More Tennessee Schools To Be Designated As ‘Trauma-Informed’

Photo Credit: Dave Parker / CC

Published April 30, 2021

The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

On Thursday, April 29, the Tennessee Department of Education announced that they would be adding more schools to the state’s trauma-informed schools cohort. The second cohort includes 176 schools, over double the original number for the first cohort in 2019.

A trauma-informed school in Tennessee means the school has received designation for their emphasis on trauma-informed strategies to support students.

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

According to the Department of Education, “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.”

TDOE Commissioner, Penny Schwinn, said trauma-informed schools use these strategies to meet the academic and non-academic needs of their students, in order to positively impact the environment of the school.

“Like each student, each school community is special and unique, and schools that implement trauma-informed strategies are helping to ensure students receive the academic and nonacademic supports they need,” Schwinn said. “The department is thrilled to be able to more than double the number of trauma-informed schools in the state to help provide school officials, teachers and staff with training and resources to help all students reach their full potential.”

When selected, each of the 176 schools had to commit to a two-year development cycle. This cycle consists of working with the Department of Education to get resources, support, and high-quality training meant to help the schools implement new trauma-informed strategies.

Julie Malone, Director of Alternative Learning for Kingsport City Schools, said, “Our school has become a true safe-haven for students in our district. With a trauma-informed mindset, teachers can take advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate true kindness and love to students and families. The culture of a school that embeds trauma-informed education in all aspects of its daily activities can be exhilarating, and lives will be changed and genuine partnerships will be formed between students and school faculty/staff. Our goal is to help students feel safe, loved, and know they can trust us.”

The principal for North Coffee Elementary, Adam Clark, said implementing these strategies helps with creating a positive school culture.

“The trauma-informed school approach has made a huge impact on students and their overall success. It has helped build trust and strengthened relationships between our educators and students by improving our overall school culture,” Clark said.

Shelby County, Williamson County, and Rutherford County were just a few of the school districts to have several of their schools selected for the cohort.

Rutherford County’s virtual school was chosen as well, prompting, them to share the excitement through Twitter.

“In our effort to be one of the best virtual schools not only in TN, but also in the nation, we are thrilled to be selected as one of the @TNedu’s cohort of trauma-informed schools! We want to best serve our student body and know that this training will further our mission!”

The deadline for schools to apply was March 31. The TDOE has a complete list of every school and county that is part of the second cohort.

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