June 2019
Newsletter of the Center for Educational Improvement
Building Resiliency Through Compassionate School Communities
Dear Educators,

We've been hearing great stories about the work school leaders are doing to build resiliency and compassion, two attributes that help students grow as learners and people. We know that as trauma continues to affect our communities, we need to ensure that our schools are safe spaces where students can thrive. Read about how the Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative is bringing expert advice to schools around the country and how you can get involved.
Fears of Compassion
By Vien Nguyen, CEI Intern
A teacher colleague of mine said her first year in urban teaching “set her nerves on fire.” Every day she felt equal parts excited, exhausted, and determined. Many new teachers are overwhelmed and suffer from “empathic distress,” misguidedly neglecting their own needs in a “noble” effort to educate their students. Chronically stressed teachers treat students more harshly than they intend and often burn out within the first few years (Hill, 2011). Similarly, when a child experiences ongoing trauma and their basic psychological needs are not met, they have less energy to offer a hug or a kind word to a peer in need. 

Kicking Off a Year of Growing Together in the Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative
By Dana Asby, CEI Director of Innovation and Research Support, and Haley Sirota, CEI Intern

On April 29th, the Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative (C-TLC) had its kick-off event, which highlighted the complexities behind the effects of trauma on child development and learning. Presenters who have worked with the Center for Educational Improvement to deliver high quality professional development opportunities for many years provided an overview of the effect of trauma in schools on both students and educators and introduced the most recent research about trauma and child development. 

Resiliency in Students
By Didi Dunin, CEI Intern 

Unfortunately, not all children grow up in a healthy environment with nurturing caregivers and positive role models. Many children endure social, cultural, racial, physical, and/or economic hardships that influence their opportunities, experiences, behavior patterns, and worldviews. If caregivers and educators do not intervene, these adversities can lead to social and psychological problems such as drug abuse, unwanted pregnancies, dropping out of school, or suicide. 


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Improving Mental Health in Schools

T he Yale University Program for Recovery and Community Health  and the Center for Educational Improvement invite school leaders in the New England region to learn more about the Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative.

Applicable States:
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

"There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about." – Margaret J. Wheatley

Neuroscience research, experts in trauma, and school leaders all agree: Building compassionate communities in our schools by infusing mindfulness into the school day can transform the lives of students, teachers, administrators, and even parents. We must first look inward and take care of ourselves so we have the drive to create a compassionate community of learners.

Christine Mason
Executive Director
Center for Educational Improvement