Prevention Curriculum

"Now is the time to put our pledge to 'leave no child behind' into its full context. We must prepare our children for the tests of life, not a life of tests."

- Dr. Maurice Elias

Co-Founders of SDM/PS Model and Curriculum Guide

Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program



  • SDM/PS
  • ATOD
  • Suicide Prevention


Social Decision-Making & Problem Solving K-12
The curriculum is organized into three phases:

PHASE I: Readiness for Decision Making (Elementary Grades)

Self-Control Skills: Keep Calm; Self-Verbalization; Best Behavior;

  • Listening & Remembering
  • Following directions
  • Resisting provocation
  • Avoiding provoking others
  • Self-monitoring stress & emotions through self-calming techniques

Group & Social Awareness Skills:

  • How to select friends
  • Show care and concern for self and others

PHASE II: Instruction in a Social Decision-Making Process (Elementary Grades)

Teaches an eight-step "clear thinking" Social Decision Making and Problem Solving strategy that emphasizes affect, problem analysis and goal setting, means-ends thinking and anticipation of obstacles. While there are many skills necessary for social decision making, the SDM/PS Model has synthesized what tradition in education, psychology and philosophy agree can be identified as eight primary skills areas Elias and Clabby call steps.

When children and adults are using their social problem-solving skills, they are doing the following:

  1. Noticing signs and feelings.
  2. Identifying issues or problems.
  3. Determining and selecting goals.
  4. Generating alternative solutions.
  5. Envisioning possible consequences.
  6. Selecting their best solution.
  7. Planning and making a final check for obstacles.
  8. Noticing what happened and using the information for future decision making and problem solving.

The instructional version of this model uses the "FIG TESPN" acronym and is translated as follows:

  1. Feelings cue me to problem solve.
  2. I have a problem.
  3. Goals give me a guide.
  4. Think of many possible things to do.
  5. Envision end results (outcomes) for each option.
  6. Selecting my best solution.
  7. Plan the procedure, anticipate the pitfalls (roadblocks), practice, and pursue it.
  8. Notice what happened and now what? (Elias & Tobias, 1996,

"FIG TESPN" is an acronym for a set of social problem solving and everyday decision-making stepsthat are essential for success in school, with family, with friends, in the world of work, and inthe privileges and obligations of citizenship in a democracy (Elias & Tobias, 1996, p. ix). It is the core concept behind the Elias & Clabby Model. Elias and others have claimed these "eight steps are no harder to learn than any other complex sets of skills" such as learning to ride a bicycle or drive a car. They believe that through a series of structured and guided practice, reinforced over time, students can begin to realize the power and usefulness of thinking. They learn to become empowered decision-makers and problem-solvers tackling problem from an "I can" do this perspective even while they continue to hone their decision-making skills. The eight-step strategy "provides continuity over time and across experiences". It further "provides clarity amidst the many competing influences on a student's mind" (Elias & Tobias, 1996, p.13).Lessons in phase I & II consist of scripted sequential curriculum with group sharing,skill presentation, stories or video vignettes that serve as catalysts for discussion, dialoguing,and role-plays.

Phase III. Application of SDM/PS Model (Grades 7-12)

Teaches students how to apply those skills to real life interpersonal and academic situations. During this phase, Teachers have been trained to design activities to help students practice transferring those skills learned to real life situations.The SDM/PS Program's Curriculum Content Structure takes the form of learning activities.


  1. Teachers as facilitators
  2. Prompting & Cueing of previously learned skills; Modeling;
  3. Open-Ended Questioning;
  4. The two-question rule (piggy-back questioning);
  5. The Columbo technique (non-confrontational, gentle questioning);
  6. Paraphrasing;
  7. Patience & Persistence and,
  8. Flexibility.

Social Decision-Making and Problem-Solving

"Building meaningful human relations requires time, interaction, and people. Taking the time to be human connotes a decision or choice. It means sharing and receiving, helping and being helped. It also means responsibility, it means making a decision and accepting the consequences of that personal decision. Taking time to be human connotes personal involvement; it means reaching out to others and building bridges of understanding. It also means giving; in a busy world, time carries a high value for most of us. Giving and involvement are personal commitments, with immediate satisfaction often delayed in favor of more lasting, long-range goals.

Taking time to be human involves the feeling and caring side of life; it means concern for others as well as self. Humanness also involves risk; daring to take a chance on human relationships; trusting in self and others; probing for unknown answers; and realizing that humans can be the most destructive as well as most constructive of all creatures."

Ann Ellenson, author Human Relations

Social Decision-Making and Problem Solving is a course for students who are questioning, searching, and reaching out for meaningful human relationships. It is for those who are willing to help themselves and others through a process, which emphasizes establishing the helping relationship within and outside the classroom.


  1. To become a group and establish an identity.
  2. To develop trust in one another.
  3. To become more aware of yourself and your values.
  4. To increase your awareness of group process and communication dynamics.
  5. To develop more responsible leadership and self-direction.
  6. To gain more knowledge of the important issues in our lives.
  7. To reach out to others so they are able to live healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.


STANDARD 2.3 Drugs and Medicines: Grades 9-12

Objective: All students will learn and apply information about alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and medicines to make decisions that support a healthy, active lifestyle.

Descriptive Statement: This standard aims to provide students with information on the responsible use of medicines as well as the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The appropriate use of medicines can prevent serious health problems, reduce absenteeism from work and school, and enhance the quality of life. Conversely, the misuse or abuse of substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can impair judgment and lead to illness and injury. Helping students to acknowledge the internal and external pressures that influence them to use substances enables and empowers them to make choices that support a healthy, active lifestyle.

Cumulative Progress Indicators: Building upon knowledge and skills gained in preceding grades, by the end of GRADE 12, all students will:

1. Medicines

  •  Investigate the use of new or experimental medicines and discuss the potential risks and benefits.
  •  Evaluate the effectiveness of a medicine, considering the dosage, side effects, and route of administration, cost and benefits vs. risks.
  •  Debate the benefits and dangers of naturally occurring substances such as herbal supplements.

2. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

  •  Investigate tobacco use as a contributing or causative factor in the incidence of cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other lung diseases, and stroke.
  •  Assess the impact of passive smoke on the health of children, individuals with allergies and asthma, and nonsmokers and describe initiatives created to lessen the impact.
  •  Summarize the impact of alcohol use and abuse on body systems and organs including the cardiovascular system, the liver, the reproductive system, and the immune system.
  •  Describe the impact of alcohol and other drugs on those areas of the brain that control vision, sleep, coordination, and reaction time and assess how the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs impairs behavior, judgment, and memory.
  •  Investigate the relationship between alcohol and other drug use and the incidence of motor vehicle crashes.
  •  Predict the physical, behavioral, and legal impacts of commonly abused substances, such as marijuana, inhalants, anabolic steroids, and party drugs.
  •  Investigate the relationship between injected drug use and the incidence of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
  •  Investigate the relationship between the use of alcohol, GHB, Ecstasy, and other drugs and the incidence of date rape, sexual assault, STDs, and unintended pregnancy.

3. Dependency/Addiction and Treatment

  •  Compare and contrast the physical, social, and emotional indicators of possible substance abuse.
  •  Compare and contrast the physical and psychological stages of dependency.
  •  Assess and evaluate factors that influence the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
  •  Evaluate factors that support an individual to quit using substances.
  •  Predict the short and long term impacts of substance abuse on the individual, the family, the community, and society.


Objective: All students will use Health-Enhancing Personal, Interpersonal, and Life Skills to support a healthy, active lifestyle.

Descriptive Statement: This standard seeks to foster responsible health behaviors through the enhancement of critical thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, and communication skills used in situations impacting personal, family and community health. It enables students to locate and evaluate health information and resources and to develop character, leadership, and advocacy skills so they can become more active participants in the promotion of wellness. Competency in these skills enables and empowers students to resist destructive behaviors and seek out positive opportunities for growth and learning. These skills are cross disciplinary and are integrated into each Comprehensive Health and Physical Education Standard.

Cumulative Progress Indicators: Building upon knowledge and skills gained in preceding grades, by the end of GRADE 12, all students will:

1. Communication

  •  Use appropriate research methodology to investigate a health problem or issue.
  •  Develop, present, and evaluate a multimedia health presentation and adapt it to address the needs and interest of varying audiences.
  •  Teach others how to use communication skills, including refusal, negotiation and assertiveness.
  •  Employ strategies to improve communication and listening skills and assess their effectiveness.
  •  Evaluate economic, political, social, and aesthetic impacts of health messages found in literature, art, music, theater, and television.

2. Decision-Making

  •  Demonstrate and evaluate the use of decision-making skills.
  •  Evaluate factors that influence major health decisions and predict how those factors will change or conflict at various life stages.
  •  Use reliable and valid health information to assess social situations and conditions that impact health and safety.
  •  Analyze the use of ethics and personal values when making decisions.
  •  Critique significant health decisions and debate the choices made.

3. Planning and Goal Setting

  •  Appraise individual and family needs in order to achieve and maintain wellness and design a plan for lifelong wellness.
  •  Evaluate how family, peers, healthcare providers and the community support or hinder the achievement of a wellness plan.

4. Character Development

  •  Demonstrate character based on core ethical values.
  •  Analyze how role models, and the core ethical values they represent, influence society.
  •  Analyze the impact of community or public service on individual and community core ethical values.

5. Leadership, Advocacy, and Service

  •  Assess personal and group contributions and strengths that lead to the achievement of goals and tasks.
  •  Evaluate personal participations as both a leader and follower.
  •  Discuss factors that influence intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and employ motivational techniques to enhance group productivity.
  •  Evaluate a group's ability to be respectful, supportive, and adherent to codes of conduct.
  •  Develop and articulate the group's goals, shared values, vision, and work plan.
  •  Plan, implement, and evaluate activities to benefit a health organization, cause, or issue.
  •  Assess community awareness and understanding about a local, state, national, or international health issue.

6. Health Services and Careers

  •  Assess health and fitness services, programs, and resources and evaluate them for cost, availability, accessibility, benefits, and accreditation.
  •  Analyze the preparation, licensing, and responsibilities of wellness and fitness professionals.
  •  Compare and Contrast health insurance and reimbursement plans.

Suicide Prevention

---- Currently in the Assessment and Development process ----

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