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Student Assistance Professionals (SAP)

What is SAP?

The Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program is a unique collaboration between schools, community agencies, county human services, and the Pennsylvania State Departments of Human Services, Drug and Alcohol Programs and Education. The Network for SAP Services provides leadership, communication and monies to support SAP at the county and local school level.

At the local school level, a highly trained, multidisciplinary school team works with the staff to identify students’ barriers to learning and school success. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
  • Mental health
  • Family and academic stressors which pose learning barriers

The SAP team identifies students, determines whether their problem lies within the responsibility of the school to address and makes recommendations to assist students and families remove barriers to learning. When a problem lies beyond the scope of the school, the SAP team, including the community agency liaison, will assist the parent and student to identify appropriate services within the community and school to address the issues and work toward improvement.

Who are We?

Staff of the Addiction Medicine Services of UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. We are Pennsylvania Approved SAP Trainers who have been training schools and other professions in SAP for more than 30 years. Our team of professional educators, clinicians and preventionists bring school and agency personnel high quality initial and advanced training as well as ongoing coaching that is designed to help teams function effectively. Our goal is to help schools build sustainable systems for addressing student learning barriers in the best way possible.

We currently offer the following courses and training for school personnel including teachers, nurses, school liaisons, administrators, clinical staff, and probation officers.

If you have questions about any of our training courses, please call 412-235-5377.

K-12 SAP Training


All K-12 SAP Trainings will be held online through June 2021.

ONLINE Trainings:


  • April 14,15,16, 20,21,22
  • May 11,12,13,18,19,20
  • June 1,2,3,8,9,10


8:15 am - 12:30pm


$375 includes all materials and 21 Act 48 credits. Also included is a post-training face:face or virtual meeting to answer team or liaison questions, assist with assimilation or provide updated mini-training including maintenance.

For further information, please contact Pat Woodke at  To register for a training, download the registration form (PDF), complete and email to Pat. When emailing, please put “SAP REGISTRATION” in the subject line.


View the K-12 SAP Training agenda (PDF)

During the three-day training, participants will

  • Discover the Foundations of Student Assistance in Pennsylvania
  • Discuss the PennSAP Team and Process
  • Explain Key Federal and State Legislation/Regulations that Impact SAP
  • Outline Strategies to Engage Families & School/Community Partners in the SAP Process
  • Describe the Essentials of Child & Adolescent Development
  • Investigate Strategies for Promoting Resiliency throughout Development, Particularly Through Transitions
  • Delineate the Key Concepts in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Issues to include:
  • Practice Team Process
  • Process Case Studies
  • Summarize Questions to Ask When Returning to the Home Team

Credits Provided:
Act 48. Additional charges will apply for specialized credits. LSW, CEUs,CAC/CPS and NBCC credits offered at $30.

For further information or to receive a registration form, please contact Pat Woodke at  To register for a training, download the registration form (PDF), complete and email to Pat. When emailing, please put “SAP REGISTRATION” in the subject line.

On-Site Training at School

For groups of 15 or more, our trainers will travel to your school and provide SAP or other topic-specific trainings. You determine the dates and the topics; you provide the materials and lunch.

$375 per participant

For further information or to schedule an On-Site Training or Mental Health First Aid Training, please call 412.235.5377 or email

Group Facilitators' Training

Location and Date:



$150 per participant


Students listen to other students. Groups are an effective and fun way to teach social and emotional regulation skills to students. However, working in a school is different from working in an agency. Education groups are different than therapy groups. Come and refine your skills and knowledge while having some fun, too!

This one-day workshop will prepare participants to design, plan, implement and evaluate topic specific skill development groups in schools. Staff will leave with:

  • Rationale, boundaries and mechanics of educational groups
  • Eight-week curriculum that can be used immediately
  • Electronic toolkit that provides templates and detailed plans for every step of the process from identifying candidates, obtaining parent consents and structuring evaluation to continuously improve group process and outcomes.

Who should attend? SAP Liaisons, SAP professionals, school counselors, teachers, prevention specialists, psychologists and social workers interested in facilitating educational groups in schools.

During the one-day training, participants will:

  1. Compare and contrast education and therapy groups
  2. Outline eight critical components of effective school-based skill development groups
  3. Describe legal and ethical considerations when running school based education groups
  4. Discuss four roles of an effective educational group facilitator
  5. Prepare an actual school-based skill development group curriculum from beginning to end

For further information or to receive a registration form, please contact Pat Woodke at  Please put “SAP REGISTRATION” in the subject line when emailing.