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Project: Building Capacity of WV Educators to Support Students with Adverse Childhood Experiences

West Virginia


Our R5CC team and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will continue to collaborate to design supports for county school systems to meet the mental health and behavioral needs of West Virginia students and educators through the provision of ongoing supports for a Networked Improvement Community (NIC). They will continue to collaboratively leverage statewide stakeholders to build awareness of statewide mental-health professional shortages, recruit more people into the field, and clarify the roles of mental-health professionals in schools and in the field. Finally, we will support the WVDE to develop student support personnel frameworks and related professional learning resources.

High-Leverage Problem

Research has shown the extensive impact that childhood trauma has on individuals throughout their lifespan. Oral et al. (2016) define trauma as negatively perceived situations that are outside of one's control, which impact both physical and psychological aspects of the body and which can lead to an array of negative outcomes. The 2016 National Survey of Children's Health found that 52.4% of children under 18 in West Virginia have had at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE), compared to a national average of 46.3%. This initiative aligns with West Virginia's American Rescue Plan goal of supporting students' and educators' social, emotional, and mental health needs.

Approach to Capacity-Building Services

Our R5CC team will continue to partner with the WVDE to support student well-being:

  • October 2023–September 2024: Provide ongoing thought partnership to enable the WVDE to develop sustainable structures and practices
  • October 2023–September 2024: Co-create resources to strengthen school-counselor and school-psychologist evidence-based practices
  • October 2023–September 2024: Co-facilitate statewide collaborative workgroup sessions and support development of awareness-building resources
  • October 2023–March 2024: Co-plan continuous improvement activities to support counties to implement the West Virginia Tiered Systems of Support (WVTSS) model, focusing on behavioral- and mental-health supports