Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2020
GCS Alternative Programs Earn Nation’s First Trauma-Skilled Schools Certification
Announcement Coincides with National Dropout Prevention Month
The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) is pleased to award the nation’s first certification in Trauma-Skilled Schools (TSS) Model to the Alternative Program of Greenville County Schools. The certification is the result of a two-year process led by Dr. Kathie Greer, Director of Alternative Programs and who is herself a Trauma-Skilled Specialist and certified Trauma-Skilled Schools Model trainer.
Five GCS Alternative Programs - Bonds Middle School Alternative, Donaldson Middle School Alternative, GCS Group Homes, Sullivan Center High School Alternative, and West Greenville Alternative – have earned TSS certification.
“Certification was one goal for our alternative program and we accomplished it. However, the benefits of trauma-skilled training for staff and students are ongoing,” Greer notes. “We will continue to apply our training going forward because we have seen the tremendous value for our students.”
Tommy Stephens, project director for the National Dropout Prevention Center, visited Greenville to present the certificates. He said, “Students will benefit the most from what the specialists have learned. About 70 percent of students have experienced trauma of some kind, and since COVID, it is more likely 100 percent of students.”
Trauma and chronic stress can negatively impact students’ academic performance and behavior, leading to students’ disengagement from school and their potentially dropping out of school before graduation. NDPC’s Trauma-Skilled Schools Model is a Tier 1 intervention designed to address the needs of all students in developing the resilience skills needed to excel in school and in life. Students in alternative programs particularly benefit due to the high at-risk population of alternative schools.
Superintendent Dr. Burke Royster said, “The Trauma-Skilled Schools Model is a Tier 1 approach that creates a culture that effectively supports and responds to trauma-impacted students and fosters the development of skills which enable them to fully engage in the learning process. It is especially important to students in our alternative programs who are most in need of additional supports to successfully transition from these structured learning environments back in to traditional settings.”
“The fact that awarding the nation’s first certification occurs during National Dropout Prevention Month is particularly meaningful,” said Ray McNulty, President of the National Dropout Prevention Center and its parent organization Successful Practices Network. “With the challenges presented by the pandemic and subsequent school disruptions, students are vulnerable to disengaging from school now more than ever. I applaud the Greenville County Schools Alternative Program for their proactive commitment to meeting students’ changing needs through the application of skills specifically related to trauma-impacted students.”