“Solving the Unsolvable”
A Recently Awarded, Focused Outreach Grant Project, Funded by the New England Region
Imagine this scenario, you are a public, high school chemistry teacher in southeastern Massachusetts. Over the past few months you have noticed that the behavior of one of your students has slowly changed. Sam, is not the best student in the class, but he is one of your favorites he is a student who frequently engages in the class discussion and always tries hard. However, these days, he seems “off”, continually tired, and he is failing chemistry, and he has not shown up for the extra help sessions he said he would come to.
You suspect Sam may be using drugs. You know the opioid epidemic is at a crisis level in the community where you teach, but so far you haven’t run into a situation like this. Should you ask Sam what is going on? If he opens up and does need help, do you know what kind of help you can offer? Should you just let guidance handle this issue, even though you know they can’t keep up with the case-load of kids who need help?
This 6-week online course is being developed by The Learning Curve Consortium and funded by the New England Region of the National Network of the Libraries of Medicine. The course developer, Romeo Marquis (former principal and Dean of Online Education) uses a *Moodle format (see more info about Moodles below). Romeo is a proponent of online education as it allows participants in different locations the opportunity for discussion. In this course, teachers, guidance counselors, administrators, school nurses, librarians and community health providers will have an opportunity to discuss topics related to addiction and teaching in a public school setting. The discussion questions are based on research provided by author David Sheff who wrote the book Clean (a recent campus read for the University of Massachusetts Medical School). The author shares his personal experience from the perspective of a father living with an addicted son, as well as providing evidence-based research on addiction.
The goal of this project is to gather information and data from the feedback of those who have volunteered one hour a week, for 5 weeks to share what they see, through discussion and professional experience, as needed resources to prevent, recognize and treat the disease of addiction. It is the hope of The Learning Curve Consortium to turn the data collected into a second course that can be offered to school personnel as a professional development tool.
Currently, there are about 20 participants are registered to participate, mostly from the southeastern, Massachusetts area. The discussion portion of the course will begin on February 2nd and will run until March 27th with a break for the February vacation week.
* A Moodle is an online course that offers the opportunity for many people to discuss a topic, in a secure and moderated environment.