A curriculum that aims to reduce drug abuse and harmful behaviors by helping at-risk students learn self-regulation could soon be used in Highland County schools.
Bill Showman, the prevention and evaluation coordinator for the Paint Valley ADAMH Board, on Thursday gave members of the Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition an overview of the PAX Good Behavior Game, a set of classroom strategies that develop self-regulation for students by reinforcing good behaviors and discouraging bad behaviors.
“PAX” is the Latin word for “peace,” according to a fact sheet on the curriculum.
According to Showman, the curriculum is proven to reduce drug use, substance abuse and suicide for students later in life, and increases test scores. Showman said the game is “trauma-informed,” and creates a nurturing environment conducive to learning.
According to Showman’s presentation, PAX decreases aggressive, disruptive, shy or withdrawn behavior and increases attentiveness by utilizing a variety of techniques and games designed to promote positive habits.
Showman said he has secured grants to pay for the curriculum and has introduced it to schools in Ross and Fayette counties. The whole elementary staff at Southeastern High School in Ross County is now trained to use the game in classes, according to Showman. He said there are more than 270 teachers in Ross County that are certified to use the curriculum.
Showman said schools in Highland County and Pickaway County are next on his list. He said he will reach out to principals in Highland County in the next two to three weeks about holding trainings.
“If they buy into it, it’s going to be great,” he said. Showman said in the last 12 or so years, “I haven’t been this excited about anything.”
Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss, who was in attendance at the meeting, said the curriculum “sounds like a great program,” and suggested Showman present testimonials to local school officials and perhaps meet with local Ohio Educational Association chapters.
Coss said the best way to prevent drug use is by intervening with children at a young age.
For more information on the curriculum, visit goodbehaviorgame.org.
Showman also gave the coalition an overview of the ADAMH board’s activities in the area.
According to Showman’s presentation, beginning in 1967, the ADAMH Board has been building a system to support local residents with mental health, alcohol or other drug addiction problems.
The board, which is funded by federal and state dollars and local levy revenue, purchases services from local providers on behalf of individuals and families with no insurance, or who are underinsured.
Mental health and addiction outpatient treatment services are available on a sliding fee scale, determined by monthly income and family size, to residents of the board’s five-county service district.
The district includes Highland, Fayette, Pike, Ross and Pickaway counties.
In other coalition business, Kim Davis, director of local nonprofit Hope for Highland County, said her organization will hold a costume run from 5-9 p.m. this Saturday at Liberty Park in Hillsboro. More information can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/hopeforhighlandcounty.
Also Thursday, Kimbell Zornes, pastor of Carpenter’s House of Prayer in Hillsboro and director of Shiloh Recovery Ministries, said Shiloh will hold a graduation ceremony at 6 p.m. Sunday at Carpenter’s House of Prayer.
Zornes also said a home has been donated to the ministry, but Shiloh must raise about $5,000 to pay back taxes on the property before it can eventually be developed into a transitional housing service.
Carpenter’s House of Prayer can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/carpentershouseofprayer.
The Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition is a group of law enforcement officials, mental health and drug treatment service providers, people of faith and concerned citizens who meet monthly to exchange ideas on how to reduce drug abuse in Highland County.
The group meets at noon every fourth Thursday of the month in the main conference room at the North High Business Center in Hillsboro.
The coalition can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/HCDAPC.
Showman said the next coalition meeting will be held at noon Thursday, Dec. 6. There will be no November meeting.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570.