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LA school district introduces 15 "wellness centers" to combat childhood trauma

April 18, 2018, Youth Today: Los Angeles School District Fighting Trauma With Wellness Centers It is the second-largest school district in the nation with more than 640,000 students enrolled. It spans more than 720 square miles, including 900-plus schools and 187 charter schools. And the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is concerned about its students’ traumatic experiences. It encompasses communities where violence, poverty and teen pregnancy are commonplace. … Studies in the past two decades show that a link exists between traumatic childhood experiences and academic and behavioral troubles, according to SMH. So the district has introduced 15 wellness centers to combat the effects of traumatic childhood experiences for both its students and the local community. The goal is to improve the students’ physical and mental health in the hope of boosting their graduation rates and academic achievement. … Research has confirmed that Adverse Childhood Experiences, known as ACEs, can lead to lower grade-point averages and graduation rates, increased school absences and incidents of overreaction. To encourage healing and detect and intervene early, LAUSD conducted its own screening and data evaluation to further prove the link between trauma and lower academic success. Their 2016-17 screening of 2,500 students from 63 elementary, middle and high schools revealed 26 percent of the students were at risk for traumatic stress while 40 percent of students reported that they did not feel safe or very safe when at school.

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