SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO : District OKs Program to Help Adolescents

The Capistrano Unified School District board has approved a program that aims to help seventh-grade students better navigate adolescence.

Trustees on Monday accepted a one-year pilot known as Quest, which will be added to the social science curriculum.

The program also covers communications, self-confidence, managing emotions, drug avoidance and goal-setting.

A district administrator said the program is unique because it seeks parental involvement in students’ homework assignment and school activities. The program also focuses on strengthening students’ relationships with parents.


Barbara F. Smith, assistant superintendent of instructional services, said that a handbook, which is part of the program, is available for parents to check out or buy at the district’s cost.

The book explains the physiological and psychological changes that adolescents go through.

Smith said that the Quest curriculum will be covered during eight-week segments of social science classes. Teachers have already been trained in the Quest curriculum.

“I would almost call it character education,” Smith said.

Rather than take the approach to drug use of “Just Say No,” the curriculum encourages students to avoid negative peer pressure, and to consider themselves in a positive light.

After the first year of the pilot program, the district plans to consider expanding the curriculum to the sixth and eighth grades.