The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused – and continues to cause – stress and trauma on students’ brains, so Bristol Township School District reached out to Lakeside to see how they could help support students.
“Trauma and stress greatly impacts a student’s ability to learn,” said Audrey Flojo, state and federal programs coordinator of Bristol Township School District. “Our goal is to help students through this trauma and create a school climate that promotes student growth intellectually, socially and emotionally. Our partnership with Lakeside will help to support that goal.”
For the 2021-22 school year, BTSD will partner with Lakeside and its NeuroLogic Initiative, which provides training and consultation to schools.
“I am excited for this partnership as I think it will be a big support for our students and staff,” said Al Oberman, director of pupil services and special education.
In August and September, Lakeside’s NeuroLogic Initiative provided several professional development training sessions that implement brain-based, trauma-informed strategies to district administration and staff.
“We hope to be a support to staff by providing a new lens and offer new solutions to meet the needs of their students,” said Joshua MacNeill, director of the NeuroLogic Initiative. “When taking a brain-based approach, we can help target interventions that are most likely to impact students in a positive way.”
Over the course of the school year, Lakeside will provide staff with training around the impact of stress and trauma on the brain, as well as what practical interventions staff can apply to support their students. Topics include: the impact of trauma and stress on the brain; brain regions and specific interventions; increasing student stress tolerance; staff self-care; and other sessions as needed.
In addition to training, BTSD will have a full-time NeuroLogic Specialist who will work with staff to provide customized support for meeting the needs of all students. The Specialist will observe classes to provide feedback and strategies for staff, participate in various meetings as a resource, provide short training sessions around specific issues and offer support in other areas as needed.
“As teachers take a more trauma-informed approach to learning, students are more likely to have their needs met than they otherwise would,” said MacNeill. “Students will find school to be an even more supportive environment, improving their sense of belonging at school and their capacity to handle the stress of learning.”