Since 1989, the Commonwealth has conducted a survey of school students in the 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grades to learn about their behavior, attitudes and knowledge concerning alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and violence. The ‘Pennsylvania Youth Survey,’ or PAYS, is sponsored and conducted every two years by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Questions are asked in four domains—Community, School, Family, and Peer/Individual. This allows schools and communities to see what is happening in all aspects of their youths’ lives. It helps to identify factors that can prevent a child from being ready to learn when they arrive to school each day. Surveys are anonymous and confidential—no individual student information can be obtained from the data set.
In 2013, over 216,000 students across 342 School Districts and 81 “other” schools took part in the PAYS. County reports are available for 54 counties (every one that had a minimum of two participating districts).
The data gathered in PAYS serve two primary needs. First, the results provide school administrators, state agency directors, legislators and others with critical information concerning the changes in patterns of the use and abuse of these harmful substances and behaviors. Second, the survey assesses risk factors that are related to these behaviors and the protective factors that help guard against them. This information allows community leaders to direct prevention resources to areas where they are likely to have the greatest impact.
The link to the state and local data for 2015 is below. Waynesboro Area Middle School hosted a parent seminar to share the results on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
Waynesboro Area School District PAYS Information