Scavo High School Receives Grant Funds to Become a Trauma Sensitive School

Apr 23, 2017

The alternative high school in Des Moines is using grant money to become a safer place for students who are experiencing trauma at home. The money will help make staff more aware of how troubles outside the class are linked to behavior inside.

Scavo High School is part of the Central Campus building of the Des Moines Public Schools on the west end of downtown.
Credit Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

Scavo High School is planning to use $23,000 from the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation to become what’s known as a “trauma sensitive school.” The community schools coordinator for Scavo, Lyn Marchant, says the money will help teachers and students recognize the connection between strife at home and performance in school.

“If they’re not okay socially, emotionally, mentally, they’re not going to be able to learn," she says. "They’re not going to be healthy, they’re not going to be able to focus on what’s going on at school.”

Marchant says outside-the-class trauma for students can take many forms.

“Homelessness, the death of a family member," she says. "They may have witnessed an act of violence, they may have had a situation where they were abused or viewed domestic violence.”

Lyn Marchant, Scavo community schools coordinator
Credit Des Moines Public School District

Marchant says the grant will help pay for teacher professional development efforts to help understand what's going on in some of their students' lives outside the classroom.