CLK gets PHF grant for trauma assistance

Photo from The CLK School District received a grant from the Portage Health Foundation to train district staff to help students deal with traumatic events, whether in or out of school.

CALUMET TOWNSHIP — The CLK School District was recently awarded a $32,000 Trauma Informed School Grant from the Portage Health Foundation, which will help school staff assist students who experience traumatic events.

Christopher Davidson, CLK superintendent, said the grant is to essentially get the program started. It will provide funds to bring trainers from Western Michigan University who specialize in the field.

There are two major components to the program. The first is training some of the CLK staff to become trauma-informed trainers.

In the event that a trained staff member leaves, there will be other trainers on staff to train new people.

The WMU experts will also train the staff in dealing with students who have experienced a traumatic event.

“There is also a community outreach component,” Davidson said, “where we will work with local law enforcement.”

In the event of a law enforcement agent or agency dealing with a situation in which a student is involved, the agency can fill out a form stating that the particular student was involved in the activity and to be aware.

“I know the Houghton city police have been trained in a model like this,” said Davidson, “so the training’s out there. More officers are getting trained in such a thing, so we want to help that community outreach program, so we can appropriately reach out to these students.”

The grant will also provide for a therapy dog, Davidson said. The district currently has a dog in training for the Horizons School.

When the Portage Health Foundation released announcements for their grant applications, Davidson met with several people in the district to learn what CLK students needed.

“We sat down with our administrators, social workers and counselors,” he said, “and discussed what they saw as a need for the health of our students. The one thing that was common across everybody was helping students to deal with trauma.”

Even if a traumatic event happens outside the school, Davidson said, trained staff can identify the student and help him or her to cope with the event.

“As a teacher, you don’t always know what your students are going through or how to handle it,” said Davidson. “For instance, a student not turning in his homework when they normally do it, something could have happened outside of school.”

The program will help CLK faculty and staff promptly address situations, increase student attendance and performance and make the school a place where students want to be, Davidson said.

“The program,” he said, “is a more proactive approach rather than a reactive approach.”