Vitalyst Health Foundation releases first Spark Report of 2021 - AZEdNews
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Vitalyst Health Foundation releases first Spark Report of 2021


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Vitalyst Health Foundation is on a mission to connect, support, and inform efforts to improve the health of individuals and communities in Arizona. Arizonans deserve a world-class education system where students become and are supported by capable, resilient, and healthy adults.

Melanie Mitros, Director of Strategic Community Partnerships for Vitalyst Health Foundation said, “The damaging effects of COVID combined with Arizona’s divestments in public education have brought us to this crossroads where students and teachers are experiencing multiple traumas without the skills and resources to mitigate its effects. The data in this Spark Report demonstrates that schools want and need resources now to support their trauma-sensitive journeys.”

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) impact a child’s ability to learn and regulate their behavior as well as have potential long-term impacts on their physical and mental health as adults. The ten ACEs are grouped into abuse, neglect and household dysfunction. Currently, Arizona ranks 33rd in the United States with 17% of children between the ages of 0-17 years have experienced at least two ACEs.

Expulsions, drop-out rates, poor attendance, and failing grades are often linked to experiences that adversely impacted the child. Arizona is ranked 47th in the United States for high school graduation rates within four years with 21.3% of students dropping out before earning their diploma.

Arizona schools are building the foundation for our future. Transforming schools to a trauma sensitive environment, infuses the ability to teach resiliency and empowers students to succeed while creating a cultural shift that increases faculty wellness, productivity and overall satisfaction. More than a dozen experts and educators guided this process and provided direction for this report.

The report concludes with four specific recommendations:

1) Establish a Resilience Coordinating Council to coordinate and champion the work going forward.

2) Require a baseline of knowledge for all school staff and increase leadership development

3) Enhance school employee wellness

4) Establish funding mechanisms to support trauma informed Arizona schools

The final report, survey data summary, key informant summaries, and other supporting materials are available here: Creating Trauma-Sensitive Arizona Schools – Vitalyst Health.