Carbon School Board Approves Support for the SHARP Survey

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During the Carbon School Board meeting held on May 8, a discussion regarding the Student Health and Risk Prevention (SHARP) survey surfaced once again.

The SHARP survey has been an immense topic over the last few years after the Utah State Board of Education withdrew its support from the survey, lifting the requirement by legislation to mandate the administration of the survey within Utah schools in 2022. The survey is designed to assess adolescent substance use, emotional and mental health concerns, bullying, anti-social behavior and the risk and protective factors that impact these potential negative outcomes.

Superintendent Mika Salas brought the survey to the school board’s attention for discussion in November of 2022 with concerns regarding the validity of the results. In January of 2023, Carbon School Board finally came to a decision for a one-time approval of the SHARP survey after various discussions spanning over several meetings. The motion also included an informational sheet provided to parents with a list of the survey’s categories, along with an explanation that more detailed questions will be asked depending on how each student answers.

This year, the SHARP survey was once again on the board’s agenda for discussion. Four Corners Community Behavioral Health Prevention Specialist Alysa Potter spoke during the public comment in the April’s school board meeting stating that the data returned from the 2023 survey had decreased by 82.9%.

“Unfortunately, with this high of a decrease in participation, some of the data was unusable,” said Potter. “This has had a significant impact on the recent efforts and assessments being completed by the community partners in Carbon County, including the C.A.R.E Coalition.”

Potter explained that only difference between the 2023 survey and the previous year was that Carbon School District (CSD) did not allow the survey’s permission slip to be included with the registration packets.

Carbon School Board motioned the permission slip to not be a part of the registration packet in 2023 with the idea that parents are uninformed of what they are signing due to the vast amount of papers they are signing during registration. The board expressed that they wanted the parents to be informed of the questions their children will be asked in the SHARP survey before signing the permission form.

Before the board was able to make a vote whether the survey’s permission slips would be included in registration packets during this month’s school board meeting, Superintendent Salas informed the board and audience that there has been a hiccup with their registration portal. Unfortunately, CSD had to start sending their registration packets out with only the district’s required forms due to an unforeseen technical issue with the program they use for registration.

However, Superintendent Salas expressed that they will use every point of contact with the parents to inform them of the SHARP survey permission slip including email, text messaging and social media.

Although the district will be unable to send the consent form in the 2024 registration packet, the board made the motion to include the form in their registration packet going forward and to help inform parents of it in any way physically possible by the district.

For more information regarding the SHARP survey, visit the link here. 

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