Spotlight on Tennessee ACEs Initiative with WCTE, part 2

Posted by Kate Spears on

This week on the Get Ready To Learn radio show, host Cindy Putman welcomes WCTE’s own Brent Clark and Becky Magura for a special conversation about the ACEs project that WCTE has recently finished. The project includes a documentary series that will premiere in February on WCTE and on PBS stations across the state.

ACEs The Tennessee Story deals with helping people understand the impact that ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) have on a person’s ability to be successful and healthy in his or her life. Clark & Magura attended the NETA conference in Washington, D.C. and were privileged to hear author J.D. Vance, best-selling author of Hillbilly Elegy share about his experiences growing up in poverty in rural middle America.

Magura had previously read his book and shared a passage that Vance wrote which deals with ACEs. In his autobiographical work, Vance describes what it was like to be part of a family in Appalachia where things like abuse, drug addiction and poverty were the norm.

While writing his book, Vance researched ACEs extensively, including the data that shows how these experiences are linked to chemical changes in a child’s brain. Children who have these experiences exist in a perpetual state of “fight or flight” even where there is no conflict to speak of.

And new research shows that American working class families experience a level of relationship instability not found anywhere else in the world.

“Chaos begets chaos,” Vance writes. “Instability begets instability. Welcome to family life for the American hillbilly.”

Putman, who is a certified ACEs trainer, notes that everyone has an ACEs score, which is determined by the number of adverse experiences encountered between birth and 18 years of age. 

Curious what your ACEs score might be? Click here to learn more. However, Putman wants to make it clear that while each person’s score is fact, it’s not your fate. If your ACEs score is high, there are resources in your community where you can get help.

The more we understand childhood trauma, the better we are able to serve the children in our communities. Anyone who works with children, from school counselors to teachers and other educators can benefit from learning more about ACEs.

The six-part documentary series that WCTE produced for the State of Tennessee covers a range of topics that explain and provide solutions for addressing ACEs. WCTE’s production team traveled across the state interviewing educators, faith-based community members, community organizations, social workers, and people who had overcome high ACEs scores.

Clark and Putman have worked closely on the documentary and are anxious to share it with viewers on the following dates:

Thursday, February 1st

  • Episode #1 at 7pm - ACEs and Their Effects

  • Episode #2 at 7:30pm -The Role of Stress


Sunday, February 4th

  • Encore Episode #1 at 5pm - ACEs and Their Effects

  • Encore Episode #2 at 5:30pm - The Role of Stress


Thursday, February 8th

  • Episode #3 at 7pm - Fact not Fate

  • Episode #4 at 7:30pm - Building a Strong Foundation


Sunday, February 11th

  • Encore Episode #3 at 5pm - Fact not Fate

  • Encore Episode #4 at 5:30pm - Building a Strong Foundation


Thursday, February 15th

  • Episode #5 at 7pm - Community Involvement

  • Episode #6 at 7:30pm - Initiatives and Solutions


Sunday, February 18th

  • Encore Episode #5 at 5pm - Community Involvement

  • Encore Episode #6 at 5:30p - Initiatives and Solutions


For additional information about topics discussed on WCTE’s Get Ready To Learn Radio Show contact Cindy Putman or Kristy Keeling at 931-528-2222 ext # 300


Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM.

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WCTE’s Educational Team can customize workshops or professional development trainings for your group or organization. For workshop information, or to inquire about scheduling a workshop, call 921-528-2222 x. 227 or email us.

Topics are listed below:

  • Using Media as a learning tool
  • Using PBS kids apps to extend learning
  • How to be your child’s first teacher
  • Sesame Street Workshops
  • How does poverty effect a child’s brain
  • Literacy and Math
  • Brain Development

Workshops can be conducted in English and Spanish.