KeepHealthCare.ORG – Lincoln Park launches Resilient Schools Project to help reduce impact of childhood trauma on students | News
Lincoln Park Public Schools announced Monday that the district is implementing the Resilient Schools Project, an initiative aimed at reducing the impact of childhood trauma on students.
With childhood trauma linked to high-risk behaviors from drug abuse to smoking and from promiscuity to depression, the aim is to increase students’ resilience in the face of the adversities around them.
The program builds on a holistic education movement centered on the whole child, inside and outside of the classroom.
In the mid-1990s, health care giant Kaiser Permanente and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began a joint research project called the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.
The study surveyed more than 17,000 people about their exposure to childhood trauma and looked for relationships between exposure and numerous health, social and behavioral problems later in life.
Conducted over the course of two decades, the longitudinal study established a link between childhood trauma and adverse health and social outcomes, setting the foundation for the Resilient Schools Project.
“The Resilient Schools Project is years in the making, and we have made a huge investment in transitioning Lincoln Park into a district that focuses on the whole child,” Lincoln Park school Supt. Terry Dangerfield said.
The district worked with child psychologist Dr. Caelan Soma and the Starr Global Learning Network to develop a program that treats resiliency as a topic every bit as worthy as biology. So far, officials said, it’s working. Early results show a reduction in violent acts among students in every grade level.
“What happens during childhood matters, and traumatic childhood experiences have been proven to have long-lasting negative effects on the brain,” said Nicole Chubb, the district’s director of special education.
By accounting for, rather than dismissing, traumatic events such as physical abuse, parental incarceration and domestic violence, the program trains teachers to “meet students where they are physically, mentally and emotionally,” Chubb said.
With the project still in its early stages, the district hopes to continue shifting the paradigm for its students, teachers and administrators.
“By focusing on student needs, we are able to make sure they are poised for success in the classroom and the real world.” Dangerfield said. “As educators, we tend to focus on test scores and achievement in the classroom, but if a student’s personal needs aren’t met, there is no way we can expect them to be successful in the classroom.”