The Resilience Education to Advance Community Healing (REACH) Statewide Initiative trains educators, school mental health professionals, and community members to recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma and address students' social-emotional and mental health needs. The initial REACH Initiative was launched in December 2020 in partnership with Center for Childhood Resilience at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Peoria Regional Office of Education 48 with 52 schools. Participating schools formed REACH teams to build the capacity of their schools to implement and expand trauma-responsive policies and practices.
ISBE partnered with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Center for Childhood Resilience to expand the initiative, using federal pandemic relief funds, to support the social and emotional well-being of students and staff at a time when the need for such support has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
REACH provides free, on-demand virtual learning experiences to educators, school mental health professionals, and community members on topics related to trauma-responsive schools through the REACH Learning and Resource Hub
. These trainings cover topics that include the impact of trauma on children and adolescents, the intersection between racism and trauma, crisis response strategies, educator self-care, and schoolwide policies and classroom practices to build resiliency among students.
As part of this initiative, participating school districts and schools form school-level REACH teams composed of the following key persons:
- School administrator
- Mental health professional
- Parent or caregiver
- Community partner
Other key activities include:
- Participation in professional learning collaboratives.
- Completion of a trauma-responsive schools needs assessment.
- Development of a trauma-responsive school action plan. Teams receive coaching support from the Social-Emotional Learning Hubs to implement their action plan.
- REACH team members can join a community of practice, which provides spaces for teams to learn, share best practices, and apply new knowledge.