Village to Consider Cutting DARE Program in Clarendon Hills Schools
Both the Village of Clarendon Hills and District 181 are studying whether or not the Social Emotional Learning for Academic Success (SELAS) program can replace services provided by DARE.
The following is a release from the Village of Clarendon Hills:
At its board meeting on Aug. 6, village trustees will discuss a proposal regarding the future of the current DARE program in District 181 schools located in Clarendon Hills.
Recently, the village and district staffs have evaluated how resources are allocated and whether those resources are being maximized. The DARE program utilizes a full-time police officer, paid by the village, to teach drug-use prevention and other types of social education on topics like bullying, as directed by the school district. Village and district staffs are currently studying ways to reduce redundancies between the DARE program and the district’s Social Emotional Learning for Academic Success program (SELAS). SELAS has been in place since the 2004-2005 school year and fulfills a State of Illinois requirement to incorporate social and emotional learning into curriculum and assess children’s progress in acquiring those skills.
A proposal will be presented to the Village Board that includes replacement of the DARE program by an updated SELAS program. A Clarendon Hills police officer will still teach certain portions of the SELAS curriculum, but will be present less than currently is the case.
By integrating the two programs, village and district staff believe they fulfill the same goals of the DARE program while reducing the impact on instructional time and allowing the village to focus its resources on core programs. In addition to participation with the SELAS program, the proposal would continue to have the Clarendon Hills Police Department assigning a police officer to be a regular liaison with the schools, in addition to his or her normal responsibilities.
“The village has worked over the last several years to further focus resources on core services, including infrastructure investment and public safety,” village manager Randy Recklaus stated. “We are continuing to re-examine our existing programs for cost effectiveness. While the DARE program provides a benefit to students in the community who attend District 181 schools, it does so at a significant cost. We will be presenting an alternative to the current program that we feel meets the goals of the current program, but better reflects our current staffing and financial limitations. The village and district are committed to maintaining a strong working relationship and will continue to emphasize drug use prevention education and other important safety and social lessons in the school district.”
Recklaus added that if the Village Board approves the concept at the Aug. 6 meeting, the village and district expect to implement any changes to the program beginning with the fall school term.