. Plans are being made to travel to all parts of New York to talk to high school students about drug and alcohol abuse and ways to avoid the inherent dangers of substance abuse.

Funding for this program is partially provided by the Christopher D. Smithers Foundation and donations from interested and concerned parents. If you would like to help or want more information contact Mr. Reale at the Middle School (528-8283).

Frank Reale, PVTV Advisor

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