Rising Hope Academy began as a small church school serving 17 students. Many of the children we served had difficulty processing and expressing emotions appropriately. This greatly impacted their readiness to learn. We began to search for a school model to address social and emotional needs. We reached out to multiple agencies, learning of the work of Nadine Burke-Harris and the Adverse Childhood Experiences study. Soon thereafter, we connected with Jim Sporleder and the trauma-informed model he used at Lincoln High in Walla Walla, Washington. Mr. Sporleder generously sent resources and spoke with our team about this model.
Since implementing this model in the spring of 2018, we have seen tremendous growth in our students' ability to regulate their emotions. This has led to overall socio-emotional well-being and academic gains as well.
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Rising Hope Academy is in its fourth year of operation, and has experienced growth in student population. We currently serve on average fifty students at one time, with approximately eighty students per year cycling through our program. To date, we have served over two hundred children. Our goal is to position ourselves to serve even more students in the Birmingham area and advocate for policies and strategies to help other educators address the needs of children who have experienced trauma.
We have several bold goals for our 2019. We are seeking a new facility to have room for our growing student population. In addition, we seek to bring more instructors on board, hire academic interventionists, and hire a principal. We have been blessed with many partners to help support us and pray that we continue to build relationships with agencies who specialize in areas of need for our children. We believe God has a plan and a purpose for our students. We are humbled to walk them through the process of their healing.