High school students in the Marana Unified School District are enrolling in a new, anti-drug program funded by a recent grant from Gov. Doug Ducey’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family.

The three-year High School Health and Wellness Program Grant has given MUSD the opportunity to provide a variety of activities to engage and educate students and increase awareness about healthy choices to prevent, reduce or stop risk behaviors, said Tamara Crawley, MUSD Director of Public Relations.

“This grant enhances the school’s current substance abuse prevention efforts,” Crawley said.

The program is initially geared towards freshman students at Marana and Mountain View high schools, and will include small group work, classroom curriculum and other activities one day a week, for ten weeks.

“We’ve never had an opportunity like this,” said MHS associate principal Sarah Parish, who added that the research-based program will cater to what district parents are looking for in terms of drug-prevention education.

The program’s slogan is “Too good for drugs,” and recently kicked off with a freshman tailgate event, at which students were able to ask question, sign up, receive free t-shirts with the slogan, eat snacks and more. Afterwards, parents and staff came together to express concerns, focus the program and generally figure out what parents expect from drug education.

The district received $187,000 for the program, and that money has gone to purchasing incentives, conducting outreach, training teachers, supporting curriculum, making t-shirts, hiring a program coordinator, finding guest speakers and more.

According to Crawley, that money will continue to go toward creating a healthy and open environment in which MUSD students can learn about high risk behaviors, and the benefits of a drug-free lifestyle.

Crawley said that, in addition to the opportunities the grant provides, all MUSD schools offer a comprehensive Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support program, teaching students respect, responsibility and accountability from an early age. As part of program, every school establishes clear behavioral expectations in all classrooms and areas of school. 

“In addition to promoting a positive school climate and positive student choices at each school, we are fortunate to have master level full-time counselors at all schools,” she said. “Other school-wide programs include Peaceful Playgrounds, Ben’s Bells, and Healthy Play.”

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