Hi All. 

I work for a partnership of charitable foundations in the UK, and we are interested in bringing ACEs awareness and practice into our schools to improve the support for all young people. 

As part of this work, we would love to hear your thoughts as teachers, educationalists or experts on:

  1. What were the barriers in your school/professional environment to working in an ACE-informed way ?
  2. How did you overcome these barriers ?
  3. What day-to-day changes are you seeing in your work? (either in terms of better support or better outcomes for young people)


Thank you so much for your time and consideration. If you are able to discuss in any more detail, we would deeply appreciate the opportunity to discuss on a call/Skype.

John, Impact Incubator, Social Finance UK


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I think the biggest barrier is the state education policies in place that prevent us from truly focusing on the trauma/ACE informed practices.  I am seeing a push to train teachers, but honestly, we also (desperately) need to train/inform elected officials, state education employees and policymakers the most.! I am trying to find ways to not only train teachers but encourage schools to take the training outside of the school buildings to the ones who really need it.  I like the model of the Center for Youth Wellness's Policymaker Education Day and hope to see more groups and schools imitating it.  Day to day changes I'm seeing... finally allowing student trauma/stress to enter the conversation in terms of how to help children. As someone who has worked in three different high poverty school  districts in three different states over the past twenty years, it used to be that teachers were almost forbidden in school settings (not an exaggeration) from talking about children's lives outside of school as having an impact on their learning. Now it is at least a part of the conversation, but we need to move past the "teacher training" model to also include policymakers and state lawmakers.

Hi John,

I'm a psychologist working with a team of educators (in a large Canadian public school system with 250+ schools) tasked with integrating trauma-informed practice into school communities. Over the last ten years, we have taken various approaches to the work and we are currently working with 25 high schools in a Learning Collaborative. In creating the Collaborative, we borrowed from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's Learning Collaborative Toolkit.  We successfully completed year one and we are in the process structuring year two based on lessons learned and feedback from participants/schools.

Schools and School Districts are constantly being asked to do more with less. This means  we need innovative approaches to addressing  the various barriers that exist when tackling  complex issues related to supporting staff and students  while staying in our wheel house of teaching and learning.  As such we are always open to exploring new approaches as this work requires out-of-the box thinking and innovation. To that end, we have engaged community partners and consultants  as Faculty who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Collaborative  Together we are working to translate theory into practice. 

You can find the NCTSN's Learning Collaborative Toolkit online and if you'd like to learn more about about our work, I'd be happy to connect with you directly. 

Margaret Casey, R.Psych.



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