The Health Foundation has provided over $1.7 million to the Worcester Public Schools (WPS) for the Worcester’s Healthy Environments and Resilience in Schools Initiative (HEARS) to implement an evidence-based Flexible Framework to integrate trauma-sensitive routines and individual supports into the school day at four elementary schools and one middle school in Worcester. HEARS brings together advances in brain science, child development, and best practices to address childhood adversity in our complex society to create school environments that support children’s health, social and emotional development, and academic success. The project includes a parent engagement component.
Worcester HEARS has achieved the following impact:
- 53 teachers and staff took part in trainings on trauma sensitive schools through Lesley University to become school leaders.
- Approximately 50 parents have graduated from the Worcester Institute for Parent Leadership and Education (WIPLE) course offered in both Spanish and English. WIPLE seeks to bring best practices in family engagement and education.
- HEARS received $75,000 from the Fred Harris Daniels Foundation to provide training in mindfulness education using the MindUp program. All HEARS teachers have been trained in the evidence-based MindUP curriculum. When surveyed, 93% of teachers reported using MindUP one or more times a week.
- Three clinicians provide half day clinical coverage daily at each of the 4 elementary schools and intensive care coordination at the middle school. Staff at these schools has received training on the effects of trauma on learning.
- A school-based health center at Worcester East Middle School operated by Family Health Center Worcester was renovated and opened in April 2018. The center provides access to health care and behavioral health services to more than 800 students.
- HEARS has also created a system of care with community-based mental health agencies and providers who provide group counseling to students after school.
◊ School-based health center opens at Worcester East Middle School
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, April 5, 2018, Worcester HEARS