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Empowering Educators to Transform Into Trauma-Informed Schools

By: 3BL Media

Author: Stephanie A. Powell, a School Library Media Specialist at Green Level High School in the Wake County Public School System of North Carolina

SOURCE: Discovery Education


Today’s educators have one of the hardest jobs in the world. On any given day, they are asked to serve not only as teachers, but as coaches, artists, translators, and a host of other roles, as well.

But the hardest role today’s teachers take on is counselor, as the COVID pandemic has had a tremendous impact on student mental health. According to a 2020 report from Mental Health America, there’s been a rise in depression and suicidal thoughts for kids – more than half of teens 11 to 17 report suicidal thoughts. 

This is no surprise to educators who, every day, find that many of their students are struggling with self-esteem, relationship issues, anxiety, and general stress. The COVID pandemic has interrupted students’ continuity of learning, left them missing friends and school, and deprived them of the normalcy and connections of sports and activities. Unfortunately, in some cases, the pandemic has forced students to deal with additional hardships including job losses in their families, sickness, and death.

Students dealing with these issues may have difficulty paying attention in classes or doing homework. It’s important we develop strategies to better understand trauma-informed care and help students reconnect and enjoy academic success now and in the future.

With on-demand digital learning modules from Ready, Set, RISE! – a unique virtual initiative from Kaiser Permanente, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and Discovery Education – all teachers are empowered to understand the importance of human connection and empathy in schools. The initiative helps schools support trauma-informed instruction by addressing topics such as: 

  • Healthy environments and response to trauma in schools 
  • Understanding trauma and stress 
  • Cultural humility and equity 
  • Safety and predictability 
  • Compassion and dependability 
  • Empowerment and collaboration 
  • Resilience and social-emotional learning

The series of no-cost professional learning modules provides educators with a foundational understanding of trauma-informed educational practices and policies that I can use to create more student-centered learning environments.

The newly released “Transforming into a Trauma-Informed School” module provides educators with strategies to better understand how to transform their school into a trauma-informed school through implementation science. The module empowers educators to connect and prepare students for academic success in school today and in the future. By the end of the on-demand professional learning module, educators can:

  • Describe the phases of implementation
  • Recognize the different roles of a RISE leadership team
  • Apply readiness techniques to understand their school's readiness, urgency, and fit to begin integration within their school

We are living in unprecedented times. As educators, our jobs have never been more complex. For our students, there are more uncertainties than normal. By building a space with an intentional focus on safety and predictability, we are increasing our students’ feelings of security, allowing them to focus more on learning. Regardless of the location, safe, predictable, empowering, and collaborative spaces are beneficial for all students and educators, especially those experiencing high stress or trauma. With the resources from Ready, Set, RISE!, educators anywhere can help ensure that the learning environments they create are fit for all students.

Tweet me: Teachers find that many of their students are struggling with self-esteem, relationship issues, anxiety, and general stress. With strategies @KPThrive and @HealthierGen, educators can understand how to transform their school into a trauma-informed school>>

KEYWORDS: NYSE:DISCA, discovery education, trauma-informed care

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