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Adaptive Schools and Trauma Informed Practices

Author: John Matich, Training Associate and member of the Thinking Collaborative Futures Team

.....In a trauma-informed school, the adults in the school community are prepared to recognize and respond to those who have been impacted by traumatic stress (ACEs). In addition, students are provided with clear expectations and communication strategies to guide them through stressful situations. The goal is to not only provide tools to cope with extreme situations but to create an underlying culture of respect and support.

Garmston and Wellman say that “the quality of adult interactions mediate outcomes for students.” As adaptive educators, we also know that this is true for interactions with and among students and it must exist on an ongoing basis if we are to create a respectful and supportive school culture. As collaborators, inquirers, and leaders, this is part of our DNA.

Trauma-sensitive practices are not just “another thing,” they are the thing. When we employ Adaptive Schools strategies with the intention of creating safe and robust learning environments, we are living a philosophy of care and respect.

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As a district staff are trained to use the Adaptive Schools work, it is great to see how this programs is supporting a trauma informed mindset.  It will be hugely beneficial for staff to see how Adaptive Schools and other strategies aren't all "stand-alone" and actually interweave to provide supports for students.

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