Prevention Education and Student Well-being Supports

Prevention Education and Student Well-being Supports

The Importance of Prevention Education for Students During School Restart

As the new school year approaches, students need to develop and access skills that build resiliency to face life stressors, particularly those created or exacerbated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and to prepare for a year that will be different than in the past. Prevention education can provide educators with the knowledge and skills to develop and enhance students’ strengths and help them build positive relationships with peers and adults. Prevention education provides students a connection to caring adults and the development of social-emotional skills to help them manage emotions, solve problems, set and achieve positive goals and deal effectively with daily tasks and challenges. These skills also can help them cope with loss, fear or sadness experienced as a result of the pandemic or manage anxiety about any unknown next steps.
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 likely to encountered in the coming year. 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 implement 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. These funds are coordinated through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and county alcohol, drug addiction and mental health boards.
  • 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. These funds are coordinated through select educational service centers.
  • 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 for districts and schools who chose to engage with their local Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADAMH) boards. ADAMH boards and school districts can work together to determine effective practices to deliver prevention education services in person or virtually. The self-assessment helps guide a planning process with the local ADAMH board to identify needs and gaps and build upon district 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.
For those who participated in this initiative, as of July 20, 2020, 88 percent of districts completed self-assessments. Of those completing the self-assessment, 66 percent took the next step and submitted a plan proposal to the local ADAMH board. Finally, of those submitting plan proposals, 53 percent have been approved by the local ADAMH board. Any remaining action plans should be submitted to the appropriate ADAMH board prior to the start of school so plans can be approved and implementation can begin.
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 capacity throughout the state to provide prevention education to districts and schools. Educators and related school personnel can receive professional development on the models and tenets of prevention of risky behaviors, including substance abuse, suicide, bullying and other harmful behaviors. 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 these funds 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.
With the help of Ohio’s Whole Child Advisory Council, the Department is collecting and reviewing Student Wellness and Success Fund Ideas for Innovation. Districts and schools that have established programs or services to support the whole child or student wellness and success can share their stories on the Ideas for Innovation webpage for an opportunity to be featured. The webpage highlights the work districts and schools are doing in support of the needs of the whole child and can help inspire ideas for ways districts and schools can use Student Wellness and Success funds.

Email questions about Student Wellness and Success Funds to
Additional Prevention Education and Student Well-Being Supports: To supplement the funding initiatives outlined above, additional resources are available that can help students build resiliency and promote positive mental health. Using evidence-based strategies and approaches are key to implementing successful programs for students’ and staff members’ well-being. A few resources to support schools and districts are listed below. Educators and students will need extra support during school restart to help them practice resiliency when adapting to changes and uncertainty. 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 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: 12/6/2021 3:53:16 PM