Mazlow’s hierarchy of need. 1943 If you don’t address the lower levels in the hierarchy of needs you won’t find stability in the upper levels of the h. The pinnacle of self actualization is actually the precursor to academic success. Basic needs/food/sheter, love and belonging, esteem, self actualization. Teachers are not evaluated on these foundational things which are scientifically (educational research is clear) proven as needed to be present in creating the foundation for our ability to learn.
Dan Siegal’s Hand Model of the Brain is an easy way to teach others about the way the parts of the brain function when encountering stressful situations. Both children and adults flip lids. Human brains aren’t fully mature till mid-twenties, so children flip lids much more often from a developmental perspective, and need more help “re-connecting” the rational brain to the emotional brain (a.k.a. regulating, calming down). Much of human behavior is elicited, fast ‐ and an automatic response because the downstairs of the brain is in control most of the time. If the downstairs of the brain is dysregulated, the information is getting distorted on the way to the cortex. Many interventions used by various parts of our system are contingency‐based (reward, punishment) and are based on the assumption that behaviors are INTENTIONAL when actually, behaviors are ELICITED. We need to change our paradigm and realize that what we see as “symptoms” are instead “adaptations.” We “tell, direct, advise” people to regulate (i.e. pay attention, problem solve, etc) which is our attempt to directly change the upstairs of the brain (reasoning capabilities in the cortex). We teach cortex‐specific interventions such as problem‐solving again and again. When these fail to work, we blame the consumer, and view him/her as “non‐compliant.” Reflecting back to what we know about trauma and the impact on beliefs about the world being unsafe, no future, …this places youth in the downstairs of their brain, focusing on survival and fight/flight/freeze responses. Also thinking of externalizing and internalizing behaviors we discussed relative to trauma---those are directly related to fight-flight-freeze and the downstairs brain. Thinking about the development of neural pathways we just heard about in the video can help us understand the brain of people who have experienced trauma and toxic stress. The wires going to the upstairs of the brain have been pruned and those leading to the downstairs of the brain have been strengthened. So these youth tend to operate out of the downstairs of their brain impacting their behaviors within the school environment. School is asking youth to connect to their upstairs areas of the brain, which some may have limited ability to do. Our role in their lives is to recognize which part of the brain they are in, so that we can respond to them in a supportive way based on where they are at that moment. If we can improve in our ability to recognize upstairs brain from the downstairs brain, then we can provide interventions that soothe the downstairs brain, allowing the youth to access the upstairs brain.
Youth who have experienced trauma have neural pathways strengthened directly to the downstairs of their brain. This serves the function of self-protection and survival needed to cope with toxic stress and trauma. Many of these youth have heightened alarm systems and all incoming information can be an incoming threat. This heightened alarm system and these neural pathways that have been strengthened mean that incoming information instead of being filtered and some going upstairs, typically go downstairs first eliciting faster and more emotional responses. These youth may operate out of a fight-flight-freeze place first compared to other youth of their same age. This slide is a good model and reminder for how to recognize what this looks like and how it presents in the body. The long term effects of staying in this mode impact their ability to connect to others, learn and develop and they have limited pathways to access the upstairs of their brain. These pathways can be strengthened and as we move forward in our day, specific ways to help regulate the downstairs allowing access to the upstairs brain will be discussed.
Community Resiliency Model, comes out of the Trauma Resource Institute, Loma Linda, California trains community members to not only help themselves but to help others within their wider social network. The primary focus of this skills-based, stabilization program is to re-set the natural balance of the nervous system. CRM skills help individuals understand their nervous system and learn to track sensations connected to their own well-being, which CRM calls “Resilience”. The nervous system begins to return to its normal balance or rhythm (referred to as the “Resilient Zone”) as the individual learns to use the skills of CRM. The website www.communityresiliencymodel.com was launched in March of 2013. CRM’s goal is to help to create “trauma-informed” and “resiliency-informed” communities that share a common understanding of the impact of trauma on the nervous system and how resiliency can be restored using this skills-based approach. CRM is an example of “Appropriate Technology,” a term which is defined as “technology that ordinary people can use for their own benefit and the benefit of their communities,that doesn’t make them dependent on systems over which they have no control” (J.Turner).
The Community Resiliency Model comes from the Trauma Resource Institute in Loma Linda, California TRI’s mission is to create trauma-informed and resiliency-informed communities
The Key Concepts for the Community Resiliency Model (CRM) are:
CRM teaches skills to help children and adults experiencing stress and traumatic stress reactions CRM can be used as a wellness practice Human Beings respond to stressful & traumatic experiences in similar ways Human beings are resilient- most are able to bounce back to their best selves after difficult experiences There is a biological reaction common to most of humanity after a traumatic experience. A person is having a common experience to an extraordinary life event Current scientific research is demonstrating that the train can be changed
Master Trainers here in Buncombe County have trained, in a train-the-trainer model, about 30 trainers here in Buncombe County, who are teaching a set of 6 wellness skills to who can apply this directly to the clients, they work with, or use it in their own lives: These trainers include: social workers at Mission, early childhood development consultants, parent of children and youth with special health care needs, Pastors Public health/social service administrators Buncombe County School social workers and counselors
Building Resilient Children by Creating Compassionate Schools
Building Resilient Children by Creating
David Thompson, Director of Student Services, Buncombe County Schools
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
Flip the Lid (Hand Model of the Brain)
Make a Fist with your thumb tucked inside your fingers. This is a model of
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
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
-Dr. Dan Siegal
BRAIN RULE # 8
Stressed brains don’t’ learn in the same way
that non stressed brains do.
• Loss of control
• Over stimulation
Common Triggers for Children
who have Experienced Trauma
ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES
CONSEQUENCES OF BIOLOGICAL OUTCOMES
•Slowed language development
•Attention problems (ADD/ADHD)
•Poor verbal memory/recall
•Loss of brain matter/IQ
The Classroom is for Teaching
But what happens when 43% of students can’t
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
• 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.
A shift in thinking from “What’s wrong with you?” (Reacting)
to “What happened to you?”
Resilient students need resilient teachers.
• 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
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
• 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.
Why use the PBIS Triangle
for Traumatized Students?
• 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
When you think of a child impacted by a life of
adversity and stress – these attributes are scarce.
What we know
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
The Goals of a
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
Social/Emotional competencies how we get along with
each other and how we feel about ourselves.
Chapter 1: Trauma, Compassion, and Resiliency:
Background and Definitions
Chapter 2: Self-Care: An Ethical Obligation for Those
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
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
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
• 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
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!
Second Step Curriculum
by Committee for Children
• 4 Units
• Skills for Learning
• Focusing Attention & Listening, Using Self-Talk
• Identifying Others Feelings, Understanding Perspectives
• Emotional Management
• Managing Embarrassment, managing anxious feelings, managing
• Problem Solving
• Solving Problems, Being Assertive
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’
• 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.
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
Dr. Stephanie Citron, Independent Psychiatrist
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.
Examples of Implementation
• Book Studies: Brain Rules
• Growth Mindset/Compassionate Schools training for teams from each
• Developing Common language:
Resliency, Self-regulation, Trauma-informed, chronic stress
• Mindfulness: Admin, teacher & student classes
• Self Care Assessments: starting with teachers
• Integrating Compassionate Schools with PBIS
• Community Resiliency Training and some trained as trainers.
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
• Parent engagement through community Parent Advisory group
• Continue to strengthen community partnerships through local ACES
collaborative and MARC grant project
• 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
• 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
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
• David Thompson, Director of Student Services, Buncombe County