In local districts...
A focus on trauma informed professional development in August
In the David Douglas SD, Lincoln Park Elementary pooled resources to provide beginning of the year staff training. Hannah Snyder, School Counselor there, shares her reflections on the experience.
What resources did you pull together for this training?
HS: We used a combination of the Sanctuary model that Trillium uses and County/DCI materials to form the backbone of our presentation, plus bits and bobs from the Internet. It was structured roughly into thirds. The first third was an introduction to trauma and the brain, led by Trillium. Then I led some table activities around DCIs trauma-informed educator rubric and practices to implement in the classroom. We ended with self-care, a staff wellness challenge, and some success stories shared by teachers.
DCI: How are you following up?
Coming out of this workshop, we plan to continue this work in several ways. Both classified and certified staff will receive monthly follow-up trainings with specific language and strategies to use with students. Our Trillium therapist is using some of her prevention hours to hold office hours before school and has already had some customers! I'm going to be focusing on self-regulation in my classroom guidance, especially in the primary grades. Our staff has become more trauma-informed, and has made a commitment to supporting our students with trauma-informed practices. I'm so glad all the pieces came together this way!
In the Reynolds SD, the Pre Instructional Conference (PIC) brought together nearly all of the district's credentialed staff for two days of sessions. Defending Childhood contributed by providing 8 sessions over the two days, providing nearly 160 RSD staff with an overview of trauma informed teaching. Chau Le, Program Coordinator with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization's youth academic program, talks about her experience co facilitating this training.
Why is training on this topic important when considering the immigrant and refugee students you work with?
When students act out or disengage in school, I hope teachers might look deeper at root causes. Dig and look deeper and find more understanding; ask more questions. Domestic violence and child abuse, in immigrant and refugees communities, might be unspoken but very common. Newcomers might have refugee camp experiences or seen war affect their families.
Can you think of a client story of resiliency that motivates you?
CL: A girl I worked with experienced DV at home and moved in with another student. The school was alerted and I helped translate and support the students when she met with the school counselor. Her mother participated in IRCO's Family and Community Engagement Services (FACEs) and was connected to IRCO's domestic violence program. Throughout all this, the student stayed in school and connected to safe adults.
Multnomah County School Based Mental Health Consultant (MHC) Laura Eccles recently trained all MHCs in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).
DCI: How did this training need bubble up for MHCs?
LE: The school based team treats kids and families in schools in 5 districts and over 40 schools. Our team finds that many kids have experienced multiple types of traumatic events and their functioning and school performance is greatly impacted. We see that many of these students have high absenteeism, behavior problems, and attention problems that show up in classrooms frequently.
DCI: What is Trauma-focused CBT?
LE: TF-CBT is a proven short term treatment model that helps kids and their caregivers understand how trauma has impacted them, develop healthy coping skills and reduce overall trauma symptoms that are directly interfering with learning.