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National Safe Supportive Schools
Accelerate and spread innovation and improvement in the advancement of culturally responsive, trauma-informed school mental health systems.
The application widow is closed.
“Students must feel safe and supported in school
so that they can thrive in academics and life.”
- Dr. Sharon Hoover, NCS3 Director
Safe Supportive Schools Defined
Safe Supportive Schools promote well-being and equity for all school staff and students by implementing comprehensive school mental health systems with policies and practices that are trauma-informed and culturally responsive.
Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems (CSMHS)
CSMHSs provide a full array of supports and services that promote positive school climate, social emotional learning, mental health and well-being, while reducing the prevalence and severity of mental illness. CSMHSs are built on a strong foundation of district and school professionals, including administrators and educators and specialized instructional support personnel in strategic partnership with students, families, and community health and mental health partners. CSMHSs assess and address the social and environmental factors that influence education and mental health.
Culturally Responsive and Equitable Schools
In a culturally responsive school, students’, families’, and educators’ cultural references are included in all aspects of schooling, including supports and services that promote well-being and mental health. Policies and practices promote equity and oppose racism and other forms of oppression. Equitable schools provide the climate and resources that enable all students and educators to perform at their highest level. Culturally responsive and equitable schools embrace cultural differences and assets, use cultural knowledge to promote wellness and academic success, mediate power imbalances based on cultural identities, and work to dismantle systems of injustice.
In a trauma-informed school, the school community cultivates a healing-centered environment that recognizes and responds to the individual and collective causes and impact of adversity, stress, and trauma. Adults are prepared to recognize and respond to those who have been impacted by traumatic stress. Students are provided with clear expectations and strategies to guide them through stressful situations. Trauma-informed schools leverage individual and community strengths to foster healing.