Prevention Education and Student Well-being Supports

The Importance of Prevention Education for Students Today

Now more than ever, students and staff need to remain connected and develop the skills to build resiliency to face life stressors, particularly those created during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Prevention education can provide teachers with the knowledge and skills to develop and enhance students’ strengths and help them cope with loss, fear or sadness experienced as a result of the pandemic. Prevention education provides students connection with caring adults and social-emotional skills to help them manage emotions, solve problems, set and achieve positive goals and deal effectively with daily tasks and challenges. Through prevention education, schools support the development of the social-emotional learning domain, as well as the leadership and reasoning skills domain, two of four equal learning domains identified in Each Child, Our Future, Ohio’s strategic plan for education. The knowledge and skills acquired through prevention education provide the foundation for social and emotional learning, problem-solving, critical thinking, perseverance, effective communication and teamwork, all of which are necessary for individuals to be successful in the virtual and physical classrooms. Prevention education and social-emotional learning activities are Tier I Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) activities and provide a positive school climate for students to make responsible decisions and build positive relationships.

The governor and state legislature committed funding in the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 biennium budget to support prevention services and prevention education professional development for educators. The budget also included the Student Wellness and Success Fund to help districts provide student wellness and success initiatives. Through this investment, Ohio’s districts and schools can address the continuum of student needs from prevention, early intervention and intervention services. The funding and service options are outlined below:

  • K-12 Prevention Initiative – Districts and schools assess prevention needs and provide evidence-informed prevention education services for all students in all grades.
  • Prevention Education Professional Development – Funding is provided to build the capacity of educational service centers to train educators and related service personnel on the model and tenets of prevention education.
  • Student Wellness and Success Funds – This flexible funding for districts and schools can be used to plan and implement student wellness initiatives, including mental health services, wraparound services, mentoring and after-school programs to meet the needs of the whole child.

This page is intended to help districts and schools utilize and maximize all three initiatives and create comprehensive prevention and intervention systems to support students’ social-emotional and wellness needs.

Engaging in the Prevention Education Process

K-12 Prevention Education Initiative: As outlined in the webinar Prevention Education: Resources for Building Resiliency and Reducing Risky Behaviors in Ohio's Schools, Ohio has provided a pathway to create safe and supportive schools by providing effective prevention services for every child, in every grade, in every school.

A prevention self-assessment and planning process for schools is underway in every county. Districts and schools are urged to partner with the local Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) board to complete the self-assessment and create a plan to access prevention services. Note: Local ADAMH boards that do not hear from districts by May 22 will assume the districts are not interested in receiving these services. ADAMH boards and districts can work together to determine effective practices to deliver prevention education services virtually. The self-assessment helps guide a planning process with the local ADAMH board to identify needs and build upon strengths. Equipped with this information, districts or schools and their local ADAMH boards can create a comprehensive prevention and intervention system to support students’ social-emotional and wellness needs.

As of April 29, 2020, 65 percent of Ohio’s districts and community schools have completed their self-assessments, and 64 percent of Ohio’s districts submitted their plan proposals to their local ADAMH boards. The Ohio Department of Education Prevention Education webpage shares a step-by-step process for how districts can engage in this important work if they have not already done so. The deadline for districts to contact their local ADAMH boards and inform them of their intent to complete the self-assessment is May 22. The deadline to complete the self-assessment is June 30, 2020. The Ohio Department of Education strongly encourages each district to participate in this important effort by contacting or responding to their local ADAMH boards to complete the self-assessment and plan for prevention services. Email questions about the K-12 Prevention Education Initiative to

Prevention Education Professional Development: Funds were awarded to five educational service centers in five project regions. These lead educational service centers will build the capacity of educational service centers throughout the state to provide prevention education to districts and schools. Educators and related school personnel can receive professional development on the model and tenets of prevention of risky behaviors, including substance abuse, suicide, bullying and other harmful behaviors through their educational service centers, in partnership with their local ADAMH boards. This training will help educators identify and understand risky behaviors and increase their capacity and confidence to support their students. Prevention education professional development can increase teachers’ desires to implement prevention programs with fidelity, increase program effectiveness and improve student behavior and wellness outcomes. Through this initiative, districts and schools can participate in a regional Committee of Practitioners to share best practices and learn from others implementing prevention education in Ohio schools. Districts and schools are encouraged to contact the educational service centers in their regions. Email questions about the Prevention Education Professional Development program to

Student Wellness and Success Funds: Districts and schools can use this funding to support initiatives that help meet the needs of the whole child and promote positive well-being for each student. These funds can support districts in extending the continuum of services from prevention (outlined above) to intervention and direct services. The flexible funds allow districts, alongside allowable community partners, the ability to design innovative programs and purchase services that meet the specific needs of their students within 11 allowable areas. Each district must develop a plan for the use of these funds in cooperation with one of the allowable community partners. Complete guidelines for the use of these funds can be found here. Email questions about Student Wellness and Success Funds to

Teachers and students will need extra support when they return to school in the fall to help them cope with changes and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Districts and schools can provide additional supports to meet students’ social-emotional and behavior needs by collaborating with their local ADAMH boards and educational service centers and maximizing the three initiatives outlined above. The Department urges districts and schools to capitalize on these opportunities and reach out to their local ADAMH boards and educational service centers for prevention supports and to utilize Student Wellness and Success Funds for intervention and direct supports.

Last Modified: 5/15/2020 11:20:56 AM