WCSD PBIS: Trauma Informed Schools

Volume Five: Fall 2018

California PBIS Coalition Again Recognizes Whittier City Schools!!!

For the third year in a row, Whittier City Schools have been recognized by the California PBIS Coalition for excellence in implementing core PBIS foundations. Three of our schools even achieved GOLD level status for their Tier 2 program!

The awards reflect 70-100% fidelity of implementation of national standards, and proof of impact as evidenced by at least 80% of students having received 0-1 office referrals (a few of our schools have 90% of students with zero referrals!). At the Gold level, schools must also provide evidence of improving academic achievement over the previous three years. Schools must reapply each year, reflecting the PBIS core practice of teaching behavior as relentlessly as we teach academics, and with frequent checks on fidelity. Schools will be acknowledged at the annual CPC Conference in Sacramento in September, and listed on the coalition's website.

CONGRATULATIONS to all of our schools for their enduring commitment to schools that are welcoming, safe, positive, and focused on the whole child!

Also in this edition of the newsletter...

  • Introducing The Student Wellness Program - the next step in our commitment to a healthy, positive, and caring school environment
  • Resources for teaching Second Step social emotional learning curriculum
  • Information about Trauma's impact on children, including a link to Oprah's report for 60 minutes
  • How to build a calm-down area in your classroom
  • "Happy Teachers Practice Self-Care"
  • Links to more resources to support classroom practices

WCSD Student Wellness Program

With a solid Tier 1 foundation based on PBIS core practices of explicit teaching and reinforcement of expected student behaviors, positive relationships, and trauma-sensitive logical consequences, Whittier City is ready to build strong Tier 2 supports for those students who need more.

The Student Wellness Program launches this year with a focus on early intervention and the addition of School Social Workers to our team of student support services. Based on crisis response data collected last school year, as well an input from early childhood teachers, the key components are:

  • Focus on Kinder through 1st grade
  • Early identification of needs by conducting walk-throughs of Kinder & 1st grade classrooms and completing the Universal screen for social-behavior-attendance-academic risk
  • Social emotional learning curriculum in every TK-1st grade classroom using Second Step, and at least one classroom per grade level for all other grades (fall trimester)
  • Trauma-informed social emotional curriculum in every 4th & 5th grade classroom using Bounce Back curriculum, led by school social worker interns (winter trimester)
  • Tier 2 teams review referrals and universal screening information to match students to interventions and monitor progress using Tier 2 tracking systems (SWIS-Check-In-Check-Out, Tier 2 google sheet)
  • Increase parent engagement by using Tier 2 Progress Report form & documenting interventions on the CUM Intervention Record

The graphic below illustrates the timeline:

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Did you know that during the 2017-18 school year in Whittier City....

  • 11% of Whittier City students were chronically absent?
  • 17% of Whittier City students were homeless or had insecure housing?
  • There was a significant increase in Suicidal ideation and threats, mirroring national trends of 30% increase over the previous six years, especially among elementary-aged female students? (Source: CDC)

These facts were the impetus for designing the Wellness Program, supporting social emotional learning in classrooms, and expanding our trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive practices.

Second Step® Curriculum For Social Emotional Learning

Second Step Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) gives students the tools to excel in and out of the classroom. This easy-to-teach program garners outstanding reviews from educators who’ve noticed schoolwide improvement and see even the most challenging students make progress in emotion management, situational awareness, and academic achievement. Second Step’s age-appropriate games, activities, and media engage students and set children on a path to lifelong success.


Second Step kits come with ready-to-go scripted lessons on the five core SEL competencies of self awareness (identifying emotions), self-managment (focus, impulse control, how to calm down), social awareness (empathy), relationship skills, and conflict resolution and decision making.

Kits include puppets for early childhood grades, video vignettes, quick "brain builder" games, and home links so parents can support the skills at home and in the community. The homelinks can be shared with parents via Sangha so no photocopying is required. Materials are available in English and Spanish.

Lessons are designed to be used "out of the box" with minimal, if any, prep. Once a classroom kit is activated on the Second Step website, video content can be streamed. For ease of access, we have created a single user account with a compilation of most grade level documents and video content. Email pbis@whittiercity.net for the login credentials.

Second Step training:

NO FORMAL TRAINING IS REQUIRED!! The secondstep.org website is rich with resources including sample lessons, video demonstrations, and free on-demand training webinars as brief as 30 minutes - perfect for a grade level team meeting. Once you activate your kit and create a user account, even more resources are available for your specific grade level including video previews of lessons and supplemental teaching video vignettes and activities.

Big picture

Oprah Explores Life Changing Question In Treating Childhood Trauma: Shifting from "What's wrong with that child?" to "What happened to that child?"

Watch this 7 minute CBS News interview (below) in which Oprah describes what she learned about childhood trauma for her 60 minutes report on the topic.

Access the full 60 Minutes episode here.

WCSD PBIS & MTSS Google Site

More resources to support student engagement as well as prevention and management of disruptive behavior can be found on the WCSD PBIS & MTSS Google Site

  • videos
  • links to more resources
  • tips on responding to common challenging behaviors
  • academic strategies
  • more
Pinterest board about Calm Down Areas in the classroom

Whether you call it a Peace Corner, Alaska (a place to chill out), Zen Zone, or a Break Room, find ideas for sensory tools, resourceful uses of small spaces, calm down tool kits, and more.

Follow my Pinterest board about Caring School Climates

Ideas for building community with and among students and creating positive and supportive environments on campus

Follow my pinterest board about Classroom Strategies

Tips on classroom management and student engagement techniques

2018 Winter Newsletter: Winter Boost!

2016 Fall Newsletter: Relationships!

2016-17 Winter Newsletter: Positive School Climate

2016-17 Spring Newsletter: Classrooms!

WCSD PBIS: Positive School Climate for Student Success