Reach4MO initiative aims to support schools and educators handle crisis and trauma

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education partners with Alive and Well Communities

Mission Statement: The Missouri DESE REACH initiative strives to help schools ensure their students and staff feel safe, welcome, and supported through trauma-informed care aligned with social-emotional supports.

As schools begin the 2020-21 school year, they are welcoming back students and staff members who have experienced unprecedented trauma, lost loved ones, experienced economic insecurity, and missed crucial socialization opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To address these needs, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has partnered with Alive and Well Communities to provide additional guidance documents, training sessions and engagement strategies for educators regarding social-emotional learning and development.

Recognizing needs
Educating schools and communities
Adapting to a "new normal"
Connecting to resources
Helping build SEL capacity 

New points of emphasis: Training and educator support services.


Peer-Led Supportive Spaces (Every Thursday 4-5 p.m.)

Facilitated by both educators and licensed mental health clinicians.

  • A time to talk with other educators to process experiences, increase mindfulness and wellness, begin the process of healing, and gather and build relationships as you face the challenges and opportunities of embracing the “new normal.”
  • Not a therapy session, but a safe space to address the emotional, mental, and communal needs of educational staff members during the coronavirus pandemic.

You are only required to register one time. Once registered, you will receive a Zoom link which can be used to participate in all Thursday meetings. The confidentiality of educators is of the utmost importance. Zoom calls will not be recorded and participant information will not be shared.

Register Now >


Critical Incident Debriefing

  • A Critical Incident Debrief (CID) is an intervention space for individual staff or a school district small group experiencing a crisis that cannot be resolved through other avenues and may be impacting personal and/or professional well-being. Debriefs are scheduled on an as-needed basis.
    • This may range from processing the stress related to balancing family responsibilities and virtual teaching to processing the death of a student.
  • The purpose is not to provide therapy but to provide the necessary crisis intervention to overcome the negative consequences of the presenting crisis while making plans to ensure ongoing safety and well-being.
  • When necessary and appropriate, the licensed mental health professional will determine if greater therapeutic support is needed and discuss accessing Employee Assistance Plans or insurance services, as well as the type of service that may be most beneficial.
  • The confidentiality of educators is of the utmost importance. Zoom calls will not be recorded and participant information will not be shared.

To request a Critical Incident Debrief, visit The form can be completed by a school administrator or educator. All requests will receive a response within two business days.  


REACH team training

  • Customized half-day trainings for districts and schools based on their emerging needs during the pandemic with follow-up content expert support.
  • Connecting schools to supports available to them from DESE and the REACH initiative, including the Missouri Model for Trauma-Informed Schools.
  • Teams of 4-8 participants can include a school counselor, nurse, parent, youth leader, board member, or other staff.

Go to for more details. also has prerecorded trainings on educator well-being, grief, trauma-informed classroom management, and social-emotional re-entry considerations. If you have questions about the REACH Program, please contact M. Rene’ Yoesel, LPC, EdD, coordinator of Adult Education & Literacy and School Counseling, Office of College and Career Readiness at (573) 522-6549 or by email at