The curriculum for NEXT Step was designed using the same six lesson format used at the elementary school level. The title of the course and subsequent name was chosen by the middle school students and their high school mentors –NEXT Step.
In this program a deputy delivers curriculum on the subject/drug to be taught to high school students who attend school at a location that is readily located near a middle school. The students, with the deputy, present the lesson to the students.
The students add their own life stories and examples as they present the lesson. The deputy is always present to ensure accuracy of all facts and to monitor all aspects of the program. Like the elementary school program the lessons are divided into six parts.
All schools receive lessons on alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and prescription/over the counter drugs. Prior to delivering the curriculum the middle school students take a pre-test/survey to determine what trends are prevalent in their specific school community.
The survey tool is a nationally accepted tool called the PRIDE Survey. Results from the surveys are received prior to working with the students so that curriculum can be developed specific to the school and their drug issues. Historically the schools vary on the subjects that need to be emphasized.
In addition to the six lessons with the students, a parent meeting is offered at each school where the results of the survey and curriculum are shared with that specific school site.
In addition to the curriculum designed for elementary-age students, a new program was developed in the late 1990s that specifically addresses the needs and challenges of the middle school and high school students as they deal with the ever emerging issues surrounding drug use. Known as NEXT STEP, this program was designed by students for students. This program is always supported by a sworn deputy for all trainings and presentations.
NEXT STEP is a community service club on a high school campus that is led by an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy. High school students mentor/teach middle school students about the dangers of substance abuse. (Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies will assist you in forming your club on campus)
NEXT STEP student mentors attend meetings/trainings about once a month led by a sworn deputy sheriff. Mentors then take their skill sets and develop them into presentations that will engage the middle school student. Student mentors share real life stories how drugs have affected their lives. The mentors participating in NEXT STEP are expected to stay drug and alcohol free. Student mentors are expected to HAVE FUN!
Students participating in NEXT STEP will gain an understanding of substance abuse and of the many costs, both personal as well as to all of society.
Student mentors gain experience in teaching and group presentation
Involvement in NEXT STEP qualifies as community service hours.
NEXT STEP and Drug Use Is Life Abuse are nationally recognized programs and involvement with both looks great on applications for work and school.