Student Assistance Program

STAR Program

Society is placing ever increasing pressures on each of us.  Teenagers, in particular, face daily challenges of changing values, changing family and social relationships, pressures from work, school and friends! These challenges are occurring at a time when an adolescent is already experiencing rapid biological, physical, and psychological changes.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in 2015, about 3 million teens, ages 12 to 17, had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. More than 2 million report experiencing depression that impairs their daily function. About 30% of girls and 20% of boys, totaling 6.3 million teens, have had an anxiety disorder, according to data from the National Institute of Mental Health. Suicide is also the second leading cause of death among teenagers.

An estimated 4.6 million American teenagers have problems caused by alcohol use.  More than one out of three high school seniors report drinking heavily. Abuse of other substances is also increasing among teens, with alcohol and drug-related traffic accidents being the leading cause of death for the 16-24 age group.

Because the South Williamsport Area School District recognizes that some students may be experiencing problems with alcohol or other drug use and/or feelings of depression or other mental health issues, we have developed the STAR Team.

The STAR Team consists of school professionals who have received intensive training in listening skills, adolescent development, depression, suicide, and substance abuse. Team members include administrators, teachers, school nurse, school counselors, and representatives from West Branch Drug & Alcohol and Lycoming-Clinton County Joinder.

Our Mission

The purpose of the STAR team is to identify and make appropriate referrals for students who are experiencing problems with alcohol or other drug use, depression and/or feelings of suicide. The STAR Team will accept referrals from parents, students, and school staff. Upon referral, the student is interviewed by trained members of the Team, and recommendations are made for referral to appropriate community resources or educational groups.

2016-2017 Team Members

Mrs. Verna Correll
School Counselor
Mr. Jesse Smith
Mrs. Emily Wagner
School Counselor
Mr. Matt Eisley
Mrs. Cheryl Schonewolf
School Nurse
Mr. Scott Manning
Mr. Dustin Gehr
Outreach Worker
Mr. John Hitesman
Mrs. Josie Kennedy
Mrs. Deanna Drick
Drug & Alcohol Prevention Specialist

Referral Process

Family Referral

Parents/guardians who are concerned for their child are encouraged to contact any member of the STAR Team via phone, email, or speak in person.


A student may refer oneself or a fellow student by contacting a member of the STAR Team (look for a designated star outside classroom doors).

Staff Referral

Teachers and other school staff are alert to their students’ typical or atypical behaviors. They are often the first to notice signs of depression in a student and may refer a student by contacting any member of the STAR Team.


 Please note that all referrals to the STAR team are confidential. 

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