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The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts

Worcester HEARS

Worcester HEARS$958,567
 
Worcester HEARS - Implementation, Year 2 (2017)$392,517
Worcester HEARS - Implementation, Year 1 (2016)$401,050
WorcesterHEARS - Planning (2015)$165,000
 
Year:2017Amount: $392,517
Title:Worcester HEARS - Implementation, Year 2
Recipient:Worcester Public Schools
Worcester HEARS is helping educators create school environments that support children's health, social and emotional development, and academic success. It brings together advances in brain science, child development, and best practices in addressing childhood adversity in our complex society. Worcester HEARS has launched in five schools in Worcester: Rice Square Elementary, Grafton Street Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, City View Elementary and Worcester East Middle School. The lead partners of the project are the Worcester Public Schools (WPS) and the Worcester Education Collaborative.

As part of Worcester HEARS, the unused school-based health center at Worcester East Middle School is being renovated, with an opening targeted for Spring 2017. A Support Team comprised of a licensed clinician and social worker began the 2016-2017 school year serving children in the five schools, rotating to a different school each day. Community Healthlink is providing mobile crisis intervention services, and WPS is also in the process of partnering with other local behavioral health providers to expand services to students and their families.

In 2016, Worcester HEARS received a $75,000 grant over three years from The Fred Harris Daniels Foundation to implement the MindUP program, which provides children, educators and parents with vital social and emotional literacy skills, helping them increase focus, improve academic performance, reduce stress and gain emotional resilience and optimism in four elementary schools.

Project Director: Dr. Marco C. Rodrigues
Fiscal Agent: Worcester Public Schools
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Year:2016Amount: $401,050
Title:Worcester HEARS - Implementation, Year 1
Recipient:Worcester Public Schools
The Worcester Public Schools (WPS) is planning to implement a research-based set of interventions related to trauma-sensitive education and resiliency. WPS will work with community partners and parents to create more effective, supportive and safe school environments and improve student performance.

All of the staff at five schools -- Rice Square elementary, Grafton Street elementary, Roosevelt elementary, City View elementary and Worcester East Middle School -- will participate in Worcester HEARS (Worcester's Healthy Environments and Resilience in Schools Initiative). In addition, school leaders (principals, adjustment counselors) and teachers who are interested will be able to participate in a series of courses in trauma-sensitive education offered through Lesley University. The Worcester Education Collaborative (WEC) will lead the efforts to involve parents and to partner with various community organizations including Clark University, Community Heathlink, You Inc., and Family Health Center in effective ways to support children who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

Outcomes that will be monitored include attendance, academic performance and teacher turnover. In addition, a school climate assessment will be completed at baseline and again as the project is implemented.

Project Director: Dr. Marco C. Rodrigues
Fiscal Agent: Worcester Public Schools
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Year:2015Amount: $165,000
Title:WorcesterHEARS - Planning
Recipient:Worcester Public Schools
The Worcester Public Schools (WPS) in collaboration with the Worcester Education Collaborative is planning to implement the WorcesterHEARS (Worcester's Healthy Environments and Resilience in Schools Initiative) to address the high rate of suspensions in Worcester schools. WorcesterHEARS will identify five schools, four elementary schools which feed into one middle school to pilot the Flexible Framework, an evidence-based model to help school districts develop a plan for integrating trauma-sensitive routines and individual supports into the school day. They will train the staff at these schools and monitor outcomes compared to a similar cohort of schools that is not implementing the model.

In the 2013-2014 school year, 9.8 percent of WPS students were suspended, including 5.7 percent of elementary school students and 17.5 percent of students in middle school. In the 2011-2012 school year, WPS had a suspension rate of 12 percent which is more than twice the state average. This translated into more than 35,000 hours of lost instruction time. In the primary grades this may mean missing instruction in the foundational subjects and not mastering critical learning skills. While in the upper grades this lost time increases the likelihood of dropping out.

WPS plans to include parents, the community health centers, the Worcester Police Dept., the Juvenile and Family Courts and the Massachusetts Dept. of Youth Services along with various other social service providers that serve the particular cluster of schools selected for the pilot.

Project Director: Dr. Marco C. Rodrigues
Fiscal Agent: Worcester Public Schools
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