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Inspiring and leading innovation in education


 San Diego County-SDCOE Partnerships Win State Awards for Innovation

Two program partnerships between the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and San Diego County received awards recognizing innovation by the state’s counties.

The California State Association of Counties presented San Diego County with a Challenge Award for its Trauma Responsive Unit Protects Youth in Custody program, and a Merit Award for the Disaster Preparedness curriculum.

The Trauma Responsive Unit (TRU) Protects Youth in Custody program is a new specialized unit in Juvenile Hall in which all San Diego County Probation staff are trained to provide evidence-based treatment to youth affected by traumatic experience. The juveniles are taught fundamental skills to manage their behavior and emotions when events trigger traumatic reminders. The unit is one of the first in a juvenile institutional setting to treat trauma, a common experience for justice-involved youth and one that contributes to increased risk-taking, delinquency and future adult criminal behavior.

The SDCOE’s Momentum Learning operates the educational program inside Juvenile Hall. The TRU classroom uses thematic interdisciplinary project-based learning, where the youth express themselves and show off their work while learning important lessons. The TRU teaching staff consists of an assigned unit teacher, an assigned teacher’s aide, at least one special education teacher, and an English language development specialist. 

The other award-winning program, the Disaster Preparedness curriculum, teaches children about individual, family, and community disaster preparedness. The curriculum called “Be Aware, Be Prepared” was developed in partnership with SDCOE and the Office of Emergency Services for fourth grade students to learn about natural disasters. Tips on how to better prepare before, during, and after earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and wildfires are also provided. The curriculum encourages children to work with their families to create a family disaster plan and assemble an emergency kit.

This story was adapted from the San Diego County News Center.