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Pam Bunyon faced the 4th graders, some splayed in chairs but most arrayed on the rug before her. On the whiteboard, she showed them the outline of a human head.

Next to it were some big words for the 9- and 10-year-olds: Cortex. Amygdala. Brain stem.

Bunyon, the counselor at Powel Elementary School, was using science to help students understand their impulses and give them strategies to deal with them. “So we don’t flip out,” as she and the class put it.  

Bunyon took classes on anger, understanding the teen brain, discipline strategies, and trauma. All imparted a trauma-sensitive approach and were driven by brain science.

“Whenever they’re in an elevated brain state, they don’t have access to their cognitive abilities,” she said..”We have to meet them where they are and make sure they understand they are safe so they have access to cognition.”

To read more of Dale Mezzacappa's article, please click here.

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Do you know a ‘Danny’ or an ‘Ashley’, struggling socially, emotionally, and academically?

Government officials call it an epidemic, a crisis. Public health research points to early death by as much as 20 years.  “It impacts 2 out of 3 children at some level, but I didn’t even know what it was…” A teacher shares frustration and tools to grow awareness.

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