Hope Initiative

The Hope Initiative is our commitment to providing a trauma-informed, nurturing school environment for our unique and amazing student population. It’s at the core of DSS’ priorities!

We understand the importance of recognizing the impact of past and current trauma in the lives of our students. Doing so allows us to not only address the needs of the individual, but at the same time creating a system that provides a safe and productive educational experience. 

Rather than ask, “What is wrong with you” . . .
We ask, “What has happened to you?”

Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma is complex and has a far-reaching impact on both students and staff members. While we want to be able to identify its signs in our students, we also want to ensure the DSS staff is not re-traumatized in the process. We each have a collection of experiences unique to our own lives.

This is why we have trauma-informed care (TIC) professional development training each month.

  • For DSS staff, the purpose is to feel empowered to understand and respond from a trauma-informed mindset in each and every situation.
  • For DSS students, the benefit of this model is to give space to be known, valued, nurtured, and ultimately educated in an environment that appreciates and recognizes their uniqueness. 

TIC doesn’t see trauma as a barrier to education.

Instead, we consider it a roadmap to the inner workings of our neural activity and response systems.

Once trauma is experienced, the body adapts in certain ways to keep each of us safe. Over time, these adaptations become automatic and displayed in a variety of different ways.

Our goal is to educate our students and staff about the effects of trauma on our brain and response systems… and empower each to understand responses and ultimately change neural pathways.

TIC is our reference point for creating and evaluating the DSS learning environment so students can begin to find hope and thrive.