PREPaRE Trainers in Action: Good People Doing Great Things

Spotlight on Adams 12 Five Star Schools District Crisis Recovery Team

By Lisa Coffey, Member, School Safety and Crisis Response Committee

The Adams 12 Five Star Schools in support the short- and long-term recovery of students, staff, and schools after a crisis or traumatic event through a District Crisis Recovery Team (DCRT). Started in 2005, the DCRT is an on-call volunteer team that is staffed by 12 professional mental health employees from the Five Star District in Adams County, Colorado. The team is led by Sarah Hunter and divided into four teams. Each team is made up of social workers, school psychologists, and counselors who offer extensive experience in crisis recovery, utilizing the PREPaRE model for crisis training and response.

The purpose of the DCRT is to:

  • Assist with coping and understanding of reactions to danger and traumatic stress.
  • Support the emotional stabilization of students, teachers, and parents, and restore psychological security.
  • Restore a safe and effective learning environment, and help schools return to learning as quickly as possible.
  • Provide support to schools to help manage and address the emotional impact of a crisis.
  • Provide support to a school when invited by a principal or when directed by the superintendent or executive directors.
  • Coordinate response and services with the Operations Team Leader and the School Crisis Response Team (SCRT) at the school.

The DCRT members are available to:

  • Consult with School Crisis Teams to develop a plan for crisis recovery.
  • Provide training to School Crisis Recovery Team members.
  • Triage emotional needs of students and staff.
  • Assist teachers and staff in notifying students of the crisis.
  • Support parents in addressing concerns about their children.
  • Provide linkages to resources in the community.
  • Work with individual students/groups of students when needed.
  • Provide ongoing consultation to the SCRT on anniversary dates or if the crisis is ongoing.

The team trains three times a year by running scenarios to better prepare for future responses. The district has embedded a social–emotional learning curriculum at each grade level. District staff are trained in Signs of Suicide (SOS) and implement the SOS curriculum. This document outlines the structure and process of activating the DCRT. For more information contact, Sarah Hunter, LCSW, Suicide Prevention and Crisis Response Coordinator ( Adams 12 Five Star Schools (1500 E. 128th Avenue Thornton, CO 80241; 720-972-4780).

PREPaRE in Action—Good People Doing Great Things

The Excellence in School Safety and Crisis Response Recognition Award is part of the NASP School Safety and Crisis Response Committee’s (SSCRC) ongoing effort to help school psychologists promote the balance of physical and psychological safety, respond to crises to reduce psychological harm, and assist with the return to adaptive coping in schools following school-associated crises.

This award recognizes school safety and crisis teams, individuals or groups that embody positive leadership, display a spirit of collaboration, and demonstrate effectiveness in the PREPaRE key concepts.

Submissions for the award can be made at any time by completing the nomination form. The completed form should be submitted to the SSCRC Chair, Benjamin Fernandez at

Using PREPaRE as the foundation of school safety and crisis response, teams strive to prevent crises from occurring, prepare for those they cannot prevent, and support a school community’s recovery after an event. The trainer’s newsletter will highlight recipients of the award to provide examples and demonstrate the impact of PREPaRE.

Submit a Nomination

ESSA OverviewLearn about the Excellence in School Safety and Crisis Response Recognition Award, share a nomination with the fillable PDF form, and submit to Benjamin Fernandez.

View Fellow Recognitions

The PREPaRE Trainers in Action: Good People Doing Great Things intiative has received many nominations, such as the Adams 12 Five Star School District.

Learn how school leaders have used knowledge and skills gained from the PREPaRE curriculum to address school safety crisis prevention, intervention, and recovery needs; become inspired on how to facilitate systemic change in your local community; and learn how to apply those key concepts and strategies in your community.