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Project ALERT Stars in College/Middle School Alliance

Dr. Darren Roesch, Assistant Professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center’s Rangel College of Pharmacy in Kingsville, Texas, developed a popular elective for his doctor of pharmacy students called “Licit and Illicit Drug Use, Abuse, and Addiction.”

In addition to regular lectures and exams on topics related to drugs of abuse, the students in Dr. Roesch’s course were asked to participate in a ground-breaking alliance with students and teachers at the middle school in the same, small south Texas town.

Project ALERT was the star curriculum that brought these professional doctoral students together with middle school students and taught them both about drugs of abuse in our society. In eleven of the 15 weeks in the pharmacy students’ semester, they went to the middle school and taught one of the sessions of the Project ALERT curriculum to the middle school students.

To accomplish this large-scale teaching and learning project, the pharmacy students were divided into teaching pairs that meet with the same group of about 12 middle school students each week. The Project ALERT curriculum was presented to the middle school students according to specifications, and each one the pharmacy students prepared for each lesson, conducted the lesson, and then reflected on the experience in an online journal.

The program was well-received by the middle school faculty, the seventh graders, and the pharmacy students, and pharmacy students frequently commented in course evaluations that participation in Project ALERT was the most beneficial portion of their elective course.

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