The Trauma-Skilled™ Schools Collaborative Network is a partnership among the Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8, The National Dropout Prevention Center, and participating PA school districts. It is the only one of its kind, nationally. Prior to the pandemic, it was estimated that more than half of school students were living under the effects of chronic stress and trauma (The Trauma-Skilled™ Schools Model, 2018). Following the pandemic, it is likely that number has increased significantly. Our Network was created in response to the growing need for increased support for all students, including those who are adversely affected by chronic stress and or trauma.
The Appalachia IU8 and The National Dropout Prevention Center, work together to support the development and specialized training of a Catalyst Action Team of Trauma-Skilled Specialists representing each participating school district. Next, Catalyst Action Teams train all school staff in the elements of the Trauma-Skilled™ Schools Model. Developed in 2018, by The National Dropout Prevention Center, the model moves beyond trauma-informed care or trauma sensitivity into Trauma-Skilled™ Practice. It seeks to build an intentional school culture that reflects the unique values of each district and best supports students while creating a safer school experience. The model offers a proactive approach by providing opportunities for emotional regulation through the use of Purposeful Practices as well as supports student resilience by fostering Connection, Belonging, Achievement, Autonomy, and Fulfillment. By offering a tier one level of practice, every student is supported, every day.
In 2022, in an effort to reach more students, our Network invited additional regional Intermediate Units and their home school districts to participate. Participating districts have access to ongoing support, training, and opportunities to collaborate with other Network districts to best support model fidelity and sustainability. Currently, our Network supports 23 Pennsylvania school districts.