November 2, 2017


The Roaring Fork Schools received $222,273 this year through two Colorado Department of Education (CDE) School Health Professional Grants. This highly competitive grant program supports the addition of prevention specialists in Roaring Fork Schools to provide substance abuse and behavioral health care to students. The Roaring Fork Schools are excited to introduce the following prevention specialists:

  • Sonja Linman, Glenwood Springs schools: Linman is a longtime Yampah Mountain High School Teacher and advocate for strong drug and alcohol prevention and intervention programs.
  • Anne Chatman, Carbondale schools: Chatman moved to the Roaring Fork Valley from Missouri, where she worked in prevention and behavior support.
  • Paul Hassel, Basalt schools: Hassel is a former teacher and was most recently a program counselor for the Youth Recovery Center at Valley View Hospital.

Through this program, the specialists provide evidence-based prevention lessons in the classroom, staff training on drug and alcohol prevention, and prevention trainings to parents. Additionally, the specialists will participate in each school’s multi-tiered system of support process and coordinate with community organizations to connect students and families to appropriate resources.

The prevention specialist program was piloted at Bridges High School during the 2016-17 school year. Laura Karnes held the position last year and saw that role as filling a “critical gap” in schools.

“The prevention specialist identifies root causes to endemic issues within a family system that cause risk factors. Then, the specialist works with community organizations to reduce barriers for students and families so that they may access wrap-around services for intervention, treatment, and counseling,” Karnes explained.  

Family Resource Center Director Jenny Lindsay explained that the CDE grant manager was very supportive of the district’s program last year and encouraged the Roaring Fork Schools to apply for additional positions to continue the work that was being developed.

“Meetings with school counselors confirmed the need for prevention specialists in all communities and found that middle schools were the best place to base the positions,” Lindsay said.

The recently approved grant provided funding to place prevention specialists in Basalt and Glenwood Springs and to expand the role of the Carbondale prevention specialist in its second grant year.

Glenwood Springs Middle School Principal Joel Hathaway is a strong advocate for the program and is excited about the additional resources for students. "Adding a prevention specialist has been crucial to our school's ability to meet all student needs. It’s a welcome addition to our Student Services Team,” Hathaway said. “While a counselor helps generate and improve on whole school systems of support and works through a host of issues affecting students, families, and staff, the prevention specialist is able to focus like a microscope on students who show early warning signs of at-risk behaviors."

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