LOS ANGELES — Kaiser Permanente has selected the Los Angeles Education Partnership (or LAEP) Transform Schools department, as the national organizational partner for its Resilience in School Environments (RISE) project, which is part of the organization’s goal to improve the total health — mind, body and spirit — of its members and communities in which it serves.
“The health of school teachers and staff are of the utmost importance to our communities, and we at Kaiser Permanente recognize that supporting their mental health and wellness benefits them, the students they work with, and our communities as a whole,” said Loel Solomon, vice president of Community Health, Kaiser Permanente. “This unique partnership with LAEP is an exciting and innovative way to foster support for our communities’ teachers, staff and students.”
Building on the work of Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools program, the RISE project will integrate trauma-informed practices into the school environment using methods guided by Senior Director Xiomara Mateo-Gaxiola, Ed.D, and Director Ana Maria Apodaca, along with their team of coaches. The University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for School Mental Health will evaluate the implementation and impact of RISE during a two-year term. Both teachers and students will benefit from the program.
“We see resilient school systems as important to not only student wellness, but also school employee wellness,” said Mateo-Gaxiola. “As school employees gain insight into trauma-informed practices, they are better able to form compassionate responses to a student’s symptoms of trauma. Attention to resiliency and trauma-informed practices is often overlooked as an important part of school employee development; we see it as essential.”
The expansion of the RISE project started with the opening of the 2017-2018 school year in 20 schools located in California, Colorado and Georgia — communities served by Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated health system.
LAEP is an education nonprofit that works in high-poverty and under-resourced communities to foster schools that support the personal and academic success of students. LAEP coaches, one for each school participating in the RISE project, will work with a school site leadership team made up of teachers, counselors, administrators and others. The coaches and leadership teams will be revisiting school policies and practices to improve school climate, participating in ongoing professional development for all school staff, and supporting implementation of school employee wellness practices.
“We are thrilled to be part of this project for many reasons,” said Ellen Pais, president and CEO, LAEP. “First, it allows us to extend our resilience practices in Los Angeles to school districts in other parts of Southern California, Northern California, Colorado and Georgia. But what’s equally exciting is the evaluation component, provided by the Center for School Mental Health. We expect the results will show that in areas where traumatic events greatly impact students’ ability to learn, trauma-informed and resiliency practices can largely improve these learning environments, as well as reduce stress for the administration, teachers and staff who work with these students.”
Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools is a comprehensive effort to create a culture of health and wellness for students, staff and teachers in K-12 schools. When it began, it promoted healthy eating and active living in schools, and has since expanded to also encourage mental health for staff, teachers and students, in part through the RISE project. Thriving Schools serves as part of Kaiser Permanente’s ongoing mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the well-being of its members and the communities it serves.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 11.8 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to share.kaiserpermanente.org.