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Building Resilient Children by Creating Compassionate Schools

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Courtesy Buncombe County Schools

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Building Resilient Children by Creating Compassionate Schools

  1. 1. Building Resilient Children by Creating Compassionate Schools Presented by: David Thompson, Director of Student Services, Buncombe County Schools (David.Thompson@bcsemail.org, )
  2. 2. Profile of Buncombe County Schools • 6 Attendance Areas – 25,000 students; 43 schools • 1 HS, 1-2 Middle Schools, 3-5 Elementary Schools • 3 Areas have Intermediate Schools, housing 5th and 6th graders • Ethnicity: 73% White, 15% Hispanic, 7% Black, 5% Other • 500-600 Homeless Students • 55.5% Free and Reduced Lunch • Over 71 Languages Spoken
  3. 3. CLASS Grant Second Step Curriculum DESSA Academic, Attendance and Discipline data PBIS/MTSS Compassionate Schools CRM Training Comprehensive School Counseling Program Additional Counselor FTE
  4. 4. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
  5. 5. Brain Stem
  6. 6. Flip the Lid (Hand Model of the Brain) Make a Fist with your thumb tucked inside your fingers. This is a model of your brain. Thumb = Midbrain (Stem & Limbic) = Emotional Brain. This is where emotions and memories are processed. This is where the fight, flight & freeze is triggered. Fingers = Cerebral Cortex = Rational Brain. Houses our ability to think and reason. Fingernails = Prefrontal Cortex = Problem-Solving When something triggers us, we are prone to “Flip our Lid” which means the Prefrontal Cortex (Fingernails) have a very poor connection with the Midbrain (Thumb), and we’re not able to access the logical, problem- solving part of our brain. Our emotions are overriding our ability to think clearly. -Dr. Dan Siegal
  7. 7. BRAIN RULE # 8 Stressed brains don’t’ learn in the same way that non stressed brains do.
  8. 8. Fight, Flight, or Freeze? • Uncharacteristic crying • Poor grades • Threats • Confusion • Neediness • Truancy • Breaking rules • Drinking alcohol, doing drugs. • Shutting down • Unable to articulate thoughts/feelings • Clinging • Far-fetched explanations or excuses • Distracted • Abrupt change in friendships • Physical aggression • Isolating
  9. 9. • Unpredictability (sudden changes) • Transitions • Loss of control • Vulnerability • Rejection • Loneliness • Over stimulation • Intimacy • Quiet • Calm • Confrontation Common Triggers for Children who have Experienced Trauma
  10. 10. ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES CONSEQUENCES OF BIOLOGICAL OUTCOMES COGNITIVE •Slowed language development •Attention problems (ADD/ADHD) •Speech delay •Poor verbal memory/recall •Loss of brain matter/IQ
  11. 11. 15
  12. 12. The Classroom is for Teaching But what happens when 43% of students can’t learn with traditional methods?
  13. 13. ACEs and School Performance Students with 3 or more ACEs… Are 2 ½ times more likely to fail a grade Score lower on standardized tests Have language difficulties Are suspended or expelled more Are designated to special education more frequently Have poorer health and miss more days of school 17 http://www.k12.wa.us/CompassionateSchools/Resources
  14. 14. Paradigm Shift • Understanding that trauma is not a cognitive experience, but a sensory one, dictates strategies that immediately restore, to victims, a sense of safety and renewed sense of empowerment/control in the face of fear and uncertainty generated by the incident. • Reduction of the arousal level is critical to the restoration of pre-trauma cognitive processes, learning functions, behavior and performance.
  15. 15. A shift in thinking from “What’s wrong with you?” (Reacting) to “What happened to you?” (Responding) Resilient students need resilient teachers.
  16. 16. • A student’s ability to attach • A student’s social emotional development – Communication and Connectedness – Empathy, Compassion & Respect • Emotional regulation – Hopeless, inability to impact world – Unsure of needs or how to get them met • Cognition and language – Survival trumps exploration and growth (e.g. learning) • Executive functioning: Sustaining Attention and Working memory, Reasoning and problem-solving; Planning and task flexibility. Adversity/Trauma Impacts:
  17. 17. What This Tells Us • As long as a student is not feeling safe and in control, this aroused state makes it difficult to process verbal information, attend, focus, retain and recall. • Intervention designed to deactivate the arousal state and return the student to a sense of safety and a sense of power or control, helps to restore previous cognitive and behavioral patterns. • The most immediate, short-term and long-term intervention, therefore, must be designed to restore that sense of safety and control.
  18. 18. Why use the PBIS Triangle for Traumatized Students?
  19. 19. Students need: • Inspiration • High standards—sense of empowerment • Boundaries and structure (helps them feel safe) • Authentic choices and a sense of control • Support for transitions between home and school • The chance to learn and practice social and emotional competencies When you think of a child impacted by a life of adversity and stress – these attributes are scarce. What we know
  20. 20. Compassionate School A school where staff and students learn to be aware of the challenges faced by others. They respond to the physical, social, academic and emotional challenges faced by students and families by offering support and guidance to remove barriers to learning – without judgment.
  21. 21. The Goals of a Compassionate School To provide a safe, supportive, and Inspirational environment for learning and thriving in order for students to develop: Self-regulation the means by which an individual internally manages themselves in order to attain their goals, Resiliency adaptability to navigate challenges Executive function organizes the efforts to make things happen – “make good choices.” Social/Emotional competencies how we get along with each other and how we feel about ourselves.
  22. 22. Chapter 1: Trauma, Compassion, and Resiliency: Background and Definitions Chapter 2: Self-Care: An Ethical Obligation for Those Who Care Chapter 3: Instructional Principles, Curricular Domains and Specific Strategies for Compassionate Classrooms Chapter 4: Building Compassionate School-Community Partnerships That Work Chapter 5: Examples of Compassion, Resiliency, and Academic Success Direct From the Field Chapter 6: Resources Chapter Titles
  23. 23. Ten Strategies of a Compassionate School 1. Focus on culture and climate in the school and community. 2. Train and support all staff regarding trauma and learning. 3. Encourage and sustain open and regular communication for all. 4. Develop a strengths based approach in working with students and peers. 5. Ensure discipline policies are both compassionate and effective (Restorative Practices). 6. Weave compassionate strategies into school improvement planning. 7. Provide tiered support for all students based on what they need. 8. Create flexible accommodations for diverse learners. 9. Provide access, voice, and ownership for staff, students and community. 10.Identify vulnerable students and outcomes and strategies
  24. 24. • Ask, “What is going on with you?” followed by “How have you handled that in the past?” • Give kids other ways of thinking about things • Remember brain is in “survival mode” and we have to help them get to “thinking mode.” • Relationship is the foundation for learning • Ask kids questions that allow them to contribute. -Julian Ford, University of Connecticut
  25. 25. Building Resiliency in Children • My Definition: Ensuring that all children learn the important social emotional, self- regulation, academic, and work skills necessary to be able to face whatever life challenges come their way and still have positive outcomes. NCDPI says: READY relating to ready for College and Career Compassionate Schools prepares students for LIFE!
  26. 26. Second Step Curriculum by Committee for Children • 4 Units • Skills for Learning • Focusing Attention & Listening, Using Self-Talk • Empathy • Identifying Others Feelings, Understanding Perspectives • Emotional Management • Managing Embarrassment, managing anxious feelings, managing anger • Problem Solving • Solving Problems, Being Assertive
  27. 27. DESSA SSE Deveraux Student Strengths Assessment • Skills for Learning (nine items): A child’s ability to use the skills of listening, focusing attention, self-talk, and assertiveness. • Empathy (nine items): A child’s ability to identify and label emotions in himself/herself and others and take on others’ perspectives. • Emotion Management (nine items): A child’s ability to cope with strong emotions and express them in socially acceptable ways. • Problem Solving (nine items): A child’s ability to effectively handle personal challenges and interpersonal conflicts in prosocial ways.
  28. 28. Community Resiliency Model (CRM) Key Concepts for the Community Resiliency Model:  Set of 6 wellness skills that anyone can learn  People respond to stress in similar ways.  People are resilient by nature.  People can learn skills that will mitigate the impact of stress. Master Community Resiliency Model Trainers in Buncombe County  MaryLynn Barrett, Director of Behavioral Health, MAHEC marylynn.barrett@mahec.net  Dr. Stephanie Citron, Independent Psychiatrist stephcitron@gmail.com
  29. 29. CRM Skills for Self-Regulation • Tracking: Awareness of physical sensations of the nervous system. How are the sensations of turmoil different from well-being. • Resourcing: Utilizing positive characteristics, i.e. a good memory, place, animal, or anything that provides comfort, peace, or happiness.. • Grounding: Use of mindfulness, physical tension in the body, awareness of body contact with objects, sensations and stability provided, etc. Yoga techniques provide grounding. • Gesturing: Finding naturally comforting gestures that calm us. • Help Now: Activities that help break the cycle of anger/turmoil, i.e. pushing against wall, naming colors or objects, etc. • Shift and Stay: Moving attention away from unpleasant sensations and staying there.
  30. 30. Compassionate Schools Examples of Implementation • Book Studies: Brain Rules • Growth Mindset/Compassionate Schools training for teams from each targeted school • Developing Common language: Resliency, Self-regulation, Trauma-informed, chronic stress Personal Agency, • Mindfulness: Admin, teacher & student classes • Self Care Assessments: starting with teachers • Integrating Compassionate Schools with PBIS • Community Resiliency Training and some trained as trainers.
  31. 31. Next steps for Buncombe County Schools: • Better Integration of School-based mental health services into school culture, tiered intervention model • Train the trainer sessions for Compassionate Schools Model Utilization of Research/Evidence based mental health practices into MTSS/PBIS model • Parent engagement through community Parent Advisory group • Continue to strengthen community partnerships through local ACES collaborative and MARC grant project
  32. 32. Next steps: • Build knowledge of brain research on trauma and learning • Examine practices that teach self regulation • Create time and integration of Social/Emotional Learning into core curriculum • Examine current policies and practices and consider integration of Resorative Practices into discipline • Utilize practices such as calming areas with sensory, mindfulness, or other calming activities integrated into the instructional day. (2-3 min.)
  33. 33. Community Involvement in Buncombe Co • Ongoing ACES collaborative of 40+ agencies, parents, medical practices, DHHS, courts, mental health, etc. • Conducted Southeast ACES Summit to generate movement for change • Integration of trauma screening into pre-natal and early childhood development and medical care • Inclusion of multiple agencies into school teams planning Compassionate Schools: school nurses from medical practice, mental health therapists, child care/after-school providers, etc. • Collaboration to use physicians from MAHEC for consultation/support in schools
  34. 34. Contact Information: • David Thompson, Director of Student Services, Buncombe County Schools(david.thompson@bcsemail.org, )

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