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FEA Announces 26 Schools to Take Part in Healing-Centered Engagement to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences & Trauma

The Annette Castiglione Early Childhood Center in Bellmawr is among the schools that will be participating in the program.

In March, 2021, the Foundation for Educational Administration (FEA), the professional learning division of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA), announced the 26 schools that will be a part of its Healing-Centered Engagement initiative.

The Annette Castiglione Early Childhood Center in Bellmawr is among the schools that will be participating in the program.

Funded by grants in excess of $580,000, lead partners FEA and NJEA will create free programs, including training and coaching, to help teachers, administrators, staff, families and community groups in this diverse cohort of 26 schools to introduce a Healing-Centered Engagement model to address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma.

ACEs are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse, neglect, household substance use, and parental  separation, which affect children’s brain architecture and can have negative, lifelong effects on health and  well-being.

In addition to stressful or traumatic events, some children also face exposure to chronic, toxic stress from historical and ongoing traumas due to systemic racism and poverty.

ACEs and trauma can inhibit a child’s ability to learn, develop language skills, create healthy attachments, and form  relationships.

Below is a list of each of the schools that will participate in this healing-centered program:

HCE Schools
CountyDistrictSchool
Burl.DelranDelran Middle School
BCSSBurlington County Special Services SD
CamdenBellmawrBellmawr Early Childhood Center
Cumber.BridgetonDr. Geraldine Foster Early Childhood Center
West Avenue School
Fairfield TownshipFairfield School
MillvilleMillville Child Family Center
EssexEast OrangePatrick F. Healy Middle School
NewarkDr. William H. Horton Elementary School
Arts High School
HudsonJersey CityAnthony Infante Early Childhood Center PS #31
Dr. Maya Angelou School PS #20
MercerHamiltonGeorge E Wilson Elementary School
TrentonTrenton 9th Grade Academy
Robbins Elementary School
Hedgepeth/Williams Middle School of the Arts
M’sexCarteretColumbus School
M’mouthFreehold TwpEarly Childhood Learning Center
MorrisPequannockPequannock High School
OceanOcean GateOcean Gate School
PassaicPassaicRoosevelt School #10
Passaic High School
PatersonFull Service Community School. PS #2
Alonzo Tambua Moody Academy
Som.North PlainfieldSomerset Intermediate School
SussexVernonVernon High School

In addition, the NJ Health Initiatives will provide $75,000 that will directly fund the Mental Health First Aid component of the project. As the lead agency and convener for the  initiative, NJPSA/FEA will partner with NJEA, the Mental Health Association in NJ, the NJ Department of Education, the Office of Resilience in the NJ Department of the Children and Families, the Burke Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Princeton Area Community Foundation, and New Jersey Health Initiatives.

Support and collaboration from the NJ Pandemic Relief Fund will bolster our schools in these uniquely challenging times, and provide a  foundation to strengthen our education system. 

“We are eager to begin to work with school leaders from such a diverse group of schools on this critical initiative,” said Mary Reece, FEA’s Director of Special Projects. “Together, we look forward to identifying and assisting students and adults who are experiencing ACES and other mental health issues.”

Founded in 1985, FEA is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and the  professional learning division of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA), which has  over 8,800 members statewide.

FEA provides quality professional learning and coaching to educators to  improve student achievement and engagement throughout New Jersey.

Its mission is to promote sustained professional growth, support research-based practices, and enhance learning for leaders and  teachers for the purposes of equity and continuous school improvement. 

For more information, please contact Mary Reece, Director of Special Projects, at mreece@njpsa.org.

One reply on “FEA Announces 26 Schools to Take Part in Healing-Centered Engagement to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences & Trauma”

Since so much of our mental health comes from our childhood experiences, mental health-care should generate as much societal concern — and government funding — as does physical health, even though psychological illness/dysfunction typically is not immediately visually observable. Also, I would like to see child-development science curriculum implemented for secondary high school students, and it would also include neurodiversity, albeit not overly complicated. It would be mandatory course material, however, and considerably more detailed than what’s already covered by home economics, etcetera, curriculum: e.g. diaper changing, baby feeding and so forth. I don’t think the latter is anywhere near sufficient (at least not how I experienced it) when it comes to the proper development of a child’s mind.

For one thing, the curriculum could/would make available to students potentially valuable/useful knowledge about their own psyches and why they are the way they are. And besides their own nature, students can also learn about the natures of their peers, which might foster greater tolerance for atypical personalities. (If nothing else, the curriculum could offer students an idea/clue as to whether they’re emotionally suited for the immense responsibility and strains of parenthood.)

I believe the wellbeing of all children — and not just what other parents’ children might/will cost us as future criminals or costly cases of government care, etcetera — should be of great importance to us all, regardless of whether we’re doing a great job with our own developing children. A psychologically and emotionally sound (as well as a physically healthy) future should be ALL children’s foremost right, especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter.

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