In the Face of Trauma

My wife, Leslie, and I were foster parents for 5 years. During those years, we had a couple foster placements who were able to be reunified with their family, and three of our five children were adopted from foster care. I invited my wife to join me on this blog post to add her voice and perspective to the necessary awareness of meeting the educational and emotional needs of children who have been impacted by trauma.

A few weeks ago, 60 Minutes had a segment on the impact of trauma on children. An increasing amount of research, literature and media around trauma-informed care, trauma-informed classroom management, Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) and Adverse Childhood Experiences surveys (ACEs) has been made available to the public and incorporated into mainstream practices in pediatricians offices and school classrooms over recent years.

We've implemented trauma-informed care in our home for years, starting when we first became licensed as foster parents. Trauma-infor…

Repair: Relationship Restoration in Response to Student Decisions

“It’s relationships, not programs that change children...Young people thrive when adults care about them on a one-to-one level, and when they have a sense of belonging to a caring community.” -Bill Milliken
When I (Joshua) was an elementary student, I got into a fight with another student after gym class in the locker room. Our coach quickly broke us up and I was immediately sent to the principal’s office. The principal brought me into his office and told me that fighting wasn’t allowed in school. As my punishment, I missed recess for a week and I was required to write, “I will not fight at school” one thousand times. The principal and my coach never asked why I was involved in a fight or how we were going to fix the problem. The school identified a rule that was broken, responded with discipline and moved on.

Unfortunately, the teacher and the principal didn’t seek to uncover the issues that led to the fight. If they had asked, they would have discovered that after gym class, a clas…

Emphasize the Light

"Dare to reach out your hand in darkness, to pull another hand into the light." 
- Norman B. Rice
In education, like many other professions, it is easy to be inundated with the daily grind of stress, pressure and negative feelings. As a student, teacher and administrator, often we find ourselves frustrated and doubting our abilities. In our schools, we emphasize the importance of building strong relationships, both with students and staff. It is through these relationships that we are not only able to build connections, we are setting the table to allow learning to happen. As in any relationship, we need to remember that time needs to be invested. Time to not only learn with someone but time to celebrate the learning that is happening.

If I (Roman) go back to my experience as a student, I can vividly remember my experiences as a learner. I listened in class, I studied, filled out the assessment and got back my corrected copy. Based on the amount of red ink on my paper, I was ab…