Shannon Nolanon Dec 16, 2014 01:58 PM
When he first moved to Philadelphia for Temple University’s Urban Anthropology Ph.D. program in 1996, Notebook member Bill McKinney said he felt like it was home, similar in a lot of ways to where he grew up in Cleveland, Ohio.
Now 18 years later, McKinney, who lives in Kensington, is dedicated to helping the youth of Philadelphia and aiding emerging nonprofits as a dedicated employee, volunteer, and mentor. He said the Notebook has been a valuable resource for him when it comes to providing him the kinds of content he needs to fit his many roles.
ASSESS for risk of suicide or harm
GIVE reassurance and information
ENCOURAGE appropriate professional help
ENCOURAGE self-help and other support strategies
|If a student…||This might help|
|Shows obvious signs of sadness, acts clingy||Listen to concerns and feelings. Educate students about different trauma reactions.|
|Experiences behavior problems that were not as serious before||Stay calm, set limits. Try to get the student back into a regular classroom routine.|
|Has trouble concentrating, paying attention, or getting work done on time||Focus on the present with gentle reminders. Consider modifying work or adding structure.|
|Seems sleepy or irritable due to lack of sleep||Suggest healthy sleep habits, like not viewing,a computer or TV screen right before bed. Consider adjusting work deadlines until sleep is stabilized.|
|Experiences typical trauma reactions such as stomach aches, pounding heart, body aches, fast and shallow breathing||Understand that these may make the student fearful. Teach relaxation strategies such as slow breathing, stretching, physical activity.|
|- Adapted from the National Child Trauma Stress Network|
|Recognize trauma as an issue. Think in terms of “What happened to you.”||Think in terms of “What’s wrong with you?”|
|Act as a caregiver/supporter. Focus on collaboration. Avoid making the issue one of power or control. Pay constant attention to the student’s background and culture.||Act as a rule-enforcer. Think in terms of compliance.|
|Use objective, neutral language.||Use labeling language: words and phrases like “manipulative,” “needy,” “attention-seeking.”|
|Understand behavior as a coping mechanism.||See behavior as intentionally provocative.|
David Lappon Dec 10, 2014 10:45 AM
Pennsylvania’s calculation for funding special education in charter schools is broken. In Philadelphia, special education tuition paid by the District to charter schools has doubled from $11,000 per student to over $23,000 per student in just 12 years. During the same period, special education revenue to the District from the state stagnated at under $5,000 per student.
Rather than basing charter tuition on what the charter spends or needs, the calculation is based on what the charter’s authorizing district spends on its own students with disabilities. That total expenditure is then divided by 16 percent of the district’s student population. The assumption is that since 16 percent is roughly the average percentage of students with disabilities in the commonwealth, it is a close enough estimation to use in the calculation for all districts.
Dan Hardyon Dec 9, 2014 12:21 PM
In the wake of the catastrophic Columbine school shooting in 1999, many school district leaders, politicians, and police summed up their response to school violence with two words: zero tolerance.
Infractions that once might have prompted a discussion of motive and intention instead often led to immediate, automatic suspensions, expulsions, and calls to police.
From 2002 to 2011 in Philadelphia, that view held the upper hand; both Paul Vallas and Arlene Ackerman favored a zero-tolerance approach to school discipline.
In 2012, however, dissatisfaction with the results led to a tectonic shift in policy.
1. Problems focusing in school
2. Learning disabilities
3. Severe loss of temper
4. Constant demands for attention
5. Aggressive behavior
6. Verbal abuse
7. Startling easily
8. Fear of separation from caregiver
9. Being withdrawn
10. Stomach aches and headaches
11. Nightmares, poor sleep habits
12. Bed-wetting, regressive behavior
Adapted from the National Child Trauma Stress Network
Philadelphia schools are becoming trauma-informed.
In a city with 60,000 children in “deep poverty,” it is essential that those who work in schools understand the painful experiences that students may carry with them. Their families face such overwhelming issues that some of us mainly know about from the news: hunger, homelessness, substance abuse, incarceration, neglect.
Besides those facing poverty, there are children in all neighborhoods who have been scarred by abuse or the loss of loved ones. But in low-income communities, mental health supports are also in short supply. Trauma begets more trauma.
Paul Jablowon Dec 4, 2014 11:39 AM
Michele Messer, a counselor at John Moffet School, said the course she was taking on trauma training had been “game changing,“ helping her gain a new perspective on her students.
“It helps me see where they are in time and space,” she said.
Marsha Weiford, a counselor at Edward Gideon and Gen. George G. Meade schools said that in addition to being useful in the schools, “It helps me educate the parents.”
Cynthia Moore, a counselor at Thomas G. Morton School, said simply that “It gives you the tools you need to get back in the trenches every day.”