Member News

Mental Health/Trauma-Informed Professional Development Modules Available to Southeastern Indiana Teachers

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Genesis: Pathways to Success, an initiative of Ripley County Community Foundation, developed and launched a virtual training program early in the 2020-2021 school year to provide mental health and trauma-informed resources for school personnel designed to support the mental health needs of educators and students during the pandemic and throughout the school year. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the abrupt end to in-person school last spring, the return to the 2020-2021 school year has created a challenging time for Southeastern Indiana teachers, students, and their families. The goal of the training is to deliver educational content that provides teachers, students, and parents with the skills required to be resilient, to overcome stress and anxiety, to deal with trauma, and to be prepared mentally and physically to effectively learn and thrive.

Cheryll Obendorf, Executive Director of Genesis: Pathways to Success, stated, “Working alongside East Indiana Area Health Education Center and Dr. Beth Trammell, we have designed a program that can be delivered in a flexible way to school personnel throughout the school year. The response to the program has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are anticipating the development of additional resources and training opportunities in the very near future.”

The training currently consists of three professional development modules that take approximately twenty to thirty minutes to complete. The first module, Getting Everyone Ready for the Upcoming Year (Putting on your own mask first), begins the conversation about preparing for the school year, not only for educators but for parents and students too. The second module, Trauma-Informed Practices for Teachers. analyzes the concept of trauma-informed classrooms and schools and gives educators tools for developing and sustaining strong relationships with students in these challenging times. Updates From Local Healthcare Providers is the third module that provides community resources to stay up-to-date on physical and emotional health issues.

“The benefits of this program for both students and teachers is extraordinary. As teachers feel more empowered with strategies for the classroom, students benefit directly from those new strategies, but also indirectly as the teachers psychologically feel better and more prepared overall,” described Dr. Beth Trammell.

“The Indiana AHEC program focuses on teamwork and community connections to improve health” said Jeff Hartz, East Indiana AHEC Center Director. “These modules represent an opportunity for us to connect local teachers with the expertise of behavioral health and medical professionals so that we can better work as a community to respond to these challenging times.”

Funding, in part, to support this project has been received from United Way of Franklin County, the Ripley County Community Foundation, and the Rising Sun Regional Foundation. Additional funding is being sought to assist with the development of additional training modules related to Social Emotional Learning, Trauma, and Stress & Anxiety.

As of September 2020, the modules have been accessed by 80 educators and have been completed by 59 educators with others making steady progress towards completion. The training can be accessed through the Genesis: Pathways to Success website’s Education page at https://genesisp2s.org/programs.

Questions about the modules can be directed to Jeff Hartz, Executive Director, East Indiana Area Health Education Center, info@eiahec.org or Cheryll Obendorf, Director, Genesis: Pathways to Success.

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