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Reflections on Another Succesful Year at Project ALERT

Dear Project ALERT community,

As the 2015-2016 school year comes to a close, we here at RAND want to thank you for your continued support of Project ALERT. It has been a productive year for the program and I would like to share some of our past-year accomplishments and a few goals for the future. 


We have published updated supplements on emerging topics of importance for middle school youth


We have focused recent efforts on providing information about two hot topics that warrant greater attention during Project ALERT lessons: (1) the large increase in youth e-cigarette usage, and (2) the emergence of laws legalizing recreational use of marijuana in some states. We have published six articles in our online newsletters on these topics and created two stand-alone supplemental guides that educators can use in their classrooms to discuss e-cigarette and marijuana use with youth. These resources offer important guidance for how to address these topics with students within Project ALERT lessons. The guides are a resource for teachers, but are easily accessible as handouts to students.


We made our videos more accessible to teachers in the classroom


We now host the Project ALERT classroom videos on iTunes, which represents a major innovation. In addition to hosting the videos on YouTube and on our Project ALERT website, we have made the videos available for immediate download from iTunes. This way, educators can save the videos on their computers and show them to students regardless of an Internet connection.


We have offered practical and up-to-date resources through our seasonal newsletters


We have continued to publish seasonal newsletters outlining relevant content for middle school youth. Highlights from these newsletters include a detailed account of a senior Project ALERT trainer’s experience teaching Project ALERT to educators in Chile, guidance on integrating e-cigarette content into Project ALERT lessons and a case example from one school district in California, updated information about e-cigarettes to increase educator knowledge about the harms and health impacts, advice and examples on how to have discussions with students about recent changes in marijuana policies, tips for educators teaching the Project ALERT curriculum, and updated normative information for use in Project ALERT lessons


We are updating our manual and website


Primarily based on feedback from our users and from our creative team here at RAND, we have dedicated much effort to improve the interface of our website, The website is now even more user-friendly than it was before. A highlight of the revamped site is an expanded “Frequently Asked Questions” section, which covers topics related to content, implementation, and troubleshooting. For the fall, we will have an updated manual available for download on our website. Updates include an overall content check to verify all material is accurate and up-to-date (e.g., adding in language about the new state laws for medicinal and recreational marijuana) as well as several formatting changes to improve ease for viewing the manual.


We are designing research projects and need your help in these efforts


We have designed several research projects in an effort to keep Project ALERT rooted in rigorous science. For these efforts, we are looking to partner with schools that are not currently using Project ALERT but would like to, as well as with schools currently using the program that could use more support implementing the program. We can offer more intensive support for partner schools, including free trainings and monetary incentives to teachers for completing brief surveys. If your school is interested, please fill out this brief online form so that we can get in touch with you.


We are available to consult and answer any questions you have


We continue to be available for any assistance you may need by phone at 1-800-ALERT-10 and via our contact form. Please visit our website and Facebook page for ongoing, updated information, and interesting new topics. We also offer in-person training for a fee if your school is interested.


I want to thank you for your continued participation in the Project ALERT community. We look forward to the future of the program and to working with our many teachers, school administrators, and other local organization leaders as we strive to prevent drug use among youth.



Eric Pedersen

Director, Project ALERT

Behavioral Scientist

RAND Corporation

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