Resource List - Articles on ACEs/trauma-informed schools

Trauma is Messy

I will always remember the day that, as a student teacher, I watched as a student entered my second-grade room covered in blood. After quickly establishing that he was not injured, we learned that the blood was that of his brother who had been shot the night before. No parents were around that night, so this second grader became the sole caregiver of his bleeding brother. My student would never be the same. We didn’t care about grades or test scores. We just knew that this moment would...

Someone San Diego Should Know: Educator’s emphasis is learning students’ needs (sandiegouniontribune.com)

The increase in hate- and discrimination-motivated incidents in the United States has a major impact on children and their learning journey. These traumatic incidents are the leading factors in childhood trauma, because they pose a threat to the child’s life or bodily integrity. Childhood trauma is also identified as one of the barriers to high academic achievement and success for students. Yet, this issue has largely been ignored by our education system. Godwin Higa is trying to change...

How Schools Can Help Teachers Understand and Address Racial Bias (kqed.org)

As first period gets underway at Cambridge Street Upper School, veteran math teacher Stephen Abreu leads a small-group discussion. But the conversation isn’t about middle school algebra, and Abreu isn’t talking to students. Seven of his fellow teachers, nearly all of them white women, are sitting across from each other talking about race, white privilege and how their own biases affect their relationships with students. Each of Cambridge Street’s staff members participate in meetings just...

In professional development for online teachers, highlighting failure led the way to success (hechingerreport.org)

The Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, on the west side of Indianapolis, has gotten a fair amount of attention for personalizing the professional development it gives to teachers in its virtual high school and blended learning programs. The fact that voluntary professional development can attract 90 percent of teachers is seen as a wild success. It’s that success the district, and by extension, Michele Eaton, its director of virtual and blended learning, has been known for.

Analysis: What Two New Studies Reveal About Restorative Justice in Middle School — and How It Can Be Done Better (the74million.org)

Two RAND Corp. studies recently evaluated the use of restorative practices to strengthen relationships between students and teachers to build that connection to school. These include teachers and other adult staff soliciting thoughts and ideas from students when making decisions, such as developing classroom norms; expressing their feelings in response to students’ behavior; encouraging students to express and respect their and others’ feelings; addressing not just bad behavior but also the...

New study pushes Pa. to embrace trauma-informed education (whyy.org)

Even as school districts across the country become more aware of how these traumas can affect learning, there’s been little concrete policy on the state or federal level for how schools should prepare. A new study from the nonprofit Research for Action highlights “promising models” nationwide and calls on state lawmakers to implement a comprehensive approach in Pennsylvania. The study recommends that schools provide professional development that reflects the complexity and sensitivity of...

This teacher's viral 'check-in' board is a beautiful example of mental health support. (upworthy.com)

Update: We have found the teacher who originate the mental health check-in board! Kudos to Erin Castillo for the brilliant idea and for sharing how she's using it to help kids. She is offering a free download of the board as a poster along with instructions for utilizing it on Teachers Pay Teachers. Thanks, Erin! Excellent teachers do so much more than teach. They can be mentors, role models, guides, and even confidants. Sometimes a teacher is one of the only trusted adults in a child's...

Helping Students Overcome Toxic Stress through Science-Based Teaching Practices (stresshealth.org)

“What our students really crave the most is predictability from the adults interacting with them,” says Roger Sapp, a student success teacher at KIPP. For that reason, the one-on-one session is not a reward for being “good” or withheld if something bad happens. The kids who need it can count on it – every day. The scene is from a video by Edutopia (aka the George Lucas Educational Foundation), which has produced a series of more than 20 powerful, engaging shorts on how children learn in...

When Teens Threaten Violence, A Community Responds With Compassion (npr.org)

Psychologist John Van Dreal has spent almost 30 years working with troubled kids. Still, it's always unsettling to get the kind of phone call he received one morning eight years ago as he was on his way to a meeting. "I got a call from the assistant principal at North [Salem] High, reporting that a student had made some threats on the Internet," remembers Van Dreal, the director of safety and risk management for Salem-Keizer Public Schools in Salem, Ore. Studies have shown that students...

How to Build a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom Where All Learners Feel Safe (kqed.org)

Patricia Jennings, associate professor at the University of Virginia and author of the new book The Trauma-Sensitive Classroom , says that childhood trauma can have severe immediate and long-term consequences for students’ cognitive, social and emotional development. There is some hopeful news in the sobering research about kids and trauma. “We know enough about the science to know that teachers can make a huge difference,” said Jennings. “The school environment is one of the places where...

School Counselors: Unsung Heroes of School Climate (edweek.org)

In January 2016, my school embarked on a journey to pursue a trauma-informed approach to education primarily because the research and brain science is clear that trauma impacts brain development, behavior, academics, and even health outcomes. In addition, what we were doing was not working for anyone―our students or our staff. Our early conversations always included Dr. Beth Schroeder, our school counselor. She, like most school counselors, is an expert on intervention and supporting the...

Developing a Classroom Community Where Students Feel Safe to Talk (acsd.org)

Mathematical discourse is essential for deep mathematical learning. We often spend a lot of time teaching our students how to talk to one another with sentence stems, practiced conversations, and teacher talk moves. However, before we can even teach students how to talk, we must make sure that our classroom is a place where students feel comfortable talking. There are a few things that can be done at the beginning of the school year and throughout the year to make a classroom a safe...

Everyday trauma reshapes Rochester schools' approach to teaching and supervision [DemocratandChronicle.com]

Gerson Garcia had been fighting. It happened during second-grade recess, and had to do with a ball on the playground. He was too angry to talk about it. One of his friends had seen him getting upset and alerted a teacher, who whisked him down the hallway at Enrico Fermi School 17, the skinny 8-year-old squirming in protest all the way. He ended up in the office of school sentry Miguel Rivera and — still not speaking — made a beeline for the trampoline. When Rivera started working in the...

Jubilee Leadership Academy: Using ACEs Science to Transform School Culture

Students at JLA are reminded that change starts with themselves In 2004, after nearly a decade as program director at Jubilee Leadership Academy (JLA), a Christian alternative boarding school for troubled boys ages 13-18 in Prescott, WA, Rick Griffin decided to take a job in Phoenix, AZ, to work with adults with developmental disabilities. There, he began to see similarities between the issues they were having and what he saw in the kids at JLA. “There was a cognitive reason these adults I...

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