BLOCKS - Babies Learning On Course for Kindergarten Success - United Way of West Georgia | Troup Strong
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Troup Strong Logo

Troup Strong is an initiative to raise the awareness of the impact of trauma on very young children and the long-term effects they can have if they go untreated. It is funded through a grant from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). Troup Strong was introduced to the community at the Get Troup Reading Summit on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at the Callaway Conference Center.  Also on display at the Summit was a sample “Peace Place”.


A Peace Place is a space to give young children in preschool a place to calm down when life is too much for them at that moment. If a Preschool classroom wants a Peace Place, all adults in that classroom as well as the Center director must complete the Trauma / Brain 101 online course. To apply for a Peace Place, call:  706-884-8292.


Below you will find a description of Trauma / Brain 101 along with the link to the Georgia State University online course which is a certificate program. Anyone who is interested may take this course. Please follow the instructions after you click the link.

Trauma/Brain 101


This course will provide participants with foundational knowledge about how adversity and trauma can impact brain development. You will learn about brain systems and early brain development. Three types of child trauma are defined and that will help you understand how complex trauma can affect behavior and development. It will also help identify strategies for working with children who have experienced trauma.


Topics Covered

  • Child trauma
  • How does trauma affect children
  • Brain systems and regions
  • Impact of trauma on brain development
  • Safety for children
  • Resilience and brain development
  • Enhance well-being and resilience
Child Welfare Training Collaborative – Professional Excellence Program

The Child Welfare Training Collaborative (CWTC) offers training to community partners (e.g. DFCS, law enforcement, placement providers, early care, education, behavioral health, juvenile courts, pediatric health providers, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and other community and government organizations) throughout the state of Georgia. Bringing everyone to the same table creates an opportunity for community partners to have a shared understanding of issues facing children and families and also strengthens collaborations to promote better outcomes for Georgia’s children.

Instructions for uploading the certificates:

  • Sign-in to your Georgia Professional Development System (GaPDS) account at You can create a free account if you don’t have one.
  • Go to My Profile and scroll down to the Training Information section. To add this training to your transcript, click the Update button. Click Add New Training and select Approved Entity Training from the drop-down list.
  • Enter the AE code 51.
  • Type in the title of the training, enter the training hours (3) and the date you completed the training.
  • Click Save to return to the Training screen.
  • You will now see the training displayed in the Training Attended grid. Click the icon under Evidence and follow the instructions to upload your certificate.
  • Once you’ve uploaded your certificate, return to the My Profile screen and follow the prompts to review and submit the certificate for review.
  • If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the GaPDS Support Team:
  • If calling within the metro Atlanta Area or from another state: 404-267-2760
  • If calling within Georgia, but outside of metro Atlanta: 1-888-92-GAPDS (42737)
  • Email:

Get Troup Reading Summit

February 8, 2020

About Our Speakers

Arianne Weldon
Director, Get Georgia Reading Campaign

Arianne Weldon connects decision-makers across Georgia to create the conditions essential for all children to succeed. She applies her background in public health to help cross-sector partners apply insights from research and data to employ innovative solutions, so all children become proficient readers by the end of third grade – paving the way to improved outcomes throughout school and life.

Randy Nix
State Representative (R-LaGrange),
Georgia House of Representatives

Randy Nix, who has served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 13 years, chairs the Ethics Committee and serves on several others including Education, Economic Development and Tourism, Natural Resources and Environment, Appropriations, and the Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care. His primary legislative focus has been on workforce development.

Dr. Garry McGiboney
Deputy Superintendent, Office of School Safety and Climate,
Georgia Department of Education

A champion for children, Garry McGiboney has served on numerous committees focused on children’s mental health, dyslexia, leadership, and safety. He serves on the Georgia Supreme Court’s Justice for Children Committee, Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative Steering Committee, and Get Georgia Reading Campaign Cabinet, among others.

Dr. Lacey Southerland
Professor and Chair, Department of Child and Youth Development,
Point University

In addition to Professor of Education and Chair of the Department of Child & Youth Development at Point University. Dr. Southerland also chairs the Board of Directors for the Chattahoochee Early Learning Academy, which opened in West Point in 2019. She is passionate about providing positive and engaging environments and activities for young children to help them develop a love of learning as early as possible!

Honorable R. Michael Key
Judge, Troup County Juvenile Court

Having served as a juvenile court judge for more than 30 years, Judge Key has focused on various court improvement initiatives to provide optimal outcomes for children and families who enter the juvenile court system. He started a Family Treatment Accountability Court to assist parents with substance abuse problems maintain or regain custody of their children. He serves on numerous committees, panels, boards, councils and projects on behalf of the community. Judge Key also serves on the Committee on Justice for Children (Georgia’s Court Improvement Project) and is Co-Lead Faculty of the Multi-Disciplinary Child Abuse and Neglect Institute (“MD CANI”), offered to all counties in Georgia. He serves on the Advisory Committee of the Georgia State Child Welfare Training Collaborative and frequently trains other judges and child welfare professionals at local, state, and national conferences teaching primarily on the topics of Trauma Informed Care, Issues in Dependency Cases, and Reasonable Efforts to Achieve Permanency for Children. Judge Key has been instrumental in Troup County’s efforts to become a trauma responsive community.

Deana Brown
Director of Elementary Education
Troup County School System

Deana has served for twenty years in an elementary setting with experience as a Teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Director, and Assistant Superintendent. During her tenure, she was recognized as Teacher of the Year, and as Principal, received recognition from the State of Georgia for three years as a High Progress Reward School. Working primarily in low income communities, she has developed a passion for working with schools to create viable plans to close the achievement gaps which frequently exist for our economically disadvantaged students as well as our students with disabilities. She understands the importance of the foundational skills needed to be obtained at the elementary level and places an emphasis on making sure all students are provided with appropriate learning experiences, and expectations to prepare them for the secondary level of learning.

Dr. Brian Shumate
Troup County School System

Dr. Brian Shumate was named as the new Superintendent of Troup County School System beginning July 1, 2019. Dr. Shumate comes to Troup County Schools after serving for the past five years as the superintendent of the Medford School District in Medford, Oregon. Prior to that, Dr. Shumate served for 27 years in the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY. There Dr. Shumate served as a high school math teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, high school liaison and assistant superintendent. Dr. Shumate is married to his wife of 32 years, Dana, who is also an educator. They have a daughter, Kaitlin, a son, Colin, and two grandchildren, Miles and Andi.

Pictures from Get Troup Reading Summit

Juvenile Court Judge Michael Key discussing the effects of Trauma on Young children at Get Troup Reading Summit

Dr. Roy Nichols and Dr. George Henry during Table Top activity

State Representative Randy Nix giving his presentation at Get Troup Reading