HCS Expands Trauma-Informed Program to 13 New Schools

Photo Credit: U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan / CC

Published May 10, 2021

Hamilton County, TN – The Tennessee Department of Education has selected thirteen schools from Hamilton County School District to be in its second cohort of trauma-informed schools. 
According to HCS, adults in the trauma-informed school community are prepared to recognize and respond to those who have been impacted by traumatic stress.  

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Those adults include administrators, teachers, staff, and parents.  

Trauma-informed schools also charged to provide students with clear expectations and communication strategies to manage their distress. 
“I commend our school leaders and teachers for applying for this opportunity and committing to the three-year process of creating safe and supportive learning environments for our students,” said Patricia Russell, director of social emotional learning and K-12 counseling for Hamilton County Schools.  

“Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory infers, when student’s basic needs are met, such as feeling safe, cared for, and respected, they are positioned to realize and reach their full potential,” Russell stated. 
According to HCS, Research shows many benefits of implementing trauma-informed approaches. 

Benefits cited include:  

• improved academic achievement 

• improved attendance 

• improved school climate 

• improved retention of new teachers and reduced dropout rate 

HCS claims these practices will also help students build capacity to address trauma and support their ability to self-regulate, “which are skills they need to be successful in life.” 
Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, said, “In order to accelerate student achievement, we must ensure all of our students’ needs are met so they can thrive in the classroom.”  

“When schools are trained to recognize trauma, they are better equipped to provide the academic and social and emotional supports necessary to help students reach their full potential,” Johnson stated. 
Four Hamilton County Schools were selected to be in the first cohort of trauma-informed schools during the 2018-2019 school year: Apison Elementary, East Lake Academy, Hardy Elementary, and Middle Valley Elementary.  

With the addition of the 13 just added, this brings the total number of schools in the trauma-informed program to 17 across the district since 2018. 
The thirteen schools in the 2021-2022 cohort are: 

• Battle Academy for Teaching & Learning 

• Big Ridge Elementary 

• Dalewood Middle School 

• East Brainerd Elementary 

• East Ridge Middle School 

• East Side Elementary School 

• Harrison Elementary 

• Hixson Middle School 

• Lookout Valley Elementary 

• Orchard Knob Elementary 

• Red Bank Middle School 

• Snow Hill Elementary 

• Spring Creek Elementary 

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