Building Trauma Sensitive Schools (BTSS) is an initiative funded by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to improve school climate and decrease Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among adolescents in Providence The key strategies of this project include:

  • Use the best data to identify students suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Scale Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention for Trauma In Schools (CBITS), a socially and culturally relevant evidence-based program for those adolescents experiencing PTSD
  • Implement an evidence-informed and innovative youth, family, and community engagement strategy that employs the performing arts to enhance delivery and engagement in CBITS
  • Deploy a variety of professional development, training, and in-service opportunities to school system personnel for building trauma-sensitive schools and
  • Magnify the issue of youth trauma and the elevated rates of occurrence to the policy and decision-making level.

By leveraging existing partnerships among residents and systems and building upon an established framework for setting joint priorities and implementing proven programs, Building Trauma Sensitive Schools establishes a continuum of services that moves some of the most challenged schools in the most challenged neighborhoods of Providence from a current state of chaotic response, to trauma aware, and ultimately to trauma sensitive schools. 

"At Providence Public Schools, our job is to help students focus on learning and to address barriers that stand between children and their academic success. It is an unfortunate truth that many of our students have witnessed or experienced violence in their lives outside of school. The SAMHSA grant will help us address the issue of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder directly with our students, reengage them in education and help guide them toward a future beyond the trauma they’ve endured."

-Superintendent Christopher Maher

Positive Action is an evidence-based program for elementary and middle schools that improves students’ attachment to school and helps improve school climate and decrease absenteeism. Positive Action was identified through the CYC’s joint priority setting process and has been implemented across elementary and middle schools in the city. 

“Positive Action gets kids thinking and caring about their words and actions and lets us celebrate when they make great decisions.”

- Laura Leach, 4th Grade Teacher