The Source

Iowa ASCD...THE SOURCE for Instructional Leadership

Volume 1 Number 1 - January 8, 2021

In this issue:

  • ASCD Midwest Affiliates Offer FREE Virtual Conference on Equity - Register Now
  • Trauma - Triggers and Strategies to Effectively Address Them in the School Setting
  • New Bullying and Harassment Online Training Available
  • Top 10 Culture Hacks of 2020
  • How to Step into 2021 with Real Purpose
  • We Need Your Help for Event Planning
  • Take Care of Yourself
  • Mark Your Calendars - Vote for your choice!

ASCD Midwest Affiliates Offer FREE Virtual Conference on Equity - Register Now!

Iowa ASCD joins with other ASCD affiliates in the Midwest to offer a FREE conference on January 19 with asynchronous opportunities until February 2. Register now and also receive a year's free membership in Iowa ASCD. You can register at

The keynote will be live at 9:00 A.M. on January 19 and will also be provided on-demand until February 2.

The three breakout sessions and the final speaker are taped and will be provided January 19 through February 2. These are perfect for schools and districts focused on equity and would be great for your PLC conversations.

One presentation features Iowa's own Dr. Katy Swalwell of Iowa State University. What she is most curious and passionate about is what helps people develop a critical consciousness necessary for a healthy, "thick" democracy. What do people need to know and be able to do in order to help build a more just and equitable world? What about young people growing up in affluent, majority White communities? In what ways can learning anti-oppressive histories help this process? And what kinds of resources help teachers do this well?

Swalwell's work has appeared in practitioner publications like Educational Leadership, Rethinking Schools, and Teaching Tolerance as well as peer-reviewed journals like Curriculum Inquiry, Democratic Education, Education Policy, Theory & Research in Social Education, Journal of Social Studies Research, and several edited volumes. She is one of the co-founders of The Critical Social Educator, an open-access journal dedicated to publishing work from practitioners and scholars alike, and the Critical Resources for Elementary Social Studies Teachers Facebook group with 1000+ members. She is the author of several books, including the award-winning Educating Activist Allies: Social Justice Pedagogy with the Urban and Suburban Elite (Routledge in 2013) and the "Amazing Iowa" series of children's books, traveling exhibits, and supplemental curriculum for teachers.

Join today. We all have lots to learn about equity! You must register to participate!

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Trauma-Triggers and Strategies to Effectively Address Them in the School Setting

Robert Stensrud, Melonie Gill, Trent Grundmeyer & Randy Peters of Drake University share the following article.

Children have experienced trauma for generations, which has affected their emotions, behavior, and the genes that regulate their bodies and are transferred on to future generations. Historically, psychology has considered this a problem of the person and treated it through the medical model, assuming such treatment would “fix” the person. Current understanding of trauma demonstrates that it is biological, psychological, sociological, and cultural, transcending the individual and being part of a lived ecosystem.

A post-traumatic stress disorder exists if a person has not developed the executive function capacity to appraise contexts and alter their behavior in a way that is consistent with the demands of the immediate situation. Consider a child who has experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences; for example, abuse which took the form of “scolding,” in which a dominant adult held the child’s arms, moved into the child’s immediate personal space, and spoke harshly about what the child had done wrong. Based on this interaction, the child processes the experience through that lens and develops an automatic “freeze/fold” response where they slump their bodies, offer no physical or verbal response, and essentially “play dead.” When the individual attends elementary school, a teacher treats the child in a way that is similar enough to reinforce this freeze/fold response. In middle school, bullies treat the person in a similar way, eliciting the same response. As an adult, the person feels most “comfortable” around others whose behavior they “understand” because of their past experiences (“scolding” becomes equivalent to “loving”), so they form relationships that elicit the same response. Having no opportunity to develop the social-emotional executive functions to reflect on an interaction before reacting, they may better be considered the “identified patient” of an abusive social context (Bateson, 1972) than someone with a mental illness.

What is considered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and several other disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and psychotic disorder may derive from early childhood trauma and warrant intervention other than the medical model. The observed child response may initially have been appropriate to a situation based on classical, instrumental, or operant conditioning. A role of school counselors and school leaders is to ensure the appropriate resources are available for students to gain the social, emotional, and intellectual ability to consciously pause in their trauma-triggered response, reflect on whether it is situationally appropriate, and choose the most appropriate response based on contextual cues. This imperative for the development of the child as they mature and progress academically is reflective of the Professional Standards for School Leaders (PSEL) that have been adopted in Iowa (and will go into effect on July 1, 2021) and many other states. The new standards specifically address the “success of every student” to call school leaders to promote “current and future success and well-being of each student and adult” (Standard 3).

Drake University researchers Bob Stensrud and Melonie Gill recently conducted a qualitative study with school counselors to learn how they recommend developing new strategies for working with students displaying different trauma-triggered response patterns. Their findings identified different response triggers and different ways to consider addressing their reactions.

First, let us explore some of the triggers the counselors reported seeing in students. When asked what behaviors the counselors saw in students who were “fighters,” they responded that often these students yell, swear or use vulgar language, and hit teachers and other students. They were defensive and destructive. They tended not to take responsibility for their actions, craved power, and were seen by peers as the “mean girls” or “bully boys.” Counselors felt these students tended to have low self-esteem and bottled their emotions until they exploded, thus possibly placing them on the school-to-prison pipeline. If this response sounds familiar, you may have experienced a student showing post-traumatic stress.

These students behaved as though they did not fear the consequences of their actions and would do and say whatever they wanted. They behaved as though they weren’t afraid of authority and didn’t mind detention or suspension. They would not back down and were more likely to escalate confrontations, even with authority figures. The “fighters” would threaten their peers and sometimes their teachers--and did so using behaviors that were very intimidating. Fighters were easy to pinpoint because their actions were obvious since they didn’t care who saw them. These students often engaged in risky behavior and also pressured their peers into risky behaviors. Most other people, including many adults, feared the “fighters.”

Respondents reported that those who fight often experienced physically abusive relationships, sexual assault, and faced the ongoing risk of repeated physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. These students often were bullied when younger and became the bully through their abusive role models. These students often had parents in prison or parents who were absent from their lives. On the ACEs, they would report significant abuse and family dysfunction, consistent with the research of Stensrud, et al (2018).

Effective strategies to address “Fight” responses:

Respondents stated that those who fight need a calm approach--neither pushy or forceful because that would result in them fighting back and escalating that behavior. They said it is important to focus on safety for all involved with these students. It’s also important not to argue with the student or escalate the fight. Give the student space to feel safe and secure, work with them to develop safety plans when away from school, and work with them to express their anger in more positive ways. Participants cautioned to consider our behavior when interacting with them because they perceive body language, words, voice tone, and other aspects of paralanguage as a threat and default to their fight reaction.

Responses from students with a “Flight” responses:

When asked how students who utilized a flight response behave, the counselors replied with answers such as: they always turn away or walk away, they like to hide, and they avoid risks. These students often were the student eating lunch in the bathroom or walking alone. They tended to do whatever they could to avoid both risks and responsibility. “Flighters” tended to latch onto those who were powerful because it helped them feel safe, so they would actively follow “fighters” as part of their self-protective strategy. They didn’t see their own worth and often showed extreme anxiety when put in the spotlight. These students were more likely to leave the building and elope when they were upset or felt unsafe. These students tended to avoid staff members and spent significant time skipping class as a way to feel safe and secure.

The counselors believed that those who resorted to fleeing when threatened often were those who had been physically or sexually abused. While the type of trauma experienced by these students was thought to be quite similar to the trauma experienced by “fighters,” participants said these students lived in situations where they had the opportunity to flee: They could flee from an abusive parent to one who was protective, from an abusive household to a protective neighbor, to a gang, or to a safe and secure institution--such as school or a treatment facility.

Counselors discussed how these students often acted out in school before long breaks such as vacations or summer, as a way to express their fear at not having school to run to. School-based mental health counselors discussed that these students knew how to behave in order to be sent to “safe” places such as residential treatment facilities.

Effective strategies to address “Flight” responses:

When asked about students who flee, counselors said that they often gave them breaks, remained calm when tending to them, and kept a positive atmosphere in their encounters with them. Counselors emphasized that it was important to remember not to chase or move assertively toward them because they might feel even more threatened and escalate their fleeing behavior to more dysfunctional places. Counselors suggested: Build them up, help them work on their self-esteem, encourage self-initiated activities, recognize their individual talents and accomplishments. It also was important to help them recognize a safe place within the school building and find staff with whom they felt safe so they didn’t feel like they had to run away from the building. Keeping the school feeling like a safe place was seen as central.

Counselors reported that just listening to these students was important because they were the most likely to open up to discuss their personal stories. Giving them time and space was a basic intervention to facilitate de-escalation with these students.

Responses from students with a “Fawn” responses:

When asked how the fawn students behaved, counselors stated that they tended to crave adult attention. These students sought contact with and relied on school counselors, nurses, and others who provided individualized attention. Respondents stated that “fawners” spent significant portions of their day in the counseling office, pretended to be ill so they could go to the nursing office, actively sought to be positively noticed or recognized by school personnel, and often sought to be teacher’s pet. They begged for attention, even in the summer when they were supposed to be on break. They constantly sent emails, called on the phone, and asked for appointments with the counselors. Respondents said they wanted to please others--especially those perceived to have authority. These often were the ones taken advantage of by their peers.

Counselors reported that “fawners” occasionally used negative behavior to attract the attention of adults they targeted as potential protectors such as saying they intended to engage in self-destructive behavior, actually harm themselves, or share past self-injurious behavior.

Counselors described “fawners” as those who most likely experienced helplessness through emotional abuse, abandonment, adoption, foster care, verbal abuse, disability, vicarious family trauma, and parental substance abuse. They also may have experienced physical abuse, and some sexual abuse (mainly in females) and learned that fawning was a strategy for minimizing situational escalation that led to traumatic encounters.

Effective strategies to address “Fawners” responses:

When asked about students who were “fawners,” school counselors stated that these students needed help becoming independent. This could be assisted by praising even the smallest accomplishments, helping them build their independence, identifying their strengths, and challenging them to push themselves to be more independent and assertive. Counselors suggested showing them love but not letting them abuse the relationship by consuming too much time and energy--counselors also had a job to do at school that must get done, so establishing clear and consistent boundaries with these students was critical.

Responses from students with a “Fold” responses:

When asked about behavior in those who fold, counselors stated that these students were the most concerning. Counselors worried most about their safety. These students hid, lacked support and struggled to open up to others. These students lacked any healthy relationships; and were very isolated, depressed, and withdrawn. These students preferred to work alone and avoided building relationships with their peers or teachers. They often avoided school whenever they could, and often pretended to be sick as a way to stay away from school. These students also demonstrated a lack of self-esteem. They behaved as though they were unmotivated and resisted efforts by school personnel to change that. These students often slipped under the radar and went unnoticed, which was their intention. These students often had attendance concerns and almost never participated in class discussions--even when in small groups. These students often presented as being depressed, gave blank stares in response to efforts to engage them. They appeared numb, shut down, avoidant, and very quiet. These students often misunderstood instructions and efforts to communicate with them but didn’t ask any questions. Their efforts at communication often were misunderstood by others.

Counselors stated that those who fold often are those who have been emotionally, physically or verbally abused, seen or been a victim of domestic violence, and those of parents in prison. With little hope of rescue, these students would show minimal activity and affect, often dissociating, even in social situations that sought to engage them.

Effective strategies to address “Fold” responses:

When asked about students who fold, the counselors stated that these students were of greatest concern because little attention was paid to them; other trauma-triggered students got the attention--not them. These students needed consistency. Respondents indicated it was important to slowly build trust and rapport with these students and never let that trust fail. Set very small, manageable goals with these students and help them celebrate all of their successes and effort. Build them up and encourage them. Go for walks with them and try to understand who they are and where they come from--encourage them to tell their stories. Provide choices for these students--within limits. These students will open up if they find someone they truly can trust and rely on, but once they open up, any loss of that connection will probably be devastating. A counselor who builds this trust and them takes a job in a different school can have an extremely detrimental impact on these children, so even as compassion is critical, boundaries are also.

These 4-Fs--fighting, fleeing, fawning, and folding--are not necessarily disturbing behavior patterns; they can either be appropriate or inappropriate, depending on the situation. The concern of this research is that traumas, especially repeated traumas, can result in people displaying these behaviors in situations that are inappropriate--and therefore to their detriment. Developmentally, early childhood traumas that persist and are not addressed, may result in unintended consequences when children attend daycare, preschool, school, college, and reach adulthood. A child who has been abused to the point of folding, may have a teacher who, with the best of intentions, behaves in a way that triggers their fold response. The situational paralanguage cues may be intended to be motivational, but actually trigger a reaction of being dominated and abused by a previously abusive adult.


Truth be told, schools often are the safest place in some students’ lives and counselors and other personnel are the primary adult mediators of making and keeping this space safe. They also may offer the best opportunity for promoting social, emotional, intellectual learning so students can consciously choose appropriate responses to trauma triggers in the future.

The contexts within which children grow and mature involve their immediate and extended family, the neighborhoods and larger communities in which they live, the institutions that serve them, and their personal epigenetic heritage in light of the larger culture and how it represents them (Sapolsky, 2017). Gender identity, ethnicity, disability, and genetic and epigenetic factors all contribute to how children will respond to each interaction with school personnel.

Understanding this variability and being able to introspect, appreciate, and express compassion in an appropriately contextualized way is complicated and challenging. The more detailed our understanding of what children and school personnel bring to interactions, the better we will be at offering appropriate interventions and supports.

According to the CDC, there are six guiding principles that lead to creating the safest and most secure environment within trauma-informed institutions. These principles include, safety, trustworthiness/transparency, peer support, collaboration, empowerment/choice, and recognition of cultural/historical/gender variability. At an organizational level, continual attention to these areas, caring awareness, sensitivity, and cultural change can have a large impact on our students. A child develops in one culture, shifting to another culture through moving, feeling “different,” not understanding the rules of the new culture, and facing indifference to these challenges forces them to become bicultural with all the challenges that includes. If this transition is supported through trauma-informed schools and mastered by the child, the executive functions necessary to overcome trauma also can be mastered (Putnam, 2016).

Teachers, counselors and school leaders can help create safety within the classroom (and school) by remaining calm but modeling contextually-appropriate confidence; building structure, predictability, and routine; giving appropriately positive attention; making assignments and other expectations manageable; monitoring classroom design and seating arrangements; using strategic praise; utilizing frequent movement and breaks; providing choices when possible; and teaching children about their own brains (Fecser, 2015). At the same time, it is important to recall that, “The most powerful reward is the relationship between the adult and the student” (Fecser, 2015, p 24). Educators have such a high impact on who the student becomes and can be a turning point for students who are really struggling to find positivity somewhere. Teachers, counselors and school leaders can build a foundation for reorganizing traumatized brains (Cozolino, 2014). Students know which adults in their schools allow them to feel safe, build trust, believe in themselves, and feel empowered to learn. As more people develop effective ways to address their past traumas, there will be more people to support future generations.


Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind: Collected essays in anthropology, psychiatry, evolution, and epistemology. NY Ballentine Books.

Cozolino, L. (2014). The neuroscience of human relationships: Attachment and the developing social brain. (2nd Ed.). NY: W W Norton.

Fecser, M. E. (2015). Classroom Strategies for Traumatized, Oppositional Students. Reclaiming Children & Youth, 24(1), 20-24.

Putnam, R. (2016). Our kids: The American dream in crisis. NY: Simon & Schuster.

Sapolsky, R. (2017). Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst. NY: Penguin.

New Bullying and Harassment Online Training Available

The Iowa Department of Education is releasing a new Bullying and Harassment Area Education Agency Online Module in January, 2021. This is the first release of ongoing work for Iowa and is accessible at Bullying/Harassment Prevention and Intervention - Foundations.

The Department, in collaboration with Area Education Agencies, University of Northern Iowa’s Mentors in Violence Prevention and Dr. Chad Rose, Associate Professor and Director of Mizzou Ed Bully Prevention Lab, University of Missouri, created an integrated, multi-tiered approach to the bullying dynamic. The work supports Iowa’s Differentiated Accountability (DA) model designed to provide support and compliance with state and federal laws for continuous improvement.

The module is created for individual, 30-45 minute sessions and supports Iowa Law 280.28 (4a.) “Provide training on anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies to school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students.” For questions or feedback, contact Terese Jurgensen at or 515-326-5378.

Top 10 Culture Hacks of 2020

Dr. Jared Smith, Iowa ASCD member and superintendent of South Tama Community School District, shares the following article.

Last year I released my Top 10 Culture Hacks of 2019.

2020 brought some unexpected challenges, so I figured it was time to update the list to reflect the changing school landscape.

Each idea listed below is easy to implement into any setting. Even better, almost every idea was stolen from another school district, business, or book.


10) #TheTrojanWay Awards - At the end of each year we ask for nominations of staff members who best embody our district core values. In 2020 we had to take our "show on the road" by making surprise award deliveries at employees' houses. The result was so good we may just do off-site ceremonies moving forward!

Video One | Video Two | Video Three

The Hack: Get family and friends involved! They LOVE being a part of these awards, and it makes the event more special for the recipient.

9) Employee Referral Bonus - Let's face it - teachers are getting hard to find! To address this issue, we started giving $250 referral bonuses when our staff recruit new teachers to the district. While this hasn't solved all of our teacher shortage issues, it has created some excitement in our staff about recruitment. Curious about our program? Here's a document with all the info. ​

The Hack: Make the award a big deal! Go around and surprise staff with an oversized check and take their picture. Who doesn't like receiving $250 CASH?!

8) Remote Work Option - 2020 has been the year for making changes! One of those changes has been with remote work. Too many school districts still force staff to physically attend work. Why are we treating this like the 1990's? Let your staff work from home!

Staff love having options. Give them the option of working from home or coming into work whenever the opportunity presents itself (you'd be surprised how many staff still like coming in to work). This approach does wonders for workplace culture. Much more can be read in this blog entry

The Hack: In our district, we have adopted the following mentality: "As long as employees accomplish the goals for which they are responsible, how they get there should not matter."

7) Donut Friday Giveaways - Our school district does social media giveaways at least once a month. The purpose of these drawings is not only to give away some tasty goodies, but to engage our community on social media. We started off doing donuts, but now we give away just about anything (cookies, pies, gift cards, etc.) that makes sense. More information can be found here.

The Hack: HAVE FUN!! We often record a Facebook Live drawing for our community to watch. This is a great time to give away prizes as well as communicate important information or recognize groups and individuals.

Video One | Video Two | Video Three

6) Free Professional Book Purchases - We purchase professional development books for staff using school funds as often as we can. Why? Because encouraging staff growth is one of the best investments a school can make. Have some questions about the process? Check out this blog entry.

The Hack: Instead of making teachers do a book study or book report to receive a book (what is this, 9th grade?), trust your staff by asking them to do NOTHING and assume they will put the book to good use!

5) Free Vacation Day Drawings - There are few things greater than the gift of time. Shortly before winter break, all 13 district administrators and directors randomly draw the name of one direct report. Those lucky staff members earn a free half-day of personal leave covered by their boss! Much more information about this program can be found here.

The Hack: This event produces humorous photos when the leader has to cover a position that may be a little out of his or her wheelhouse (like when I filled in for a secretary last year!)

4) New Baby Onesies - Any employee or employee's spouse in your organization should be publicly recognized for the birth of a child - talk about a life-changing moment! Use this opportunity to publicly recognize those new parents as well as reinforce the "family" culture by giving them a district-themed baby onesie. Many staff have said they want a baby just for the onesie (they are joking ... I think!!).

The Hack: Ask baby-mamas and baby-daddies to share pics of their babies dressed up in their onesies - these photos are social media gold!!

3) Birthday Emails to Staff Members - How many of you work for a boss who hands out birthday cards and all that is written is his or her name at the bottom? This approach is so impersonal! I was "that person" until I heard that leaders should consider sending birthday emails to employees. I know, I know ... emails are so impersonal. But when you are talking about 250 employees, efficiency is key. This process takes some setup beforehand (a secretary must import all birthdays into you calendar) but the results are worth it!

The Hack: Not only are the emails a great way to wish employees a happy birthday, they provide the perfect opportunity to give specific, positive feedback to employees. Who doesn't like hearing nice things on their special day?!

2) Flower Deliveries to New Staff - A staff member's first day of work is a BIG deal! Unfortunately, too many schools treat it like just another day. Create a lasting memory by working with a local florist to deliver a plant or flowers to all new teachers on the first day of school.

The Hack: Go to the next level by creating a flower pot or vase has your school/school district logo. These look fantastic in classrooms and offices!!

1) Student Birthday Postcards - By far, one of the best decisions I've made was to handwrite birthday postcards for each of our district's 1500 students. To get this process started, generate a list of student birthdays and purchase a couple thousand specialty postcards through Vistaprint. Looking to streamline the process? You may need to delegate addressing and mailing to a secretary :)

The Hack: This activity is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only do students love the gesture, the cards lead to endless student and family conversations when I am out and about in the community.

How to Step into 2021 with Real Purpose

Congratulations: You survived 2020! That’s no small feat, regardless of how little or how much you were affected by its events. Take a moment to take that in. You’ll need it as you plan ahead for a year that holds both hope and uncertainty.

As I began reflecting on this piece, I was taken back to the time I was pregnant with my twins. It was the year 2000. I was nearing the end of my second trimester, and feeling excited and energized about what was to come. Much as we all did around this time last year, my husband and I planned for the best year of our lives.

And then, my world flipped over. At a regular checkup, it was discovered that I was close to going into labor—and that night, I actually did. The doctors managed to stall the delivery with medications, but I’d been shaken to my core. And all I could see ahead was uncertainty and struggle. Hospitalized and bedridden, I tried to make sense of my world. Collectively, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing as we’ve sheltered in place, dealt with our emotions, and watched our old lives slip through our fingers.

I think I grew a decade in the weeks that followed. My earlier excitement around how I wanted to decorate the nursery and what I would ask for at my baby shower was replaced by a more adult sense of agency. I hooked my sight on the vision I had for my family, and planted my feet firmly on the ground of reality. And from there, I took one step at a time; sometimes, one contraction at a time, to brave through the final trimester.

We all grew a decade in 2020. Our goals from yesteryear may feel immature, like those of an excited, emotional, and ambitious adolescent. We’re seeing the world through the eyes of an older, wiser adult. One who can visualize a better tomorrow, and one who is ready for the hero’s journey ahead.

To set goals that harness the slow metamorphosis of 2020, and step into 2021 and beyond as the best version of yourself, here are five distinctions that will serve you:

Must vs. Should

Get clear on the domains of life that are important to you. Too often, we engage in domains that other people value, or that society rewards. It’s a draining journey that leads to an unfulfilling outcome. Perhaps the pandemic shifted your priorities somewhat. Perhaps you realized you want to be more involved in your community. Or that you need to actively take care of your physical health. Think of domains tied to what poet David Whyte calls the three marriages of life: Self, Work, and Relationships.

Best vs. Perfect

Create a vision of the best version of each domain. Be mindful of confusing the best with the perfect. The best version of a certain relationship may be less than ideal simply because you have no control over the other person. Or the best version of your financial success may not include riches and cruises, because that’s not what you most value. The clearer you are on what this vision is for you, the more it will draw you forward, keep you guided, and provide you with a safe landing when things don’t go well.

Driven vs. Drifting

Rate yourself on each domain. One way of doing this is to draw a circle that represents your life, with equal slices for each domain. The outer edge of the slice represents the vision you just created; the part toward the center represents where the domain is as bad as it possibly can be. Then, color in each slice at the point where you currently stand in this domain. So, for example, if you're closer to realizing the vision you've set for yourself, you'd color closer to the outer edge. If you've made some strides but haven't yet reached your goal, you'd fill in the middle of the slice. I like doing it this way because when you color in your rating, the ones that need your greatest attention jump out at you. Choose three to five to work on, no more. When everything becomes a priority, nothing stays a priority.

Realistic vs. Ideal

With this clarity, it’s time to set goals. Goals are the milestones you’ll reach on the journey toward your vision. When things are uncertain or challenging, our goals need to be small and not too far in the future, so our wins keep us motivated. We also need to set ourselves reminders, know how we’ll deal with the challenges that may come up, and create a system of support and accountability, so our emotions don’t derail us. In a world where so much is out of our control, it’s important to be on our own side!

Whole vs. Divided

Any meaningful goal has a spiritual aspect to it, one that’s aligned with a higher version of ourselves. And yet, there’s a human inside, us as well, with desires, impulses, fears, and emotions. Some call it the soul—that essential part of our individuality. We have to take it along on the journey if we want to live with both joy and meaning. Think of who you are at your most authentic. What makes you come alive? What are your superpowers? And based on these answers, what will you do more of, and what will you let go of?

In Kafta on the Shore, author Haruki Murakami writes: “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

He may as well have been talking about 2020. And our lives beyond it.


Homaira is a coach, writer, and researcher who helps women build grounded confidence in order to live their most successful lives.

We Need YOUR Help with Event Planning! Iowa ASCD

We need your Help. Discussion is underway regarding Iowa ASCD event scheduling.

We are planning on offering two critically important topics.

"Rebounding from Chaos: A Trauma Responsive Approach" led by Danielle Theis.

"Every Child-Every Day-Whatever it Takes" led by Jimmy Casas.

The challenges for scheduling are your availability with limited substitute resources and timing understanding “zoom/online” fatigue.

Please respond to 6 questions to help us determine the best options for your attendance.

Event Planning Survey by Iowa ASCD Link

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Iowa ASCD Fall Academy - POSTPONED! New Dates to be determined!

Rebounding from Chaos: A Trauma Responsive Approach

Danielle Theis will be back!

Save the date! Postponed Watch for details about this virtual conference!

Respond to the Survey -What is your preference?

Midwest Affiliate Virtual Conference - January 19, 2021 - FREE - Equity

Iowa ASCD Spring Academy - April 19 & 20, 2021
Every Child - Every Day - Whatever it Takes
with Jimmy Casas and Iowa Educators

Conference will be virtual. Please choose the format by responding to this survey!