Through our Trauma-Informed School program, we embed highly trained therapists in several Montgomery County public schools with the goal of providing free individual and group therapy for students significantly impacted by trauma, whose performance/behavior in school has also been impacted. This program also provides training and professional development for all school staff (including instructional, administrative, non-instructional, front office, security, food services, and others) in effective trauma-informed school-wide and classroom practices.
What is the Trauma-Informed School Program?
The Trauma-Informed School program provides:
- Free, trauma-focused, in-school individual and group therapy for students at Montgomery Village Middle School, Gaithersburg Middle School, Forest Oak Middle School, and Neelsville Middle School
- Free training on trauma, the effects of trauma, and trauma-informed school best practices for all school staff ensures that staff understand that a trauma-informed school is a school that views all aspects of school life and everyone in school (students and staff), trauma-impacted or not, through a trauma-informed lens. This training also equips staff to intervene in a situation at school or in the classroom with trauma-informed practices.
Why Trauma-Informed Schools?
The Center for Disease Control and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network have concluded that many students are significantly impacted by trauma – whether it occurs at home, at school, or in another setting. The impacts of trauma can be seen in children and adolescents in many ways, from behavior to school performance. There is also a growing body of research directly correlating the increased impact of trauma on caregivers, particularly school staff, with a spike in burnout, vicarious trauma, and secondary trauma. This is often referred to as “the cost of caring.”
By embedding our highly trained therapists in schools, we work to remove some of the common barriers to accessing care, like transportation, scheduling conflicts, financial barriers, and socially and culturally constructed stigmas around mental health.
Our therapists also train all of the school staff members to cultivate a trauma-informed school environment and to help ensure that all students, not just those significantly trauma-impacted, have a supportive, consistent trauma-informed experience all throughout their school day. Consistency creates predictability, which is essential in building resilience and healing from trauma. A trauma-informed school is one where all policies and practices are viewed, examined, and administered through a trauma-informed lens so that all students and all staff directly benefit.
We provide free services for students and staff at Montgomery Village Middle School, Gaithersburg Middle School, Forest Oak Middle School, and Neelsville Middle School. Services include:
- Free trauma-informed individual therapy and group therapy for students
- Training for all staff members, from the principal to food service workers
- Consultation on difficult situations
How to Access Services
If you are the parent of a student at Montgomery Village Middle School, Gaithersburg Middle School, Forest Oak Middle School, or Neelsville Middle School, please reach out to your school counselor who can refer your child to the program.
Are you an educator interested in having the Trauma-Informed School program at your school? Contact Jennifer Reynolds at Jennifer.Reynolds@sheppardpratt.org or call (240) 479-9464.