November 2015 
trauma informed SCHOOLS IN FOCUS

Trauma informed schools in focus 
This is the November 2015 edition of the Trauma Informed Schools In Focus newsletter.  Why are you receiving this update? Because you are either a local Defending Childhood Initiative (DCI) partner or a leader in implementing trauma informed projects in your district, building or agency. This bimonthly newsletter will feature general DCI news, updates from local districts and a collection of media stories from the past month highlighting issues related to addressing trauma in schools, positive behavior supports and educational equity.  

Thank you to Rachel O'Rourke, Multnomah County School Based Mental Health Consultant, for the student artwork that you see featured here. More information on her approach is below.  
in dci news...  

As the learning on how to most effectively implement trauma informed professional development initiatives within school settings develops, the need to thoroughly weave in racial equity is a priority. Here in Multnomah County the conversation on how to do that is being furthered at the district level within Portland Public Schools and the Reynolds School District. In RSD, professional development on this topic is underway at four schools, and will move into a 'Learning Collaborative' phase in the spring. 

C. Centae Richards, the RSD Director of Equity and Compliance, contributed his thoughts on why the partnership with DCI is housed within the Equity department:  Reynolds School District is committed to engendering and maintaining a sense of safety and emotional well-being for our teachers and students.  The Trauma Informed Learning Practices Collaborative supports the district's equity goals by providing opportunities for staff to understand and apply best practices related to mitigating the effects of childhood trauma in the classroom.
In local districts... 
One story of generational trauma

As part of Defending Childhood's training content, we are working to broaden the definition of trauma to include content on experiencing racism as a form of trauma. This type of trauma is often repeated over time by both formal institutional policies and informal practice, and over generations of people and family members. 

DCI values the opportunity to have local dialogue on this topic with organizations like Resolutions NW, which work in schools to dismantle practices that lead to educational disparities based on race, such as disproportionate use of exclusionary discipline. 

In Local Districts....
Arts Based REstorative Justice 

Multnomah County School Based Mental Health Consultants work all over the County to provide critical mental health interventions. 

Rachel O Rourke, a Mental Health Consultant placed at Reynolds Middle School, takes a particularly creative approach to working with her students. See Rachel's description of her work here; thanks to her and the students she works with for sharing their creativity!
In the media.... 
Trauma informed approaches to end the school to prison pipeline? 
multnomah county trauma informed schools advisory group 

The advisory group has established its path for the school year and will be focusing on the following topics: 
  • Jan 25 - Teacher coaching and support 
  • Feb 22 - Restorative Justice and equity intersections 
  • Mar 28 - Trauma informed supports for parents
  • Apr 25 - Arts based interventions 
  • May 23 - Body based interventions 
Contact for more details. 
Kate Gigler | Defending Childhood Initiative | 503-988-2402 |