AZACEs Consortium supports educators, families, and children with new partnership opportunity
By Arizona ACES Consortium
The Arizona Adverse Childhood Experiences (AZACEs) Consortium, through a partnership with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Candelen Arizona, has launched a new professional development program for school staff, administrators and educators for 2022 and 2023.
The Resilience Empowerment Project supports schools in better addressing the unique needs of children in Maricopa County who have or are currently experiencing an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) by better equipping and supporting their school community.
According to a recent survey administered by the Maricopa County Superintendent of Public Instruction, educator stress is at an all-time high thanks in part to the many changes and challenges brought on by COVID.
This is on top of the reality that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already identified childhood trauma to be a public health crisis and one in which Arizona ranks worst in the nation.
Despite everything school communities have faced over the past two years, experts predict Arizona’s education system has yet to see the full impact of community, family and student stressors.
Arizona’s children and families are in the midst of a trauma crisis that educators and schools need additional training, knowledge, and support in order to effectively address.
“We have designed this program specifically with Arizona educators in mind because we respect how hard they work and how important it is for them to feel equipped and supported on an ongoing basis,” said Program Director Iya Affo. “That’s why the objective of this new partnership is to collaboratively build knowledge, strategies, and tools for thriving educators, families and students.”
Video: AZ Adverse Childhood Experiences Consortium – Maricopa County Training for Trauma Sensitive Schools
Through this collaboration, school leaders, educators, and staff will develop practical tools and strategies to support students and families while also gaining awareness on the impact of trauma and stress through ACEs while also building community with their colleagues and trainers.
In so doing, this program prioritizes supporting and empowering teachers and staff by focusing on ways to increase their mental well-being, feelings of confidence and participation in a collaborative network of support.
Additionally, participants will receive stipends for $30 per training hour, earning as they learn thanks to generous funding from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.
Once the program has been completed, districts and schools are asked to designate an ambassador who will remain in contact with AZACEs Consortium to continue cultivating their school’s expertise in trauma-informed teaching practices, complete with a stipend of $2,000 per year.
Schools who register have the option to hold training sessions in-person, on campus or virtually online. The curriculum for this program has been designed by Arizona-based social workers, counselors, therapists and health professionals who understand the demographics, cultures and communities schools in Maricopa County serve.
While the Resilience Empowerment Project is enrolling now through the end of 2023, with enough early enrollment, AZACE Consortium hopes to expand the program for many years to come in order to make a systemic impact in Maricopa County schools.