MCHS, Fostering Leadership Academy & The Journey To Being Truly “Trauma-Informed”

Posted On : 8/24/2020

MCHS, Fostering Leadership Academy & The Journey To Being Truly “Trauma-Informed,”

At MCHS, we’re committed to creating a truly trauma-informed community. But what does that mean? It’s no secret that the children and families we serve have survived significant trauma in ways that most of us couldn’t fathom. As an organization dedicated to serving their needs and creating brighter futures for each and every family we come across, this means that every interaction must be trauma-informed. From our youth specialists, clinical therapists, social workers all the way to our development and finance staff, MCHS is committed to teaching our entire community how to best serve our youth and stop the ongoing trauma that vulnerable communities face generation to generation. 

Trauma does not have one look, shape or form. It resurfaces at unexpected times and lingers the span of a lifetime, sometimes quietly and sometimes painfully loud. We know that children who’ve survived trauma develop mental, emotional and cognitive setbacks as a result of self-protection and defense. We know that trauma can hinder a child’s ability to form deep, loving connections — for their only experience with the love of a parent comes with the burn of abuse or neglect. We know that trauma significantly impacts a child’s ability to learn in a traditional school setting. And we know that trauma continues to transform and surprise even the experts. This is why we call it a journey, not a destination. 

That’s also why we’re breaking ground on Michigan’s first true trauma-informed K-8 charter school, Fostering Leadership Academy. We kick off our inaugural academic year on September 8 for grades 6-8 at our Kresge building. Accredited by and partnered with Grand Valley State University, we know that the need for trauma-informed education is so great in our area that this model is just the beginning. Principal Abby Stewart leads the staff at FLA with trauma-informed curriculum, small class sizes and individual learning plans. Each student’s education path must be as different as his or her thumbprint because we know that education is not one-size-fits-all, especially in a pandemic. The staff is trained in restorative practices, positive behavior interventions and empathy rather than control. FLA goes below the surface to understand why behaviors are happening rather than punishing behavior for happening. In short, at FLA, the staff listens. Every child, regardless of their past, deserves the opportunity to an education that works for them. 

To learn more about our journey to becoming truly trauma-informed and how you can support, contact 

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