New York State DARE Officers' Association
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DARE Curriculum

keepin’ it REAL Elementary School Curriculum

Posted on September 12, 2016 by in Curriculum, Educational Courses

Keepin it Real

D.A.R.E.’s keepin’ it REAL Elementary School curriculum continues a more than thirty year commitment to providing cutting edge instruction that helps prevent drug use by developing basic, core skills needed for safe and responsible choices…skills that extend well beyond drugs to healthy and mature choices in life.

The curriculum, designed based on the Socio-Emotional Learning Theory (SEL), identifies fundamental, basic skills and developmental processes needed for healthy development including:

  • Self-awareness and management
  • Responsible decision making
  • Understanding others
  • Relationship and communication skills
  • Handling responsibilities and challenges

SEL theory teaches youth to control their impulses and think about risks and consequences resulting in more responsible choices. D.A.R.E. believes that if you can teach youth to make safe and responsible decisions, it will guide them to healthy choices, not only about drugs, but across all parts of their lives. As they grow to be responsible citizens, they will lead healthier and more productive drug-free lives.

The course’s ten lessons are arranged in a scaffolding process, starting with the basics about responsibility and decision making and then building on each other allowing students to develop their own responses to real life situations. The very first lesson starts with responsibility and introduces decision making with subsequent lessons applying these skills in increasing complex ways to drug use and other choices in their lives.

keepin’ it REAL Middle School Curriculum

Posted on September 12, 2016 by in Curriculum, Educational Courses

Based upon more than 20 years of research by the Drug Resistance Strategies Project about why our youth use drugs, D.A.R.E. America collaborated with Penn State University and Arizona State University to create keepin’ it REAL, a state-of-the-art, middle school substance abuse prevention program.

Grounded in cultural norms, the program teaches youth how to live drug-free lives confidently, drawing on the strengths of the students, their families, and communities.

Like the elementary school curriculum, the acronym “REAL” is the central message of the curriculum and teaches youth four ways to refuse drug offers — Refuse, Explain, Avoid, and Leave. These strategies help youth stay away from drugs by preparing them to act decisively and responsibly in difficult situations.

Evidence Based; Proven Efficacious

The curriculum is evidence-based and has been evaluated in a randomized controlled trial and found to be efficacious. The 10-lesson middle-school curriculum is highly interactive, involves multiple media materials that youth find engaging, and, like the elementary school curriculum, is based on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) principles that fit well with current research and practice in teaching middle-school youth.

The rigorous, scientific evaluations of the D.A.R.E. keepin’ it REAL curriculum for students in grades six through nine, show students completing the course evidenced a:

  • 32% to 44% reduction in marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol use;
  • 29% to 34% decrease in intent to accept substances; and
  • Reduction and cessation of substance use.

myPlaybook High School Curricula

Posted on September 12, 2016 by in Curriculum, Educational Courses

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D.A.R.E. myPlaybook is an evidence-based program shown to reduce alcohol and drug use among high school students. Students who completed the myPlaybook High School curriculum experienced:

  • Greater improvements in skills to resist drug offers;
  • More accurate perceptions that friends view drug use as unacceptable;
  • Decreased intentions to use alcohol and cigarettes in the next 30 days; and
  • Reductions in prior month’s alcohol use

Like all other D.A.R.E. courses, myPlaybook is taught by highly trained law enforcement officers with one significant difference – as a web-assisted curriculum designed to afford continued positive officer/students interaction, it actually reduces the demands upon law enforcement personnel resources. The D.A.R.E. officer delivers two lessons – the introduction and conclusion; students complete the rest of the course on-line.

D.A.R.E. myPlaybook engages students with interactive tools and is delivered using state-of-the-art instructional design that is engaging, interactive and fun – students do not just simply read and click through information; instead, they are required to answer questions, make predictions, and evaluate their own behavior.

Comprised of two components, one for members of the general student body and a separate component specifically for use by student athletes, myPlaybook meets many state Standards of Learning for health education and has been used successfully in 9th/10th grade health classes. As one high school student who completed the curriculum commented, “We saw the brain and how drugs can affect it and your memory. The lessons were easy to understand because of all the pictures.”

myPlaybook Student Athlete Curriculum – Key Elements

  • An evidence-based curriculum shown to reduce alcohol and other drug use.
  • Intended to address unique challenges drugs and alcohol present to student athletes.
  • Tailored to educate on substances that can inhibit abilities to reach full athletic potential and develop effective strategies to deal with potentially harmful situations.
  • Constructed so students develop good decision-making skills regarding multiple substances that can negatively affect athletic performance including.
  • Designed to attend to state Standards of Learning for health education and has been used successfully in 9th/10th grade health classes.

Enhancement Lessons

Posted on September 12, 2016 by in Curriculum, Educational Courses

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Today’s youth face unprecedented risks that no prior generation has ever faced. In response, D.A.R.E. has created two “enhancement” lessons that supplement other D.A.R.E. curricula and provide important information for parents as well.

Prescription & Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse

Recognizing the alarming increases in the abuse of prescription drugs and Over-the-Counter medicines, D.A.R.E. convened a meeting with national experts to create specialized lessons to educate students and their parents about the risks and consequences abusing prescription and OTC medicines. These lessons are available for elementary school, middle school, and high school classrooms, as well as presentations for parents and community groups.

Internet Safety

Access to the internet has permeated our society creating significant challenges for schools and parents to ensure the safety of their children. D.A.R.E. partnered with the Internet Keep Safe Coalition – an international alliance of more than 100 policy leaders, educators, law enforcement members, technology experts, public health experts, and advocates – to create unique educational materials for D.A.R.E. officers to present in schools to help ensure safe use of the internet.


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