KCKPS and KVC Hospitals Partner to Provide District Staff with Trauma Sensitive Training

Wyandotte Health Foundation Grant Provides Funding for the Project

October 23, 2018


Contact: Melissa Fears, Director of Marketing and Communication, (913) 279-2225

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools and KVC Hospitals are working together to provide training to the school district staff on how to support our students impacted by trauma. The training is made possible through a generous $175,000 grant awarded to KCKPS by the Wyandotte Health Foundation.

The Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Board of Education accepted the grant during its October 23 board meeting in the Central Office and Training Center. 

 “We want to thank the Wyandotte Health Foundation for awarding the grant to the school district. This funding will make it possible for KCKPS to create a trauma sensitive school district with trauma informed schools,” said Lisa Garcia Stewart, director of the Student Services Department for KCKPS.

“I also want to acknowledge and thank our partner in this effort, KVC Hospitals. Their staff has expertise in trauma-informed care implementation, and our work with them on the impact of trauma on students dates back several years,” said Garcia-Stewart.

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools has about 22,000 students. Unfortunately, about 70% of students in the classrooms have experienced some type of traumatic event.

The traumatic experiences that may impact children are also known as Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs. These negative childhood experiences may include the following:

  • physical and emotional abuse,
  • families that experience alcohol, drug abuse or depression,
  • single-parent and poverty-stricken households.

According to the Kansas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, as of May 2017 nearly 66% of Wyandotte County residents have a least one ACE and more than 25% have experienced three or more ACEs. 

Other information suggests more than 50% of Wyandotte County zip codes are high risk for four or more ACEs. This data is according to the 2016 report Building Resilience Around Trauma and ACEs: Identifying High Risk Communities in Missouri and Kansas.

Experiencing childhood trauma can leave lasting negative impacts to attention, memory, social/emotional skills and cognition. When a student’s ability to focus, organize and process is interfered with, it may lead to behavioral problems in the classroom, poor attendance at school, increased drop-out rates and health issues.

That’s why creating a trauma sensitive school district and trauma-informed schools are vital for KCKPS.  It will help our school district to:

  • Recognize and respond to students who have been impacted by trauma
  • Provide training to staff to help students impacted by trauma
  • Strengthen partnerships with KVC and PACEs to develop training modules that will lead to expanded training opportunities for employees

“Developing trauma sensitive schools has the opportunity to significantly improve overall health in the Kansas City, Kansas community” said James Roberson, vice president of Programs and Innovation for KVC Hospitals. “Building resilience buffers the negative impact of trauma and adversity. We know children build resilience every second of every day through nurturing and supportive interactions with adults. Schools play a major role in providing these types of interactions and are key to the long-term prosperity of our communities.”

The training for school district staff will happen over a three-year period and will be implemented according to school clusters. The first trainings are set to begin in 2019. The second and third years of training will occur in the years 2020 and 2021, respectively. This project has the opportunity to become a 3 year special initiative with the Wyandotte Health Foundation.  Additionally, the school district and KVC are pursuing additional funding opportunities for this project.

For more information about this initiative and the grant, please contact Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools’ Director of Student Services Lisa Garcia-Stewart at 913-279-2248. 

About Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools: The Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools (KCKPS) is a nationally recognized urban school district that serves nearly 23,000 students. With a Head Start program, three preschools, 30 elementary schools, eight middle schools, and five high schools, the district serves a wonderfully diverse mixture of students. A remarkable 75 different languages are spoken in the homes of our students. To serve those students, the district employs more than 3,800 staff, including more than 1,600 teachers. The vision of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools is to be one of the “Top 10 School Districts in the Nation.” Our goal is that "Each student will exit high school prepared for college and careers in a global society, and at every level, performance is on track and on time for success." To help our students achieve this goal, the district is implementing a district-wide initiative called Diploma+. Learn more at kckps.org

About KVC Hospitals: KVC Hospitals is a nonprofit network of youth psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment facilities serving thousands of children and adolescents each year who are experiencing a mental health crisis. In 2009, KVC was one of the first organizations in the country to initiate a system-wide trauma-informed care initiative. KVC implemented Trauma Systems Therapy in various human services settings including inpatient, residential, day treatment/school settings, outpatient mental health treatment and child welfare services. KVC Hospitals uses advanced neuroscience regarding healthy brain development and the impact of trauma to develop innovative, hands-on tools that guide treatment. KVC Hospitals is accredited by The Joint Commission, endorsed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and part of KVC Health Systems. Learn more at kvchospitals.org.

About the Wyandotte Health Foundation: The Wyandotte Health Foundation’s mission is to promote and improve the health of Wyandotte County residents, particularly the indigent, through grants and collaborative efforts. The Wyandotte Health Foundation supports programs aimed at reducing the incidence of ACEs and trauma, and interventions to better assist families experiencing trauma to reduce the health impacts associated with ACEs/trauma. Additionally, The Wyandotte Health Foundation strengthens Kansas City’s safety-net clinics to provide high quality care to the community. WHF does this by providing core operating support to clinics that deliver affordable and accessible primary health care directly to the indigent, uninsured and underinsured of Wyandotte County. Learn more at wyhealthfdn.org.