Straight Talk


    Straight Talk Task Force Presentations

    The Straight Talk Task Force is made up of representatives from the Jana Marie Foundation, Centre Helps, Communities That Care Partnership, and State College Area School District administration, faculty, and staff.

    The mission of the Straight Talk Task Force: We strive to raise our children to become strong, confident, happy adults. The Straight Talk Series offers educational programs that help parents, caregivers and community members to recognize, understand, and deal with potential problems that can surface during developmental years. Be proactive. Learn the warning signs. Learn how to help our children before the problem negatively impacts them, their school work and their relationships. 

    Straight Talk Presentations

    November 1, 2023 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at Mount Nittany Middle School's Library

    "SCASD School Safety and Security Presentation for Parents: Providing Information Regarding the Safety and Security Process and Procedures that are in Place to Keep Students Safe" by Jeanne Knouse

    The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) recommends that school districts focus on three assessment criteria to improve school safety and security. These three areas are Physical Safety, Policy & Training, and Behavioral Health. As all the schools in Pennsylvania have, the State College Area School District (SCASD) has made this recommendation a priority. Over the past 3-4 years, from the development of a carefully articulated and implemented Pandemic Safety Plan, to an explicit Emergency Operations Plan, SCASD has made great strides in the area of school safety and security for our students and employees. 

    During this Straight Talk session we will share the district’s safety practices and provide a clear understanding for parents/families of their role in school safety, before, during, and after an emergency event.

    Tentative Schedule of Topics

    Past Topics from the 2022-2023 school year:

    April 18, 2023 at 6:00pm in-person at State High's small auditorium 

    Dating and Sexual Violence: What Parents and Teens Need to Know” by a panel of professionals
    The focus will be on educating the SCASD community about relationships and sexual violence prevention and response. Community experts Dee Hall from Centre Safe, Deirdri Houck and Dr. Jill Wood will discuss various aspects of sexual violence prevention (including consent education, the cultural context in which violence occurs and is enabled), information about dating relationships (including “red flag” dating behaviors among teens), and resources for students and family members (including how to talk to your kids about these topics, how to use district and community resources, and the Title IX process). Finally, high school students working on “The Purple Project” to educate the State High community will present their ongoing efforts and achievements. Due to the delicate nature of the information, the presentation may not be suitable for some middle school and elementary students. There will be childcare available upon signing up.

    February 21, 2023 at 7:00pm in-person at Panorama Village Building

    “Restorative Practices: What is it? How is it used? And why does it work?” by Jeanne Knouse


    Jeanne Knouse, Director of Student Services for State College Area School District (SCASD) with over 30 years of experience in education, 10 years utilizing Restorative Practices and 6 as a Restorative Practices Trainer.  She is passionate about relationships and feels strongly that restorative practices is a way of doing things that can support healthy relationships and create a sense of belonging for students, parents and district employees. 


    This is an in-person presentation where participants will learn practical strategies to build strong, healthy relationships with students/children, families, and colleagues. There are interactive experiences that bring you to an understanding of the fundamental unifying premise of restorative practices—that people are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their lives when those in positions of authority do things with them rather than to them or for them. 



    • Participants will gain an explicit understanding of what Restorative Practices is and isn’t

    • Participants will have tools to utilize restorative practices to build relationships both personally and professionally

    • Participants will understand the theory behind restorative practices and why it works.

    December 13, 2022 at 7:00pm via this Zoom Link

    “Finding Light and Hope in Our Community: Resources to Help During Difficult Times” by Mount Nittany Health, Center of Community Resources and 988 Crisis and Suicide Lifeline.

    While we often think of the winter season as a time of joy and family, we recognize that difficult emotions can arise. There is help and hope available, thanks to the many community resources available in our community.  Join Mount Nittany Health, Center for Community Resources, and 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline as they share services and resources. Watch the recorded video.

    November 15, 2022 at 7:00pm via this Zoom Link

    “Helping Hands During Winter Hardships” with SCASD Family Intervention Team, State College Food Bank and Centre Helps

    As the colder winter months approach, we know this season can be a time of extra hardship and struggle for individuals and families in Centre County. With colder weather comes increased utility and heating costs, increased mental health challenges, and food insecurity. The challenges that come with navigating the holiday season and the long, cold winter months are not something to take lightly. But with connections to resources, we can navigate these difficult months a bit more easily. Join the State College Food Bank, SCASD Family Intervention Team, and Centre Helps as we talk about how we can help you during these upcoming brittle months. 

    FIT Powerpoint  

    October 18, 2022 at 7:00pm via this Zoom Link 

    "When Grief Comes to School" with Jeanne Knouse, the TIDES Program, and Jana Marie Foundation

    Experiencing grief and loss can cause an array of emotional and physical challenges that impact the school environment. When students and families have support, the heaviness of these challenges can be lessened. Join us to learn how our schools respond to grief and loss. It is important to recognize significant losses and, together as a community, we offer support, information and healing to all. Resources for grief and loss.

    September 20, 2022 at 7:00pm via this Zoom Link 

    Strengthening Our Children’s Mental Health - A Mindful Solutions Primer for Parents and Professionals” by Dr. Peter Montminy, Clinical Child Psychologist

    With chronic and traumatic stressors in their lives, our children’s nervous systems are repeatedly firing up the “fight or flight” stress defenses. Their brains are being conditioned to be more emotionally reactive, and less thoughtfully responsive. They’re struggling more to focus their minds, calm their emotions, and control their impulses. In short, they’re lacking the key skill to support their mental health: self-regulation. Children develop the ability to regulate their emotions and behaviors through attuned relationships with self-regulating adults. We call this process co-regulation. It is the key to improving self-regulation in kids, and the key to strengthening our children’s mental health. The Mindful Solutions Approach ™ is designed to develop these very skills in both parents and children, as well as teachers and students. In this program, you’ll learn ways to begin strengthening self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-regulation skills in yourself and your children. You’ll learn ways to transform the vicious cycle of toxic stress into the virtuous cycle of mindful caregiving. 

Last Modified on December 12, 2023