The first step for any school to create a trauma sensitive school community is careful and thoughtful consideration of the question how do we know we are ready?
The Learning Community Blog features guest contributors and an ongoing discussion with Learning Community Members
Since the release of the video last fall, we received a large number of requests to share the video. Many who contacted us let us know that there was a desire to start a trauma-sensitive schools discussion in their own communities. In response to these requests, we developed a discussion guide to go along with the video.
The Flexible Framework is an organizational tool that enables schools and districts—in collaboration with families, local community organizations, and outside providers—to maintain a whole school focus as they create trauma sensitive schools.
Educators and administrators in a trauma-sensitive school do their best to adapt to challenges flexibly and proactively so that the equilibrium of the school is maintained despite inevitable shifts and changes.
Trauma-sensitive schools help all staff to feel like they are part of a strong and supportive professional community that shares responsibility for each and every child while working as a team to address the impact of trauma on learning.
In a trauma-sensitive school, the school explicitly connects students to the school community and provides multiple opportunities to for students to practice newly developing skills.
A trauma-sensitive school addresses students’ needs in holistic ways, taking into account their relationships, self-regulation, academic competence, and physical and emotional well-being. Within the school, there is recognition that these domains are inextricably linked and an understanding of the critical role they play in helping students succeed.
We have been hard at work updating and improving the format and content of our learning community and we appreciate your patience as we launch this effort. This summer, we are in the beginning phase of establishing our learning community and plan to have more robust content by the fall of 2016.
The second common attribute of a trauma-sensitive school is that the school supports all students to feel safe-physically, socially, emotionally, and academically. A child’s traumatic response, and the associated difficulty in learning, are often rooted in real or perceived threats to his or her safety, undermining their fundamental sense of well-being. Because of this, it is important to ensure that students feel safe, not just in their classrooms but also on the playground, in the hallway, in the cafeteria, on the bus, in the gym, and on the walk to and from school.
The first attribute of a trauma-sensitive school is that leadership and staff share an understanding of trauma’s impacts on learning and the need for a school-wide approach. This awareness is the critical first step in creating a trauma-sensitive school. All staff—educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, and paraprofessionals—should understand that adverse experiences in the lives of children are exceedingly common and that the impact of these experiences on child development can play a major role in the learning, behavioral, and relationship difficulties faced by many students.