September 2015 
trauma informed SCHOOLS IN FOCUS

Trauma informed schools in focus 
This is the debut edition of the Trauma Informed Schools In Focus newsletter. Why you are receiving this update? Because you are either a local Defending Chidlhood 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.  
IN DCI news....
Debuting the new Defending Childhood Initiative website!

DCI's shiny, new site went live on September 18th. The 'Take Action' tab is filled with resources for educators, health care professionals, social service providers, family members and neighbors. The Educator tab includes much of the work completed last school year by the Multnomah County trauma informed schools advisory group. 

  See the new site HERE
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.  

DCI: 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? 

HS 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.

DCI: Why is training on this topic important when considering the immigrant and refugee students you work with?

CLWhen 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.

DCI: 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. 
In the media.... 
A collection of reporting, blog posts, and essays from the last month.  

When Home is Tough: NPR

Nice description of a school in the Bronx who, through partnership, aim to make students feel safe enough to learn.


What Teachers aren't Learning: The Huffington Post blog

A teacher reflects on his [lack of?] preparation for classroom behavior management.


Childhood Trauma: Disability or Injustice: ACES Connection  

This essay provides commentary on the recent class action lawsuit filed against the Compton Unified SD by students who claim their education needs were not addressed due to a lack of awareness of the impact on trauma.


Documentary puts focus on Lincoln, work to help kids with trauma: Union-Bulletin

A description of the Paper Tigers documentary, which covers the work of Jim Sporlender to make an  alternative school in Walla Walla, WA trauma-informed.


I thought about quitting today: Teaching Tolerance Magazine

A teacher describes how a combination of approaches - response to trauma, restorative justice, mindfulness and vicarious resilience - helped increase her sense of safety following a physical assault by one of her students. 

multnomah county trauma informed schools advisory group 

Interested in providing guidance on trauma informed strategies happening in schools county-wide? The advisory group is composed of representatives from districts across the County. Themes for 2015/2016 including 'train the trainer' models, building readiness for this work and further inclusion of educational equity into school based trauma informed practice. 

The next meeting is Monday, October 26th from 4:00-5:30PM. Contact for more details. 
Kate Gigler | Defending Childhood Initiative | 503-988-2402 |