HCS Expands Successful Trauma-Informed Program to Thirteen New Schools
Posted on 05/06/2021
HCS Expands Successful Trauma-Informed Program to Thirteen New Schools

Chattanooga, Tenn. (May 6, 2021) -- The Tennessee Department of Education has selected thirteen schools from Hamilton County Schools to be in its second cohort of trauma-informed schools.

Trauma-informed schools are schools where adults in the school community are prepared to recognize and respond to those who have been impacted by traumatic stress. Those adults include administrators, teachers, staff, and parents. Trauma-informed schools also 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.”

Research shows the benefits of implementing trauma-informed approaches include: improved academic achievement, improved attendance, improved school climate, improved retention of new teachers and reduced dropout rate. 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.

“In order to accelerate student achievement, we must ensure all of our students’ needs are met so they can thrive in the classroom,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “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.”

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. 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