Kansas City, February 8, 2017: An innovative initiative within Kansas City Public Schools to help students and families overcome trauma is getting some very positive attention from like-minded education professionals across the country.
Executive Director of Student Intervention Programs Luis Cordoba and Director of Mental Health Services Molly Ticknor have been invited to the first-annual Trauma-Informed Schools Conference in order to share the lessons they’ve learned while leading the KCPS Trauma Sensitive Mental Health Initiative. The conference will be held June 12-13 in St. Louis.
The KCPS mental health initiative was launched in 2016 and centers around teaching and equipping school staff to identify and support families that are dealing with trauma such as poverty, illness or crime, according to Ms. Ticknor. Being asked to present at the Trauma-Informed Schools Conference is an endorsement of the school system’s work.
“This is a national conference with many amazing, well-known speakers and key players within the trauma-sensitive schools movement,” Ticknor said. “Dr. Cordoba and I are excited and honored to be invited to lead a presentation.”
Trauma-sensitive schools seek to teach children and their parents and guardians how to overcome challenges by fostering mindfulness, emotional intelligence, self-regulation and creative problem solving. School staff use specially designed teaching and learning strategies and materials, promote positive behavior and create an optimistic culture in their buildings.
KCPS Superintendent Mark Bedell made the development of trauma-sensitive schools one of the top priorities for his administration.
“In KCPS, when it comes to kids, all means ALL. We will embrace every student that comes through our doors,” Dr. Bedell said. “Although many factors have continued to contribute to the inequities our students face, it is imperative that we work collectively to address these barriers to success. That means we have to help students who have social and emotional needs.”
The Trauma-Informed Schools Conference is sponsored by the Beyond Consequences Institute of Boulder, Colo. It was founded by trauma and healing expert Heather Forbes as a way to counteract the “zero tolerance” policies popularized in schools during the 1990s and early 2000s.