Welcome to the Saginaw Public Schools 

Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) Initiative!


The common mission of the Saginaw Public Schools Safe Schools Healthy Students Initiative through school-family and community partnerships and collaboration is to promote, implement and sustain a healthy and safe environment, which supports academic achievement and student success.


The overall vision of the Safe Schools Healthy Students initiative is to integrate systems that promote the healthy development of children and families in a safe, healthy and drug-free school and community environment.

Saginaw Public Schools has been selected as one of three Michigan pilot communities to implement the four year Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) grant through the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Michigan Department of Education and Michigan Department of Community   Health.  For more information on SAMHSA's federal Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative:   

The Foundation of Safe Schools/Healthy Students


1.  Five Elements

Element 1: Promoting Early Childhood Social Emotional Learning and Development Developing children’s social and emotional skills that will lay the foundation for future healthy interpersonal relationships, association with non violent peers, and improved academic achievement.

Element 2: Promoting Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health Enhancing an individual’s ability to achieve developmentally appropriate tasks and a positive sense of self-esteem, mastery, and well-being and to strengthen their ability to cope with adversity through enhanced integration, coordination, and resource sharing.

Element 3: Connecting Families, Schools, and Communities Linking families, schools, and communities together to increase and improve the quality of their engagement in planning and implementing programs and activities that assist students.

Element 4: Preventing and Reducing Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use Addressing the prevention or reduction of substance use in coordination with broader environmental strategies that address change not only at the individual, classroom, and school levels, but also at the family and community levels.

Element 5: Creating Safe and Violence-Free Schools Identifying and addressing issues, conditions, behaviors, and structures that contributes to unsafe school environments and violence in schools. 

2.  Guiding Principles

1. Cultural and linguistic competency: Ensuring that all programs and evaluations are appropriate for every culture group. Programs should value diversity and incorporate multiple cultural perspectives. Policies and strategies should support the cultivation of data to measure and address disparities.

2. Developmentally appropriate: Using prevention and intervention strategies and evidence-based programs that are valid and appropriate for a specific age group or developmental level.

3. Evidence-based interventions: Using a continuum of integrated policies, strategies, activities, and services whose effectiveness has been proven or informed by research.

4. Resource leveraging: Assessing and using existing resources and identifying the need for additional resources.

5. Serving vulnerable and at-risk populations: Addressing the needs of children and youth, students, and schools that are most vulnerable or at risk

6. Sustainability: Using various strategies to maintain the positive outcomes of the SS/HS initiative and ensuring the ongoing support of programs and policies.

7. Youth guided and family driven: Ensuring that youth understand that change is possible, that systems serve them, and that they feel safe, cared for, valued, useful, and spiritually grounded. Ensuring that families have a primary decision making role in the care of their own children as well as the policies and procedures governing care for all children.

3.  Strategic Approaches

1. Capacity building: Strengthening the knowledge, abilities, and skills of individuals and improving organizational structures and processes to more efficiently meet the needs of the community in a sustainable way.

2. Collaboration and partnership: Involving multiple organizations and working together in sharing common vision, resources, goals and outcomes.

3. Policy change and development: Using existing or new lessons learned to inform the revision of current or the development of new state and local policies.

4. Systemic change and integration: Changing existing systems to better coordinate multiple service agencies and programs to improve outcomes for the target population. Systems change and integration is a natural product of collaborative activities.

5. Technology: Harnessing evolving technology to increase efficiency and support program implementation and evaluation.

Guidance Document

Snapshots from the Federal Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative:

Project Evaluation

A very important part of this SS/HS Initiative is the evaluation of the programs and services being provided.  The evaluation process requires the collection of data about students’ participation in the programs and services being offered.  The data collected will help project staff to determine whether the programs and services offered are actually having a positive effect on students’ lives and the school’s environment.

Data from schools and participating service providers will be used by Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Department of Community Health to evaluate the project.  No individually identifiable information (e.g., student names, addresses, etc.) will be made available to the Local Evaluation Team. All data is collected and assessed as group data. A summary of the project’s combined program results and progress will be available to the community.


Lisa Coney, M.S.W., L.M.S.W
Project Manager
Safe Schools Healthy Students
(989) 399-6592