Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Education has announced applications are open for all Tennessee public schools to apply for the new cohort of trauma-informed schools.
In Tennessee, there are currently 73 schools that have earned this designation, which recognizes schools for their emphasis on implementing trauma-informed strategies to provide critical supports for students.
“Every student has a story, and by approaching students through a trauma-informed lens, schools are better equipped to provide the academic and nonacademic supports needed to help each and every student reach their unique potential,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn.
“Through participation in the trauma-informed schools cohort, schools across Tennessee will have the opportunity to receive trainings and resources around this critical work so schools can provide essential supports to help students be successful,” Schwinn stated.
Schools implementing trauma-informed approaches have seen improvements in school climate, attendance, and teacher satisfaction while seeing a reduction in suspensions and expulsions, stress for staff and students, and more.
“At Jefferson Elementary School, we have seen the difference focusing on trauma-informed strategies has made for our students by helping them work through negative experiences,” said Lisa Allen, School Counselor at Jefferson Elementary School, Jefferson County Schools. “This work is essential to providing a positive school culture for our teachers and our students to help them be successful.”
“Research shows that negative experiences can impact a person’s brain biologically, making relationships, behavior and learning more difficult. But because our brains are incredible creations, it’s never hopeless,” said Job Iles, Trauma Informed Specialist, Knox County Schools. “Trauma informed practices in schools provide a tremendous opportunity to mitigate the impact of those experiences, and thereby increase a student’s ability to engage in their education.”
Interested schools will be selected through a competitive application process. Applicants must be willing to commit to a two-year development cycle with the department, including high-quality training, resources, and ongoing support as they implement trauma-informed strategies.
“The positive impact of trauma-informed practices can be felt across Decatur County Schools, and we appreciate the department’s focus on this critical work,” said Amy Clenney, Family Resource Director, Decatur County Schools. “By helping students navigate adverse experiences, we are able to help them succeed and improve the overall school climate.”