For Immediate Release - May 02, 2016

Boston Public Schools Receive $1.6M Federal Grant to Address Early Symptoms of Trauma in Students

Boston – Monday, April 25, 2016 – Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang, in partnership with Attorney General Maura Healey, and the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance (MOVA) launched BPS CARES, a multi-tiered approach that focuses on creating awareness of respect, responsibility, and resilience among students. BPS received a $1.6 million federal grant to support initiatives that address early symptoms of trauma in students, families, and faculty.

MOVA, whose Board is Chaired by AG Healey, awarded Antiterrorism Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP) funding to the Boston Public Schools as part of its efforts to address the short and long term traumatic impacts of the Boston Marathon bombings.  

Superintendent Chang was joined by Attorney General Maura Healey and the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance (MOVA) at the Bruce C. Bolling Building in Roxbury to celebrate the start of concrete actions steps that will create a new framework in which trauma will be tackled head-on.

“The City of Boston must do all it can, as a community, to limit the effects of trauma,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “BPS CARES requires everyone’s involvement, and I applaud Attorney General Maura Healey, MOVA, and BPS leadership for working to provide us with the foundation to build emotionally safe environments for our students, families and faculty. This is a tremendous step for Boston.”

BPS’ Office of Social-Emotional Learning and Wellness will work with students, staff, parents, counselors, and community partners to ensure that appropriate and adequate interventions are available to those who are in need of individualized supports.

“I proudly support this partnership and new trauma intervention initiative between MOVA and the Boston Public Schools. This grant will continue the good work MOVA has done to support those impacted by the Boston Marathon bombings by giving schools the resources they need to provide critical services to students and their families,” said AG Healey.

BPS will utilize this grant to achieve a more efficient allocation of resources and strengthen our district’s capacity to understand the impact of trauma and how trauma-informed practices can support student learning and social-emotional growth.

“We are extremely excited to partner with the Boston Public Schools to increase access to trauma-informed support services within the BPS community”, said Liam Lowney, MOVA’s Executive Director. “All instances of violence have an impact on our social and emotional wellbeing – especially for children. It is critical to have access to these services to identify and treat the symptoms of trauma to ensure students are empowered to achieve their goals.”

Trauma specialists will be placed within ten participating schools, to support the coordination of targeted interventions, partnerships services, and outreach to families regarding the impact of trauma and how to address their children’s needs.

"BPS is committed to helping all students reach their full potential by meeting their learning needs," said Boston School Committee Chair Michael D. O'Neill. "BPS CARES will provide students with the targeted supports they need to become more focused learners and happier, healthier children."

The following factors were considered while participating schools were selected:
academic status, chronic absenteeism rates, the degree of trauma experienced by students, and family instability. The designated schools are as follows:

• David A. Ellis Elementary K1-5
• Martin Luther King Jr.  K-8
• Lilla G. Frederick Middle 6-8
• John W. McCormack Middle 6-8
• James P. Timilty Middle 6-8
• Maurice J. Tobin K1-8
• William Monroe Trotter K1-7
• John Winthrop Elementary K1-5
• Higginson/Lewis K-8
• Jeremiah E. Burke High 9-12

"When our entire community works together to ensure that students and families feel supported and protected, it pays dividends,” said Superintendent Chang. “Our students should not have to resolve these problems on their own, but rather, we must develop an environment of information-sharing, so families know where to turn to for intervention support."

Lastly, BPS families across the City of Boston will be able to participate in informative forums that will provide information on the consequences of trauma, while increasing families’ ability to manage trauma symptoms at home.

"Traumatic experiences impact learning, behavior, and relationships at all levels," said BPS Assistant Superintendent for Social Emotional Learning and Wellness, Amalio Nieves. "Creating a trauma-sensitive community that fosters safe and healthy environments is critical, not only for our students’ performance in the classroom, but also for their well-being in their everyday lives.”

Please note: Services are supported by cooperative agreement number 20014-RF-GX-K002, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S.Department of Justice.