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Kaiser Permanente Brings School Resiliency Program To Spokane, West Valley

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

School workers are frequently social workers as well. They not only provide academic guidance, but also social and emotional guidance.

Kaiser Permanente has developed a program to help schools and their employees work with children who are dealing with different levels of trauma. The company is bringing that program to the Spokane and West Valley school districts.

By now, many of you have heard about the acronym ACES, for adverse childhood events. Those are the traumas, big and small, that many of us experience, often early in life, and which can hang with us long into our later years. Some children deal well with them, others don’t and act out.

Kaiser Permanente’s RISE program, for Resilience in School Environments, provides teachers and other school employees with information about ACES and how to help children through them.

Dr. Cicely White is Kaiser’s operations chief for pediatrics in eastern Washington. She says RISE coordinators meet with teachers and administrators in individual schools to customize strategies.

“For example, one school might want to focus on discipline strategies," White said. "Another school might want to put more efforts into specific staff and teacher wellness. There may be another program that’s more focused on attendance policies or procedures that need to change.”

The Spokane and West Valley School Districts have agreed to incorporate RISE in all schools that want it. One of those is Bemiss, in northeast Spokane, whose principal is Rachel Sherwood. She says the program could be a real help at a difficult time for both students and teachers.

“You know, because of the budget situation, we are in a higher stress gear. Our class sizes are larger. We’ve had to say goodbye to some of our colleagues and that’s hard and grieving that process. The social, emotional needs of our students is getting more and more demanding," Sherwood said.

And, even though she has a strong and dedicated staff, Sherwood says they get tired. She’s happy the RISE program is built to help them too.

“Being able to support them so they can support students and to have some more strategies at the tip of our fingers that we can use all the time and embed in our practice," she said.

The RISE program is also in use in several western Washington school districts.