San Juan School District serves over 3,000 students in 12 schools in the geographically diverse San Juan County, Utah. The district has used the Vector Solutions Staff Safety & Compliance Training System since 2013 to deliver, track, and manage training for their 350 staff online. Matthew Keyes, Director of Human Resources, likes how easy the training system is to use for everyone, and from an administrative standpoint, he appreciates the ease of record keeping and tracking.
In 2019, when Vector Solutions launched new Student Safety & Wellness Courses, Keyes saw these new online resources from a trusted and familiar provider as an opportunity to help address a key need for the district’s five high schools—fostering and facilitating critical conversations with students on sensitive student safety and wellness topics they are dealing with. The student courses cover essential safety and wellness topics that address the realities of school and life that students are facing today. San Juan administrators wanted to take a more proactive and preventive approach in addressing topics covered by the student courses, including:
Before implementing the Student Courses, the district was primarily using their school counselors and some of the resources they had access to, and were more reactionary in their approach to covering these topics with students as needs arose.
In his additional role as the district’s Title IX Coordinator, Keyes identified the Vector Solutions Student Courses as a solution that could help them be more proactive. Keyes worked collaboratively with a team including Student Services, the Assistant Superintendent, and other administrators to review the student courses, and there was buy-in from everyone. When they presented to the district’s board of education, they received approval to roll out the new courses across all of their high schools.
“We really like the student-centered content and the peer presenters. The courses are short, engaging, and to the point, and are designed to capture the attention of the students.”Matthew Keyes, Director of Human Resources
While their implementation was delayed a bit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the high schools have started using the Sexual Harassment and Digital Citizenship course modules, with plans to incorporate the other topics in the future. They are using the courses in a group setting in conjunction with HOPE Week. This is a week dedicated to addressing important topics with students including suicide prevention, drug and alcohol abuse, and now sexual harassment and digital citizenship are also included. During this week, students in all the high schools across the district watch the student courses in class.
Before rolling out the courses, teachers were coached on how to facilitate these important conversations around the topics presented in the courses. The teachers were also prepared to direct students to additional resources within the district if students had concerns in any of these areas. The objective is to start the conversations with the students in these sensitive areas that they don’t normally talk about. In addition to using in these group settings, the district is also assigning some course modules individually for remediation and as part of their restorative practices.
A letter was sent home to parents informing them about the course content that would be presented and parents were encouraged to continue these important conversations at home with their students. Parents who were interested were invited to contact the district to view the courses. Keyes even mentioned that his high school-aged son participated in viewing the courses and the class discussions at school, and he was pleased as a parent that his son came home and started an unprompted dialog with him about what he had learned.
The courses are helping to facilitate important conversations that are critical to students’ health and safety in today’s world. Veteran teachers have commented that they were able to have deeper, more meaningful conversations with students than ever before. The district has also received positive feedback from a local coalition of community organizations for their increased efforts focused on preventing sexual harassment with the use of the student courses.
The Vector Solutions Student Courses offer customized content for grades 6-8 and 9-12. Written by leading K-12 subject matter experts from across the nation, and delivered in a video-based format featuring age-appropriate content and peer presenters, the courses also feature helpful lesson plans with discussion questions and activities to support educators in using the courses with their students.
The second collection of courses released in 2020 addresses student social and emotional learning needs with topics covering depression, stress and anxiety, healthy relationships, good decision making, and resolving disagreements. We also offer a COVID-19 collection for students, which includes our new Making the Most of Distance Learning course.