The Hope Squad implementation for the 2019-2020 school year is well underway at Princeton Community Middle School and Princeton High School. Hope Squad is a school-based, peer-to-peer suicide prevention program that deploys trained students to do intentional outreach with distressed peers. Hope Squad follows a three-year curriculum that emphasizes suicide prevention fundamentals, self-care, and anti-bullying. The Hope Squad involves training students and staff to recognize suicide warning signs and to act upon those warnings to support students to seek help from other adults.
In March 2019, a group of middle school students and high school students were nominated by their peers to participate in Hope Squad. Staff advisors (6 for the middle school and 6 for the high school) were trained this spring to support the Hope Squad students and to provide the curriculum next school year. Student orientations took place in April 2019 followed by receipt of permission forms from parents of the nominated students. Hope Squad parent orientations are taking place this month on May 6th and May 21st for the parents of the Hope Squad students. Several advisors will also be trained as trainers on May 8th in the QPR model. QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer and is focused on reducing suicidal behaviors teaching professionals how to reduce the immediate risk of suicide.
Beginning in August of the 2019-2020 school year, the Hope Squad curriculum will be delivered every Wednesday during 8th bell lunch at Princeton High School with additional time devoted after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays as needed. At Princeton Community Middle School, the curriculum will be taught during an encore bell daily.
The Hope Squad lead advisors are Mr. James Stallworth at PCMS and Ms. Dawn Stallard at PHS. Princeton would like to thanks our Board of Education for approving the participation agreement with Grant Us Hope. Princeton would also like to thank the PHS and PCMS administration, staffs, students, parents for supporting this important work!