"Launching the Next Generation of Lifetime Learners"
Happy Birthday this week to: Rod Whyte (11th)
Week at a Glance:
mClass and Benchmark Window
Attendance Make-up Lexia Lab (May 9-12)- Green Hall (2:30-3:30)
- Office Meeting (8:15-8:45)
- Ambassador Lunch (10:45)
- PBIS (2:45)
- Teacher Interviews (2:30-5:30)
- PLC Day
- TIPS (2:45)
- 5th Grade to Discovery Place (6:30am-6:30pm)
- Resource PLC (7:30)
- CHAPS (8:00)
- Curriculum Leadership Team
- II Planning- 1/2 day pm (Data Room)
- Make-up Kindergarten Registration (2:45)
- Ambassador Field Trip (8:00-2:00)
- EOG Test Admin. Training (3:00-4:00) for ALL Certified Staff
- EOY K-2 and SPED 3-5 APLUS Data Due
- Jeans Day for School Beautification
Thanks to our Teachers for all of their hard work writing Reading Plans for the entire school year!
Compassionate Schools - Becoming a Trauma Informed School (Part Two)
As a 'compassionate' school, it is important that we are aware of the effects of childhood trauma and how trauma affects the developing brain of children and their natural ability to regulate their emotions. Having this awareness and knowledge gives us better understanding of the challenges many of our students face and helps us to realize why learning or retaining knowledge can be problematic. Kids who have experienced trauma(s) have deeper neural pathways that lead back to strong emotional responses and therefore perceive benign events to be dangerous. Luckily, relationships with caring adults, being taught emotional regulation, and tapping into strengths can mitigate some of these effects.
So, what is trauma?
Trauma is an intense and overwhelming experience(s)
A loss or threat to physical/emotional well-being
It may be a single or repeated event
It can lead to an inability to self regulate emotions
...and what are the associated diagnoses of trauma?
Internalized: separation anxiety, depression, PTSD
Externalized: ADHD, ODD, Conduct Disorder, Suicide attempts, Substance Abuse
In order to understand how trauma can affect us, it is important to understand that our nervous systems react to real (and perceived) threats and danger. There are physical and physiological reactions: our hearts beat faster, our palms become sweaty, our muscles tense up as we experience ‘fight, flight or freeze’ in the autonomic nervous system. These times of real or perceived threats/danger bump us out of our ‘resiliency zone’ temporarily or, for some, more permanently. When these experiences have occurred on a significant level our nervous systems can become locked in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze due to ‘toxic stress’. This toxic stress leads to changes within the brain that make it difficult for executive functioning to take place. This affects our ability of higher thinking (problem solving) because the cortex isn't in control anymore. Perhaps a simple way to look at it is like this: these individuals have needed so much of their brain functioning for survival (whether real or 'perceived' threats) that their brains are no longer accustomed to or geared up for higher functioning. It is hard to move to your 'upstairs' brain when so much time and energy is needed for the 'downstairs' brain (survival).
It is not necessarily possible to look around your classroom and know without a shadow of a doubt which of your students has experienced trauma (or are still undergoing traumatic experiences). It is also not necessarily obvious how many of the adults you know have had previous trauma. ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are one method of rating the amount of trauma in one's life. ACEs are based around ten questions about abuse, neglect and household dysfunction. Be aware that it is possible that some (several? many?) of your students may have four or more ACES. For that matter, so may some of your colleagues. The higher the number of ACEs leads to a high risk for many negative health outcomes in later life (alcoholism, heart disease, liver disease etc). The effects of childhood trauma do not just show up in our classroom, they show up in later life as well, so it is crucial that you are as aware and as understanding as possible in order to help bring about healing and change.
If you would like to check your own ACES score, there are many websites you can go to including:
Next week: Part Three: Creating a 'Compassionate' classroom
News You Can Use:
Give 5 Read 5 is a statewide initiative/competition to get books in the hands of our students for summer reading. Winners throughout he state are eligible for great prizes. The competition will begin May 9 and teachers will collect and keep books in the classroom. Teachers will also enter the daily total collected on the following Google Doc.:
There will be a weekly competition in every grade level. On Friday, which ever class in each grade level collects the most books, will get to choose have 20 minutes of extra recess sometime the following week. Teachers, please help us make this the best year ever by notifying your parents of this project and providing incentives for your students!
Carolyn Cooper will be out through May 15th. Please see Kim Reynolds with questions you may have. If she is not able to answer your question, she will direct you to an administrator and we will be happy to help. Please be patient with our office staff and only call and send children for emergencies. This is a very busy time of year in the office with increased visitors, phone calls, and special events. We appreciate your patience! Please see Mrs. Reed or Mrs. Slagle with any concerns.
Attention all Regular Education Teachers: "Reading Plan Reflection" Review May 17
Thanks to Mrs. Spruill, Mrs. Lewis, & Mr. Whyte for a great Arts Night! We appreciate what you meant to our Arts Program!
If you would like to contribute articles or information/celebrations for the Cardinal Flyer, please let Mrs. Reed know. She would appreciate contributions from any staff member!