Many of our students’ unique life experiences lead them to see life through a lens of abuse and neglect. Research has shown that trauma can negatively impact a child’s ability to learn, create positive relationships, and respectfully behave in a classroom setting. To overcome these challenges, students need a school to approach them differently. Our Trauma-Informed Care school model influences everything we do. Our school staff understands traumatized children need safe and predictable environments. Motivated by Christ’s love (2 Cor 5:14-15), our teachers provide solid routines, loving care and acceptance, respect, and genuine confidence in the success of all students (Pr 15:1, 1 Cor 13).
However, when students begin to feel emotions they can’t handle, we have a dedicated area in our school where they can take a break. There, they can choose to sit quietly or talk with an adult. In this environment, students are better able to process through surface behaviors, helping them learn to connect the dots from how they are feeling to how they are behaving (Jas 1:19-20, Gal 6:2). As students begin to feel supported and understood, their academic motivations often improve.
Although students come to CHCS with a wide range of academic abilities, we believe they all benefit from small class sizes and a balanced school calendar. Within this framework, teachers provide a challenging but flexible curriculum, using a variety of instructional methods to meet each student’s needs. Additionally, teachers come alongside students, providing tutoring, aiding in credit recovery, and implementing specialized plans for academic growth. Faculty and staff seek to integrate a Biblical worldview in all areas and students attend Bible class daily. We teach God’s story in a way that allows students to make a clear minded choice about their faith (Jos 24:15). Our desire is for our students to be transformed by the renewal of their minds, that they may discern the will of God for their lives (Rom 12:2).
To provide the best possible opportunities for our students, we cultivate a culture of collaboration between school staff, houseparents/parents, social workers, and counselors (Ecc 4:9-10). Outside of school hours, staff members intentionally build relationships with students by leading sports, equine offerings, and after-school activities. Our close-knit community provides opportunities for additional relationship building as we simply do life together (1 Jn 3:18).
For some students Cookson Hills is their childhood home, while for others it’s a temporary home for about two years. After completing their enrollment, we want them to believe they are capable (Eph 2:10), influential (Mt 5:14-16), and significant (Ps 139:13-15, Ps 18:19), not only to us but more importantly to their heavenly Father. This is where our vision for true healing for multi-generational impact begins (Dt 6:1-7). By staying true to our core value of educating students through a Biblical worldview, we believe our students can leave our care better prepared for true success and whatever learning lies ahead.