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(Choices Health Advisory Team)

Definition and Function

CHAT is a non-disciplinary group of trained teachers concerned with the Sayre School student use of alcohol and other drugs. The goal is to express concern for student health and to offer resources that help students reflect on their potential use of alcohol and other drugs before health, disciplinary, or relationship issues arise. The formation of this group was recommended by FCD (Freedom from Chemical Dependency), alcohol and drug education consultants to the school.

Any concerns/referrals directed to the CHAT teachers by a member of the community are private. Only the CHAT members and the school counselor will have access to information about the referral. The team has been trained extensively in the importance of privacy and student/CHAT interaction. The team understands that its function would be compromised significantly by even one breach of privacy.

In conjunction with this private and non-disciplinary health system, the disciplinary arm of Sayre School will continue its traditional role: responding to students who are caught using alcohol or other drugs at school or at school-sponsored events. The disciplinary procedures and protocols are delineated in the Upper School Handbook. CHAT operates as a parallel system that is independent from the administration and the disciplinary system. CHAT does not accept disciplinary referrals. If at any time during the discussion with the team, a student discloses using illegal substances or expresses concern about their own use or mental health, the student will be referred to the school counselor. The counselor will work with the student and CHAT to develop a plan to help the student. This action remains private, non-disciplinary, and independent of athletic training rules.

CHAT System of Conversation 9th – 12th grades

The designation of level of concern will be decided by the CHAT team when the report is received. Action will be taken accordingly.

Level One Conversation

  • The team members receive referrals/concerns about a student’s health choices that may include possible substance abuse.
  • One to two team members have a conversation with the student.
  • Concerns are shared; resources for support are discussed and encouraged.
  • Next step is explained.

Level Two Conversation

  • The team receives additional referrals/concerns or the initial report is determined to be at level two.
  • Team members and possibly the counselor talk with the student. Parents will be informed of concerns.
  • Resources for support are discussed and encouraged.
  • Professional evaluation is recommended to parents.
  • Next step is explained.

Level Three Conversation

  • Concern about substance abuse persists or the initial report is determined to be serious enough for a level three designation.
  • One or two team members, and/or the school counselor and administrator meet with the student and parents.
  • Professional evaluation is strongly recommended if not done at level two. Recommendations and coordination with the treatment professional will be facilitated to help the student.


Cathy Bilberry
Linda Froehlich
Joe Mahler
Bettina Morrish
Delia Pergande

Nicole Garrett

Head of Upper School:
Clint Calzini