We are thrilled to share with you this short video highlighting one middle/high school’s journey to create a trauma-sensitive, safe and supportive school. Highlighted in the video are the ways in which this school embraces parent engagement and student voice to help guide their efforts to create a vibrant learning community where all staff work together to create a school that embodies the values of safety, trusting relationships, connection, equity, belonging, and adaptability.
The Learning Community Blog features guest contributors and an ongoing discussion with Learning Community Members
Everyone knows what it feels like not to belong, not to be welcome. Sometimes we feel rejected, left out, or hurt by lost friendships and partner relations. Now scientific literature corroborates that social rejection affects the brain in similar ways that physical pain does. Social rejection really does hurt! This is important information to consider as schools reopen, whether remotely or in person, especially for students who may already feel a lack of belonging or are marginalized.
Research on trauma-sensitive schools provides timely insights for educating students during this time of unprecedented crises. Boston University researchers completed “An Evaluation of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative’s (TLPI) Inquiry-Based Process: Year Three.” The report evaluated the efficacy and sustainability of the trauma-sensitive culture changes that occurred in three demonstration schools that used TLPI’s inquiry-based process.
In our recent interviews, trauma-sensitive school leaders pointed to the importance of teamwork, collaboration, and staff cohesion for mitigating stress and helping educators feel effective and empowered.
Given the stress and the potentially traumatic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, predictable and consistent routines are critically important in helping students feel calm and comfort in the face of stress.
Trauma-sensitive school leaders spoke to the critical role that parents and care givers are playing in this time of remote learning. Educators are now working closely with parents and caregivers in new ways, often supporting them as collaborating co-teachers. They shared the wonderful examples of how elementary school educators are inviting families to join the learning.
Educators share the questions that they use to guide their COVID-19 response and how they are addressing their most urgent priorities in trauma-sensitive and culturally responsive ways.
Recently TLPI convened a group of trauma-sensitive school leaders to listen to the many ways in which they are using the trauma lens to buffer the traumatic effects of these challenges and guide their work in these difficult times.
Recently, two noted neuropsychological experts, Dr. Stephanie Monaghan-Blout and Dr. Nancy Roosa of Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents (NESCA), delivered an online presentation titled “Autism and Trauma: The Intersection” that provides some very helpful insights for understanding how neurodiverse students may react to traumatic stress.
Beginning this week, TLPI staff will be working remotely in response to the public health emergency resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue operations by responding to e-mails, phone calls and website requests as normal, but will be doing so from outside our office. As we began preparing for this transition, we grappled with how to stay connected as a team and thought it might be helpful to schools and districts to create an opportunity to join us in thinking through how to maintain the strong sense of community that exists in trauma-sensitive, safe and supportive schools when the schools have been shut down.