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First-of-its-kind school in Colorado is dedicated to mental health, helps students transition into traditional classroom

First-of-its-kind school in Colorado is dedicated to mental health, helping students
First-of-its-kind school in Colorado is dedicated to mental health, helping students 02:30

Last month, Cherry Creek Schools opened a first-of-its-kind facility that is dedicated to treatment and support. Traverse Academy is also getting a little support, this time from the community. 

"They are reporting liking being here, they're feeling safe here, we're seeing really good progress in the students here," said Traverse Academy principal Kim Avalos. 

Traverse Academy is focused on mental health to support students in Colorado.  CBS

The facility serves students facing a mental health crisis. Along with intense outpatient therapy, Traverse Academy helps students transition back into a traditional classroom. 

"That's what really makes us very, very unique. We have other programs outside of the district that may focus on therapeutic pieces but that transition piece has often lacked for the majority of our students," said Avalos. 

When Ken Tuchman learned about the school's approach to mental health support, he jumped at the chance to pitch in. 

"To me, we're at a crisis level and the sooner we can get involved with dealing with this - 4th grade to 12th grade - it's going to allow us to have a much more productive society," said Ken Tuchman, co-founder of the Tuchman Family Foundation.

Traverse Academy in Cherry Creek Schools is a firt-of-its-kind school focusing on mental health.  CBS

The Tuchman Family Foundation donated 100 welcome and so-called launch bags, each filled with sensory toys, puzzles, pens and other mindfulness tools to help students while they're at the school and after they leave. 

The generous gift tugs at the heart of Avalos, "The stigmas these kids face, the misunderstandings that are out there... it's really cool to send them a different message."

"You see these kids hurt. I've seen them hurt for a really long time. I've seen families have to navigate really, really difficult situations, red tape... so to be able to offer something like this in my lifetime and their lifetime, it's pretty incredible," said Avalos. 

Traverse Academy serves Cherry Creek Schools students in grades 4 through 12. About one dozen are currently enrolled and the school plans to welcome more in the coming weeks.  

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