The Power of Presence in Public Education

Public education stress levels are at an all-time high. Most funding for healthier schools deals primarily (or exclusively) with students and their trauma. But students are not the only ones bringing trauma into our schools. This project will focus on the personnel at Crossings, a faith community, to develop a formal chaplaincy pilot program and training materials at Christenberry Elementary School that could expand to other schools within Knox County. It will contribute to the therapeutic web of support for our community caretakers in the same way Knoxville Police Department sustains a chaplaincy program-through trained volunteers and church-funded ministers. Crossings will partner with churches, chaplains, mental health experts, and school administration to support our educators through the power of presence. Studies show that supportive relationships provide emotional security and reduce anxiety. Intentional presence, care, and encouragement from a chaplain will help teacher retention, teacher well-being, and overall school culture.