An innovative training program aimed at creating a more comfortable atmosphere for learning will be the topic for staff at the Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium and Keweenaw as they complete their annual in-service today and tomorrow. The training is a signature piece of a $59,000 grant awarded by Portage Health Foundation to the school district as it enters the second year of its Creating a Trauma Informed School grant.
“Last school year a new committee came together and implemented amazing programs,” Superintendent Chris Davidson said. “This year we’re excited to see them expand district wide as we look to change the paradigm from reacting to a student’s issues, to understanding the cause of the issues. I’m proud of my staff for their outside-the-box thinking to improve the atmosphere for our students.”
The training is called Capturing Kids’ Hearts, CLICK HERE to learn more. All teachers and support staff have been invited to participate in the training. Last year several teachers experienced the two-day program in person. They came back thinking it was the perfect program for CLK to implement district wide.
“Capturing Kids’ Hearts talks about reaching each and every student at their level,” said Joel Asiala, principal at Horizons Alternative High School in Mohawk. “Rather than coming in and seeing a group of 20 or 30 students, you teach to individuals, and learn to reach each student in their own way. This will help us be more successful in reaching all of our students on that individual level, and help them grow more than academically, but also on the social and emotional side.”
In 2018-19, Horizons Staff was able to implement some of the lessons he learned and saw a strong difference at Horizons. In terms of truancy, the school went from 31.8 percent of students identified as truant at some point in 2017-18, to just 8.7 percent last year. They also saw an incredible decrease in writeups, going from 55 in 2017-18 to 30 in 2018-19. Similar effects were had at Washington Middle School and Calumet High School.
The $59,000 grant also allows the district to advance programs it started in 2018-19, including a partnership with local police departments to improve communication between the counselors at the district and local officers who respond to calls where a CLK student was present, more on-campus time for the district’s service dog, Bleau, and initial training for new staff members on what it means to be a trauma-informed school.
“We’re doing everything we can to create a safe, comfortable environment that allows students to grow and learn,” Davidson said.
While the implementation of a trauma-informed school is the goal for Calumet schools, Portage Health Foundation has a bigger vision in mind with this program.
“The results we saw in year one at Calumet were better than we could have imagined,” said Kevin Store, executive director at Portage Health Foundation. “If we continue to see these kinds of results, we’ll explore ways to scale it to every school district in our four-county community.”
You can learn more about the Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium and Keweenaw at clkschools.org and about Portage Health Foundation at phfgive.org.
August 27, 2019