Last Friday I had the privilege of hosting an online administrator’s academy entitled, “Trauma Responsive Practices: Learning, Leading and Connected” with Stanley Leone and Bhavna Sharma-Lewis as facilitators.  To say that this academy was timely would be an understatement. With 100% of our student population at home, have you taken the time to think about what home looks and feels like for all your students?

It is unfortunate but true, “Trauma is no longer the exception.  It’s the standard” – this quote really resonated with me last Friday.  When I think about the students I taught when I first started my career compared to the students that walk through the classroom doors today, I had a hard time finding one student in my class of 28 that wasn’t, in some way, impacted by trauma.  Think about your own life, what experience have you had with trauma in your personal life? – How did it impact you? How has trauma impacted your professional life? – How did it impact you?   

As someone who has experienced childhood trauma first hand, I can’t talk about my childhood trauma without talking about how it has impacted my professional life, the two are interwoven and quite possibly why I went into education in the first place.  My bleeding heart often made it hard for me to feel successful in my career, wanting to do whatever it takes for students, but never feeling like what I was doing was enough.

If we don’t have a relationship with our students we can’t connect with them or support them.  If students aren’t emotionally ready to receive the curriculum they won’t retain the information.  We all know that it starts with relationships. But do we really know how to build relationships?  

As we enter week 3 of remote learning I am literally brought to tears when I think that many students are experiencing their worst nightmare….having to be home.  There is no “safe place” for them to retreat to for 7 hours a day where they can see their peers and teachers, connect with someone. They might be going days without being talked to, I can’t imagine some of the heartbreaking acts they are witnessing over these days and weeks at home.  

Yes, I am beyond happy to hear about all the amazing efforts being made to provide food to ALL students throughout this pandemic; however, what are you doing every day to ensure your students’ are socially/emotionally, physically, and psychologically safe during this time of unknown and remote learning?

Many of us feel hopeless during this time, a feeling that we can’t do anything to help our kiddos, it is all beyond our control, but the good news is that it isn’t beyond our control, we just need to think outside the box!!  During the Academy last week, participants had to complete the application activity below where they assessed what their schools/districts/or themselves as educators have done or have not done to address each component of the spreadsheet as well as to design an action plan to further develop a more thorough plan for each component.  I challenge you to take a few moments and complete this spreadsheet while ONLY focusing on this time of remote/distance learning! 

Goal statement to improve this area. (SMART goal, please!) Who is responsible? What resources are needed? What is your timeframe?
1.  School wide policies & Practices
2.  Classroom strategies & techniques
3. Collaboration & linkages with mental health


4.  Family partnerships
5.  Community linkages


Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for support or ideas in developing a strong wrap around support system for our families and students during this time.  As the Academy last Friday ended…..

Keep Pressing On

You Aren’t In This Alone

When You Don’t Give Up – You Can’t Fail.

Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning

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