Community Partners – Cape Cod Collaborative
May 18, 2021
May is National Teacher Appreciation Month, and we could never have enough time to thank the incredible schools, teachers, guidance counselors, principals, superintendents, and school staff we work with across the Cape & Islands! Therefore, we will instead feature just one group to thank, the Cape Cod Collaborative and their STAR program team in Osterville.
The Cape Cod Collaborative STAR Program is a public day school for students who require a structured program with high levels of support. The students are referred by their home districts and necessitate additional services for their education and personal growth. These includes support for cognitive, communication, social, and emotional or behavioral (including those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder) needs.
Individuals who require these types of specialized services, or who have complex physical, mental health or developmental diagnoses, are at significantly higher risk for physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Over the last few years, the Cape Cod Collaborative teams have coordinated with Children’s Cove to organize numerous trainings for their staff, teachers, and aids. They have learned how to better recognize and respond to child abuse and sexual exploitation and to identify behaviors that indicate something may be wrong, even when a child has difficulty in communicating. Additionally, they learned to partner and coordinate with Children’s Cove on difficult situations for the health and support of their students.
We would also like to thank the Cape Cod Collaborative’s Leadership team, who began the process of gaining insight and addressing challenges related to secondary trauma for their team members. They recognized that many of their staff experienced increased stress levels and burnout from listening to students discussing their trauma histories, and, at times, having to work through some very challenging situations. As a result, the leadership team has increased access to wellness activities for the staff and has started committees for an internal staff newsletter to share good news and triumphs, applaud outstanding work, and participate in fun activities, such as “silly hat” or “wild hair” days. In addition, Children’s Cove has provided training and assessments for the impacts of vicarious and secondary-traumatic stress for its staff members and is working with their teams to build capacity.
The ‘S’ in STAR stands for self-care, and the team at the Cape Cod Collaborative has been working hard to ensure that their staff are able to engage in meaningful self-care while providing high-quality education to students with diverse needs during a global pandemic. We appreciate not only the teachers, aids, staff, and administration at the Cape Cod Collaborative, but also our partnership to support the children in their care.