Last week, students in grades 8-12 were given a Prevention Needs Assessment (PNA) survey that BH-BL administers every few years in collaboration with the Saratoga Prevention Council. The survey includes questions about alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, as well as other factors which place students at risk for problem behaviors. The information gathered helps the council and the district develop strategies to address issues related to substance abuse or other behaviors and gauge the impact of substance use on the learning environment.
It’s important to know that the survey is completely voluntary and anonymous. In fact, the survey is specifically designed to protect user privacy. We have been assured by the survey administrators that no names or any other identifying information is recorded and a user’s identity cannot be tracked even when the survey is taken online. Students in grades 9-12 completed a paper survey while students in grade 8 took the survey online.
In the past, the district has sent a letter to parents informing them of the upcoming survey and reminding them it is voluntary. Inadvertently, this year a letter was not sent home. We apologize for this oversight and are committed to our practice of sending letters to parents before the PNA survey or any survey is administered to students.
BH-BL, and many other local school districts, have been administering the PNA survey for more than ten years. The survey has been scientifically tested and has been deemed valid and reliable. It is conducted under contract with Bach Harrison LLC, a nationally known research firm. Many of the survey questions are related to topics covered in the New York State Health curriculum. The results of the survey are only shared with BH-BL and the Saratoga County Prevention Council. Often times the results are used to shape health curricula, character education, professional development and school assemblies, along with assessing counseling needs.
The aggregate results of the survey will be presented to the Board of Education and public in the spring.
If you have questions or would like to see a copy of the survey, please contact Assistant Superintendent Maryellen Symer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Health & Physical Education Department Head Joseph Scalise at email@example.com.