Supporting the Whole Child

Action Team Goals:

Schools should ensure that students and teachers have a voice in issues that matter to them to support better relationships and engagement.

Meeting 6 Recap

  • Rondell, Ann, and Brandon recapped an interim meeting with young people in the community at which they:

    • outlined questions to ask other young people to inform the process

    • identified more peers they wanted to include in this work

    • reflected on their own experiences with suspension and expulsion in schools and in the criminal justice system

  • The group spent the rest of the meeting brainstorming project implementation. Some highlights of this discussion included:

    • the need to partner with experts to train the team

    • the co creation of the curriculum primarily by young people

    • creating a curriculum centered in respect, dignity, care, and love that would be a transformative curriculum for the people involved as well as the system

    • measuring success by the ability of students to learn the information and use it in their schools, with their peers, and in
      their lives.

Meeting 5 Recap

  • In the beginning of the meeting, the team discussed race and policing in schools, drawing on research from a report by the Advancement Project’s Educational Justice branch.   

  • Last meeting, the group chose to develop a project that created a restorative justice, emotional health, and trauma-informed curriculum that incorporated the use of the arts. This meeting, the team began to develop what that curriculum would look like by creating a list of questions they wanted to answer in regards to project implementation.

  • The team split into small groups and brainstormed ideas for the curriculum before coming together as a team and coming to consensus on essential elements they would like to see in the creation of the project.

  • The team decided they, first, wanted to pilot in and co-create a curriculum with the East Chattanooga community.

Meeting 4 Recap

  • The meeting began with a screening of the documentary “Healing Justice” by Dr. Shakti Butler, which details the current state of our criminal justice system, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the need for restorative healing practices

  • The team discussed the results of a survey of teachers conducted by team member Elizabeth Tallman about their experiences with school discipline (Overwhelmingly, the teachers surveyed said they wanted more training and specific strategies to use in the classroom regarding emotional and behavioral health)

  • The team underwent a voting and workshopping process to narrow down project ideas proposed from the group in prior meetings

  • The chosen project will focus on creating curriculum and programming for teachers, students, and the community that encourages conversations around emotional health, trauma, and restorative justice practice

  • The team also plans to use student-created art projects that illustrate students’ experiences with school discipline while explaining restorative justice practices that can also be used as a mediation and reconciliation tool


Meeting 3 Recap

  • Group members identified project ideas for each of the four categories

    • integrate trauma informed models

    • implement restorative justice practices

    • provide increased mental health professionals in schools

    • create student support groups with trained staff

  • Participants agreed on the focus area “Implement restorative justice practices”

  • Group consensus was that members want to hear from teachers and students directly before making any decisions around project goals and work scope

  • Participants made plans for student and teacher outreach to inform next group meeting

Meeting 2 Recap

  • Participants outlined what services already exist in the community to support student emotional and mental health needs

  • The group dived deeper into what we know and need to learn more about in terms of

    • TennCare support

    • access to care for undocumented students

    • roles of counselors and therapists in schools

    • discipline methods used in schools and classrooms

Meeting 1 Recap

  • Participants explored what we need to think about when supporting the “whole child” and what makes a child “whole”

  • The group determined the opportunities and challenges faced in ensuring mental and emotional health needs are supported

Next Steps:

  • The team decided to have a Maker’s Night and dessert potluck to celebrate their work so far and to get to know people on their team better. UnifiEd will be in contact with the team with an invitation and details for this event.

  • UnifiEd will be contacting team members for interviews about their experience with APEX Action Teams

  • Team members will be invited to participate in a design process for a report and communication tool to share their work with the community

  • Next set of APEX Action Team meetings will resume in early 2019.