Scavo Receives Grant to Become ‘Trauma Sensitive’ School

Rich Blonigan and Lyn Marchant

Rich Blonigan and Lyn Marchant lead the effort to make Scavo a ‘trauma sensitive’ school.

Scavo Full Service High School is one of the inaugural recipients of the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation’s HealthConnect Innovation Grant. The grant in the amount of $23,000 is one of the first ever awarded through the foundation’s new program, which aims to improve the health of Greater Des Moines’ most vulnerable children.

Scavo will utilize the grant to become a trauma sensitive school, increasing awareness of the impact of trauma on student behavior and the importance a supportive environment plays in learning. Scavo will revise school policies as necessary, provide ongoing professional development and share best practices with others in the community.

“Our staff are tasked with working with kids who have seen so much in their young lives that affects their education, behavior and overall wellbeing,” Scavo community schools coordinator Lynette Marchant said. “By providing our team with the ability to look through the trauma sensitive lens, we can create an environment based on empathy and support where fear and consequences were failing.”

MIHF and Scavo have previously worked together on the full service school-based dental clinic at Scavo, part of the DMPS Community Center & Clinic, which is also home to a health care clinic, food pantry and onsite daycare services. Becoming a trauma sensitive school will continue the important work of overcoming obstacles keeping students from graduation day.

“We are incredibly thankful for this grant opportunity,” Scavo principal Rich Blonigan said. “By developing an increased understanding of trauma, our team improves the culture and climate of school for our students.”

Strengthening the community’s health has been the primary focus of the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation since it began in 1984. Through the formation of the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, local leaders carried on the tradition of Northwest Community Hospital, which had supported the health of its community for over 25 years. Endowed by proceeds of the sale of the hospital, the Foundation commits resources to improving health in greater Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, visit