Workforce Secondary Traumatic Stress

In the spring of 2021, SHB 1363(link is external): Addressing Workforce Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) in the K-12 workforce was passed into legislation. This legislation acknowledges the significant toll STS has on educators, and subsequently students, and focuses on the adoption of policy and procedures so that districts and schools can take meaningful steps in supporting their staff’s health and well-being. 

The Hoquiam School District Board of Directors has adopted Policy 5515 and Procedure 5515P acknowledging that the wellbeing of educators in the District is key to promoting positive student outcomes. By implementing this policy and procedure the District will utilize targeted professional learning and the continuous improvement cycle in order to reduce staff turnover, increase student outcomes, and model healthy behaviors for our entire school community.

What is Secondary Traumatic Stress?

The Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development defines Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) as "…the emotional distress that arises when someone vicariously experiences the traumatic experiences of another individual. Sometimes known as compassion fatigue, the toll of tending to someone's painful experiences can create very real symptoms in caregivers, including teachers.“

Certificated and classified staff, like many others in helping professions, tend to experience STS at greater rates than those in other professions due to the persistent exposure to and expectation of caretaking for students with emotionally painful experiences. In other words, STS can be an outcome of what is an educators greatest asset: they care deeply about their students and families. Signs and symptoms of STS vary but when left unaddressed may lead to staff turnover, burnout, adult chronic absenteeism and health issues which negatively impacts everyone in the school community. 

What does this mean for HSD?

The District will work to establish a district-wide workforce mental health committee. This committee will include: 1 Certificated and 1 Classified staff, 1 student support services staff, 1 building administrator, and 1 District Office Staff (& HR staff if not the District Office Staff).

This workforce mental health committee has directives per RCW and newly adopted district policy/procedure.


  • Share STS, stress management, and other mental health resources from OSPI, ESD and SEBB (HCA)

  • Share links to STS self-assessment tools and associated resources

  • Report to district school board annually on district workforce mental health committee activities

  • Conduct regular assessments of district and school level implementation inclusive of input form workforce

  • Provide appropriate resources and training.


Alliance for a Healthier Generation

We are excited to announce our partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation! A statewide team of experts curated a list of resources and developed a Washington state specific assessment to assist districts in the implementation of HB 1363. Please visit WA Educators Secondary Traumatic Stress Resources(link is external) to view them. Please note, you will be prompted to create a free account.


SmartHealth is an online wellness program that supports your whole person well-being. It is included in your SEBB benefits at no cost to you. Join activities that support all of you, such as managing stress, building resiliency, and adapting to change.

Learn more about SmartHealth on HCA’s website(link is external) and then visit SmartHealth(link is external) to get started!

Additional Resources will be added to this site and updated at least annually.

Workforce Mental Health Committee

Beginning the 2022-23 SY the District will solicit volunteers to participate on this committee. This committee is voluntary and is not a paid position. Meetings will be held minimally in the fall and then in the spring once the team is developed the team may determine a different meeting schedule to meet the requirements. Meeting minutes will be taken and uploaded after each meeting to this site.

Hoquiam School District Action Plan 2022-23:

Coming soon.

Meeting Date/Minutes:

Coming soon.