Voinovich School supports training for school health and opioid prevention education

Daniel Kington
November 21, 2017

Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs will provide training, technical assistance and facilitation at an upcoming training for teachers and school officials on the Health and Opioid Prevention Education (HOPE) curriculum. The training, hosted by the Athens-Meigs Educational Service Center in collaboration with Wright State University and Ohio Governor John Kasich’s Start Talking! program, will take place on Tues., Nov. 21, 2017.

The HOPE curriculum was originally designed by the Voinovich School, in partnership with Wright State University, the University of Toledo, and Cleveland State University, in order to enhance the existing K-12 health education curriculum in Ohio’s schools. The curriculum provides focused lessons, assessments and learning materials tailored to particular grade-levels, and may be used to fulfill Ohio’s requirement under House Bill 367 that local boards of education include opioid-specific instruction in their health curricula.

Dr. Holly Raffle, an associate professor at the Voinovich School who was involved in writing the HOPE curriculum, said its approach is unique.

“The HOPE curriculum offers a skills-based approach to opioid education, because we know that a ‘sit-and-get’ approach is not effective,” Raffle said. “We should give students all the information about drugs that we can, but students also need to learn and practice skills that will help them make the best decisions for themselves in a given moment, by learning, for example, communication and refusal skills that are necessary to avoid the risks associated with opiates.”

The upcoming training, one of four regional trainings taking place throughout the state, will ensure that teachers and school personnel have the resources to successfully implement the HOPE curriculum for students.

“We hope that after this training, participants will have the attitudes, skills and knowledge necessary to apply the HOPE curriculum in their schools,” Raffle said. “The event will train not only health teachers but also other school personnel, such as principles and resource officers, who have important roles to play in supporting the HOPE curriculum.”

The day will open at 9 a.m. with a two and a half hour intensive training in the HOPE curriculum. After lunch, participants will receive a brief overview of other statewide substance abuse prevention initiatives, before splitting into two breakout sessions. In one of these sessions, Raffle will discuss preparation for the curriculum’s implementation in a presentation tailored to health education teachers and those who may deliver health education at the elementary level, such as nurses and social workers. The other session, geared toward principals, district administrators and other school personnel, will focus on supporting the HOPE curriculum and substance abuse prevention more generally.

At the end of the training, the leaders of the breakout sessions will bring the groups back together for a closing conversation, in which participants can share their takeaways from the training.

Those interested in attending the training may register online here.