For many years, fifth graders in Pullman Public Schools have participated in the national D.A.R.E. program, a program designed to make a positive, early impact on youth. When the D.A.R.E. organization was in its earlier stages, it was focused primarily on preventing drug and alcohol use among young people. Sunnyside fifth grade teacher Natalie Walker completed the D.A.R.E. program when she was a fifth grader and distinctly remembers “it was heavily focused on the health impact of drugs and alcohol”. In 2020, the negative impact of drugs and alcohol is just one unit of the D.A.R.E. curriculum.
D.A.R.E. curriculum has evolved dramatically over the years. When Pullman Police Department Officer Scott Patrick teaches Pullman Public Schools’ fifth graders, the units revolve around the central concept of providing tools for making safe and responsible decisions, including topics such as confident communications skills, managing stress and pressure, addressing and preventing bullying, and having healthy friendships.
A side benefit of participation in the D.A.R.E. program is that students develop a positive outlook of law enforcement, in large part due to the great rapport that Officer Scott Patrick has with students.
Ms. Walker noted that in past years, after completing the D.A.R.E. lessons with Officer Patrick, fifth graders completed an essay as their culminating project to show evidence of learning, a requirement towards officially graduating from the D.A.R.E. program and participating in the graduation ceremony. This year, Ms. Walker and her Sunnyside fifth grade teaching partner, Abby Stolp wanted to find some additional opportunities to meet the needs of all students, a way for each of their students to be able to successfully showcase their learning. After brainstorming ideas, they proposed the idea of students completing a creative project. They received an excited stamp of approval from the D.A.R.E. program’s regional director, who loved the idea.
The 45 fifth grade students in Natalie Walker and Abby Stolp's classes presented their amazing D.A.R.E. projects on January 10th! The projects included power points, skits, songs/dances, essays and student created games to share what they learned during the D.A.R.E. units. A variety of guests had the opportunity to attend, listen, and provide feedback. Ms. Walker shared “All of our students were able to be successful in completing this project, we are so proud of their work!”
Well done Natalie, Abby, and students!
Thank you to Officer Scott Patrick for his dedication to our students!