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Resilience in School Environments (RISE) Builds on Thriving Schools Initiative, Focusing on K-12 Student and Staff Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Social Emotional Wellness
Kaiser Permanente has selected the Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP) Transform Schools department, as the trauma care service provider for the Kaiser Permanente Resilience in School Environments (RISE) Project. LAEP is an education nonprofit that works in high-poverty and under-resourced communities to foster schools that support the personal and academic success of students.
To build on the work of Thriving Schools, the RISE Initiative will integrate trauma-informed practices into the school environment using methods guided by Senior Director Xiomara Mateo-Gaxiola, MD and Director Ana Maria Apodaca, along with their team of LAEP Transform Schools coaches. The University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for School Mental Health will evaluate the implementation and impact of RISE during a 2-year term.
“We see resilient and trauma-informed school systems as essential to not only student wellness, but also school employee wellness,” said Xiomara Mateo-Gaxiola, MD. “As school employees gain insight into trauma-informed practices, they are better able to form compassionate responses to a student’s symptoms of trauma. Attention to resiliency and trauma-informed practices is often overlooked as an important part of school employee training wellness, but we see it as essential.”
The RISE initiative started with the opening of the 2017-2018 school year in four Kaiser Permanente regions – Northern California, Southern California, Colorado and Georgia. The program is jointly funded by national, Southern California and Northern California grants from Kaiser Permanente, totaling almost $2.5 million in support.
The LAEP Transform Schools coaches are working with 20 schools across those four regions. Each coach is working with a school site leadership team made up of school teachers, counselors, administrators, and others. The LAEP coaches and on-site leadership teams will be revisiting school policies and practices to improve school climate, participating in ongoing professional development for all school staff, and supporting implementation of school employee wellness practices.
“The health of school teachers and staff are of the utmost importance to our communities, and we at Kaiser Permanente recognize that supporting their mental health and wellness benefits them, the students they work with, and our communities as a whole,” said Peggy Agron, national director, Healthy Schools, Kaiser Permanente. “This unique partnership with LAEP is an exciting and innovative way to foster support for our communities’ teachers, staff and students.”
“We are thrilled to be part of this project for many reasons,” said Ellen Pais, president and CEO, LAEP. “First, it allows us to extend our trauma-informed practices service in Los Angeles to school districts in other parts of Southern California, Northern California, Colorado and Georgia. But what’s equally exciting is the evaluation component, provided by the Center for School Mental Health. We expect the results will show that in areas where traumatic events greatly impact students’ ability to learn, trauma-informed and resiliency practices can largely improve these learning environments, as well as reduce stress for the administration, teachers and staff who work with these students.”
About the Los Angeles Education Partnership
LAEP’s mission is to work as a collaborative partner in high-poverty and under-served communities to foster great schools that support the personal and academic success of children and youth from birth through high school. Founded in 1984, LAEP was the first educational-transformation organization in Los Angeles and among those at the forefront of the movement nationwide.
Over the decades, LAEP’s cutting-edge efforts in smaller learning communities, pilot schools, interdisciplinary curriculum and inquiry-based teaching have evolved into recognized best practices. LAEP is the local leader in developing community schools and is an influential partner in the state and national movements. LAEP works with a group of partner schools that have committed to implementing our model and its six core elements: high-quality instruction, teacher leadership and collaboration, college and career preparedness, parents as partners, youth empowerment, educational equity. For more information, go to the LAEP website.