Mr. Baker’s School is Listening

Posted by Monica Hoel
Chilhowie High School Principal Rocky Baker (E&H ’85) is challenging his teaching staff to identify the needs of students and be a trauma informed school.

Chilhowie High School is now a Trauma Informed Care (TIC) school – and it is changing the lives of everyone involved.

Rocky Baker (E&H ’85) is principal at the school, and he and his assistant principal, Kelly Russell, have developed the program that is basically informing all aspects of life at the school. Rocky says he remembers the moment when he knew they needed to change how they approached education. “It was a ‘lightbulb moment;’ we were in a principal’s meeting in the summer of 2019 and heard a presentation on trauma and toxic stress among students and we recognized characteristics of our own students among the general statistics that were shared.”

The program is basically a mentor/mentee program where faculty members and administrators select a mentee with whom they will work throughout the school year. “We realize that students enter our building each day with traumatic events in their lives that negatively affect their ability to learn.  Teachers are beginning to develop a more personal relationship with these students that will hopefully develop trust and a sense of knowing that we are here not just to teach, but to play a more positive role in their lives. Teachers and administrators have taken students hunting, taken students to football games, done daily check-in and encouragement, offered the classroom as a safe place, and served as good listeners.”

And sometimes what a student needs most is fairly basic care and attention. Teachers also supply much-needed help with food, laundry services, and personal care. And the school community is working together to help with clothing needs. “We saw an obvious need that students needed more clothing items, so we have turned an unused classroom into a clothing closet with donated and purchased items. Students are allowed to visit this area and look for clothing items they are in need of. Much of what we are doing here is student-driven; our students wash clothes, set up the clothing closet and keep it stocked.”

Hygiene items are made available for anyone who might need them.The closet also provides personal hygiene items like shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. “All of our initiatives have been received by students and faculty in a positive way, and they help to replenish and distribute personal care items.  Our students deserve all the credit for seeing the needs of their peers and working to support them.”

Rocky says greater attention to personal relationships between students and teachers has made the staff of the school more aware of what the needs of students are; and now everyone is working together to try to meet those needs. “Having toxic stress and/or trauma, needing clothes that fit and are clean, and needing to be personally clean are all barriers to students being able to learn.  We are doing what we can to meet the basic human needs of our students so that we can allow them to be successful academically.”

Even though this is a new approach to education, Rocky credits his openness to a new way of approaching education to his student days at Emory & Henry. “I feel my overall education at Emory & Henry began to prepare me to see the needs of others and the importance of building relationships with students. Luckily, with the professionals I am surrounded by day after day, we all share the same vision.”

  • Chilhowie High School Vice Principal Kelly Russell and Principal Rocky Baker in the CHS clothes c...
    Chilhowie High School Vice Principal Kelly Russell and Principal Rocky Baker in the CHS clothes closet.
  • Hygiene items are made available for anyone who might need them.
    Hygiene items are made available for anyone who might need them.
  • Rocky Baker (E&H '85) heard a presentation on the effects of toxic stress, and he quickl...
    Rocky Baker (E&H '85) heard a presentation on the effects of toxic stress, and he quickly understood this was something his school needed to focus on.
“We are doing what we can to meet the basic human needs of our students so that we can allow them to be successful academically.”

Save & Share:

More News

  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/924-eamph-alumna-to-sing-national-anthem-at-bristol" title="E&H Alumna to Sing National Anthem at Bristol Race This Weekend" aria-label="E&H Alumna to Sing National Anthem at Bristol Race This Weekend"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,624,463/6723_CD_3.rev.1565968008.jpg" alt="Christina Druen at the 2018 Food City Race. She's singing the National Anthem for the 2019 race." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="624" data-max-h="463"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/924-eamph-alumna-to-sing-national-anthem-at-bristol" title="E&H Alumna to Sing National Anthem at Bristol Race This Weekend" aria-label="E&H Alumna to Sing National Anthem at Bristol Race This Weekend">E&H Alumna to Sing National Anthem at Bristol Race This Weekend</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Christina Druen, E&H Class of 2016, will sing Friday night, August 16. <a href="/live/news/924-eamph-alumna-to-sing-national-anthem-at-bristol" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="E&H Alumna to Sing National Anthem at Bristol Race This Weekend" aria-label="E&H Alumna to Sing National Anthem at Bristol Race This Weekend">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/716-andy-rhudy-receives-second-medal-of-valor" title="Andy Rhudy Receives Second Medal of Valor" aria-label="Andy Rhudy Receives Second Medal of Valor"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/57,80,320,343/6038_Andy_Rhudy.rev.1551734272.jpg" alt="Andy Rhudy, E&H '95, with daughters Bonnie and Molly and wife Julie Pennington Rhudy (" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/57,80,320,343/6038_Andy_Rhudy.rev.1551734272.jpg 2x" data-max-w="960" data-max-h="960"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/716-andy-rhudy-receives-second-medal-of-valor" title="Andy Rhudy Receives Second Medal of Valor" aria-label="Andy Rhudy Receives Second Medal of Valor">Andy Rhudy Receives Second Medal of Valor</a></h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1130-gerald-caldwell-isnt-your-typical-boss" title="Gerald Caldwell Isn’t Your Typical Boss" aria-label="Gerald Caldwell Isn’t Your Typical Boss"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,3,418,422/7383_IMG_0893.rev.1580224605.jpg" alt="Gerald Caldwell (E&H Class of '90) sipping coffee at The Coffee Shelf." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="480" data-max-h="640"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1130-gerald-caldwell-isnt-your-typical-boss" title="Gerald Caldwell Isn’t Your Typical Boss" aria-label="Gerald Caldwell Isn’t Your Typical Boss">Gerald Caldwell Isn’t Your Typical Boss</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">But this coffee shop owner has found success in doing things differently. <a href="/live/news/1130-gerald-caldwell-isnt-your-typical-boss" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Gerald Caldwell Isn’t Your Typical Boss" aria-label="Gerald Caldwell Isn’t Your Typical Boss">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/406-kim-cressell-has-the-greatest-shop-on-earth" title="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth" aria-label="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/560,0,2016,1455/4145_IMG_0071.rev.1525982477.jpg" alt="Kim Cressell (E&H '93) at The Reserve in Sarasota, Florida." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/560,0,2016,1455/4145_IMG_0071.rev.1525982477.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/560,0,2016,1455/4145_IMG_0071.rev.1525982477.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2016" data-max-h="1512"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/406-kim-cressell-has-the-greatest-shop-on-earth" title="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth" aria-label="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth">Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">It’s a shop that is far more exciting than retail; but what ARE those red buildings? <a href="/live/news/406-kim-cressell-has-the-greatest-shop-on-earth" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth" aria-label="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/782-mike-young-chosen-as-new-virginia-tech-basketball" title="Mike Young Chosen as New Virginia Tech Basketball Coach" aria-label="Mike Young Chosen as New Virginia Tech Basketball Coach"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/290,0,1100,810/6262_Young_at_socon.rev.1554748993.jpg" alt="Mike Young (E&H '86) cutting down the net after his Wofford team won the 2019 SOCON cham..." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/290,0,1100,810/6262_Young_at_socon.rev.1554748993.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/290,0,1100,810/6262_Young_at_socon.rev.1554748993.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1440" data-max-h="810"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/782-mike-young-chosen-as-new-virginia-tech-basketball" title="Mike Young Chosen as New Virginia Tech Basketball Coach" aria-label="Mike Young Chosen as New Virginia Tech Basketball Coach">Mike Young Chosen as New Virginia Tech Basketball Coach</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Mike Young is a 1986 Emory & Henry graduate. <a href="/live/news/782-mike-young-chosen-as-new-virginia-tech-basketball" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Mike Young Chosen as New Virginia Tech Basketball Coach" aria-label="Mike Young Chosen as New Virginia Tech Basketball Coach">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"/><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1150-class-notes-updated-february-2020" title="Class notes updated February 2020" aria-label="Class notes updated February 2020">Class notes updated February 2020</a></h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/780-jimmy-wilmouth-in-france" title="Jimmy Wilmouth in France" aria-label="Jimmy Wilmouth in France"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,510,991,1501/6178_Jimmy_Wilmouth.rev.1554494489.jpg" alt="Jimmy Wilmouth with his girlfriend at the Eiffel Tower." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,510,991,1501/6178_Jimmy_Wilmouth.rev.1554494489.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,510,991,1501/6178_Jimmy_Wilmouth.rev.1554494489.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1280" data-max-h="1920"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/780-jimmy-wilmouth-in-france" title="Jimmy Wilmouth in France" aria-label="Jimmy Wilmouth in France">Jimmy Wilmouth in France</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">He ended up in France for love…but he’s also doing important cancer research <a href="/live/news/780-jimmy-wilmouth-in-france" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Jimmy Wilmouth in France" aria-label="Jimmy Wilmouth in France">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/788-trollinger-named-citizen-of-the-year" title="Trollinger Named Citizen of the Year" aria-label="Trollinger Named Citizen of the Year"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/38,0,514,475/6285_Richard_Trollinger.rev.1554994277.jpg" alt="Richard Trollinger, E&H Class of 1971." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/38,0,514,475/6285_Richard_Trollinger.rev.1554994277.jpg 2x" data-max-w="718" data-max-h="475"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/788-trollinger-named-citizen-of-the-year" title="Trollinger Named Citizen of the Year" aria-label="Trollinger Named Citizen of the Year">Trollinger Named Citizen of the Year</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Richard Trollinger (E&H ’71) has been named Danville, Kentucky, citizen of the year. <a href="/live/news/788-trollinger-named-citizen-of-the-year" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Trollinger Named Citizen of the Year" aria-label="Trollinger Named Citizen of the Year">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/191-marsha-wagoner-kayaking-into-the-sunset" title="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??" aria-label="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/1727_IMG-4387.rev.1513886589.JPG" alt="Marsha Wagoner at Farmer's Hardware in Sparta, NC." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/1727_IMG-4387.rev.1513886589.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/1727_IMG-4387.rev.1513886589.JPG 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2400"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/191-marsha-wagoner-kayaking-into-the-sunset" title="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??" aria-label="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??">Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">After 80 years in business, Farmer’s Hardware in Sparta is saying goodnight. <a href="/live/news/191-marsha-wagoner-kayaking-into-the-sunset" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??" aria-label="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/723-alumni-couple-rescue-a-bit-of-eamph-history" title="Alumni Couple Rescue a Bit of E&H History" aria-label="Alumni Couple Rescue a Bit of E&H History"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/222,0,944,720/6058_matt_and_steph.rev.1552355313.jpg" alt="Matt ('03) and Stephanie Armbrister ('02) Strutner" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/222,0,944,720/6058_matt_and_steph.rev.1552355313.jpg 2x" data-max-w="960" data-max-h="720"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/723-alumni-couple-rescue-a-bit-of-eamph-history" title="Alumni Couple Rescue a Bit of E&H History" aria-label="Alumni Couple Rescue a Bit of E&H History">Alumni Couple Rescue a Bit of E&H History</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Matt (E&H ’03) and Stephanie Armbrister (E&H ’02) Strutner (Knoxville, TN) snagged a trophy from the jaws of obscurity. <a href="/live/news/723-alumni-couple-rescue-a-bit-of-eamph-history" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Alumni Couple Rescue a Bit of E&H History" aria-label="Alumni Couple Rescue a Bit of E&H History">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/921-jarell-christian-eamph-09-tapped-for-nba-coaching" title="Jarell Christian (E&H ’09) Tapped for NBA Coaching Position" aria-label="Jarell Christian (E&H ’09) Tapped for NBA Coaching Position"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/91,0,352,261/6668_JC.rev.1564783007.jpg" alt="Jarell Christian (E&H '09) with his child." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="390" data-max-h="261"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/921-jarell-christian-eamph-09-tapped-for-nba-coaching" title="Jarell Christian (E&H ’09) Tapped for NBA Coaching Position" aria-label="Jarell Christian (E&H ’09) Tapped for NBA Coaching Position">Jarell Christian (E&H ’09) Tapped for NBA Coaching Position</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">The Washington Wizards have added Christian as a new assistant coach. <a href="/live/news/921-jarell-christian-eamph-09-tapped-for-nba-coaching" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Jarell Christian (E&H ’09) Tapped for NBA Coaching Position" aria-label="Jarell Christian (E&H ’09) Tapped for NBA Coaching Position">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1082-christina-adams-publishes-new-book" title="Christina Adams Publishes New Book" aria-label="Christina Adams Publishes New Book"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/332,364,2125,2156/7181_Crop_CamelChristinaPhotoShoot2014_010a.rev.1574366637.jpg" alt="Christina Adams, E&H Class of 1983." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/332,364,2125,2156/7181_Crop_CamelChristinaPhotoShoot2014_010a.rev.1574366637.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/332,364,2125,2156/7181_Crop_CamelChristinaPhotoShoot2014_010a.rev.1574366637.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2125" data-max-h="3199"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1082-christina-adams-publishes-new-book" title="Christina Adams Publishes New Book" aria-label="Christina Adams Publishes New Book">Christina Adams Publishes New Book</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><em>Camel Crazy</em> explores the mysterious powers of camel milk. <a href="/live/news/1082-christina-adams-publishes-new-book" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Christina Adams Publishes New Book" aria-label="Christina Adams Publishes New Book">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/444-eamph-obituaries-updated-july-11-2018" title="E&H Obituaries Updated July 11, 2018" aria-label="E&H Obituaries Updated July 11, 2018"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,453,604/690_fall_at_EH_11.rev.1506525869.jpg" alt="Fall foliage at Emory & Henry College." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="453" data-max-h="604"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/444-eamph-obituaries-updated-july-11-2018" title="E&H Obituaries Updated July 11, 2018" aria-label="E&H Obituaries Updated July 11, 2018">E&H Obituaries Updated July 11, 2018</a></h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/866-dr-bob-buchanan-receives-award" title="Dr. Bob Buchanan Receives Award" aria-label="Dr. Bob Buchanan Receives Award"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,11,280,291/6479_Dr._Bob_Buchanan.rev.1560787959.jpg" alt="Dr. Bob Buchanan, E&H Class of 1958, is retired from University of California, Berkeley." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="280" data-max-h="350"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/866-dr-bob-buchanan-receives-award" title="Dr. Bob Buchanan Receives Award" aria-label="Dr. Bob Buchanan Receives Award">Dr. Bob Buchanan Receives Award</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Dr. Buchanan (E&H ’58) was among a small group of outstanding scientists honored by the American Society of Plant Biologists <a href="/live/news/866-dr-bob-buchanan-receives-award" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Dr. Bob Buchanan Receives Award" aria-label="Dr. Bob Buchanan Receives Award">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/971-on-the-cover" title="On the Cover!" aria-label="On the Cover!"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/113,24,959,870/6895_lindsay_powers.rev.1568661161.jpg" alt="Lindsay Powers, E&H Class of 2016." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/113,24,959,870/6895_lindsay_powers.rev.1568661161.jpg 2x" data-max-w="959" data-max-h="959"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/971-on-the-cover" title="On the Cover!" aria-label="On the Cover!">On the Cover!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Lindsay Powers was just featured on the cover of Kingsport’s <em>Livability</em> magazine! <a href="/live/news/971-on-the-cover" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="On the Cover!" aria-label="On the Cover!">Keep reading</a></div></div>