The D.A.R.E. program is a nine-week curriculum (elementary) or a 10-week curriculum (junior high) that teaches youth good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives (this is the D.A.R.E. mission statement). Some of the lessons that are taught that provide youth with these skills include, but are not limited to:
- Tobacco and You - Identify harmful effects of tobacco on the body
- Alcohol and You - Identify harmful effects of alcohol on the body
- Real Truth - Recognize the effects of alcohol advertisement; learn about inhalants
- Friendship Foundations - Describe qualities of positive friendships, discuss peer pressure, identify personal support networks
These are just a few of the lessons covered in the elementary curriculum. The junior high curriculum, called Keepin’ It Real, deals with how to get out of risky situations and how to avoid situations. It also deals with some of the same issues as the elementary curriculum, such as how to develop support networks, types of peer pressures, and so on.
The D.A.R.E. program is primarily taught during the second semester. At the beginning of the course, the students receive their materials and their t-shirts. At the end of the course, fifth-grade students participate in a commencement ceremony held in the McCook Senior High Gym.