There are amazing students and truly dedicated teachers and staff in Washington County, yet we know we must do better. Far too many of our youth have been dealt cards that will lead to hopelessness if supports are not offered and resources are not bolstered. “Toxic stress,” linked to poverty and adversity, is part of the lives of too many young people and their families. Students need access to support, and teachers need strategies to mitigate the stress and trauma that so many of our children hold inside, affecting their school day and their learning readiness.
“I love teaching. I am working hard, and my colleagues are working hard, but we are still not doing enough for our most vulnerable students. What if TREE can assist me in blending science with practice? I want such supports. My students deserve more.”
”The mood among our school's staff is that things are getting more and more challenging for our families. Yet, even though we know our families and students are living in constant crisis, we as a teaching staff aren't really trained in teaching children in crisis / poverty / trauma. Sure, we will make sure our students have a winter coat, boots, etc, and have access to our school's food pantry, yet, we know that as a staff there is more that we could be doing to help our at risk children. TREE is the support we need.”
“I am so ready to adopt a resiliency rather than deficit approach to educating students from low income homes.”
“Long ago I became an educator because I believed education had the potential to be an equalizer. I thought in our free democratic society, a good education was the road out of poverty and hopelessness. Now I am saddened to see education has not opened that road. My dream is to help education live up to its potential.”
Washington County Statistics
- Many students and their families are struggling in this part of Maine, which can have serious impacts on health and education:
- 26% of children under 18 live in poverty.
- 30% of the infants born each year in the county are at risk due to exposure to poverty, substance use, violence, and low birth weight rates.
- Τhe most children being expelled from childcare of any county in Maine.
- Αddiction rates that are higher than other Maine counties - with the highest percentage of adults in replacement therapy for opiate addiction statewide.
- Unemployment rates are as high as 60% in some areas of the county.
- 65% of children receive MaineCare.
- Washington County is one of eleven counties nation-wide where the life expectancy for women is decreasing rather than increasing.
- Statistics for the Passamaquoddy tribe’s two reservations in the county are even more concerning, with an average life expectancy of 50 years.