Centers for Disease Control studies draw a direct link between a child’s health and well-being and his or her academic success – and, of course, success in life.
ATJ is here to help, offering proven services that empower students as well as teachers, parents and administrators to shift their thinking and behavior in order to create fundamental, lasting change. Together, we make best practices routine and create procedures that help schools make the systemic shift necessary to become a trauma-informed, wellness community.
Ultimate outcomes include significantly higher graduation rates, success in college, greater earnings potential, increased well-being, enhanced family lives, and less cost to society.
Trauma and stress-induced behavior in children and adolescents can have a serious, negative impact on their education and future prospects.
While abuse and violence span all cultures, we know they are amplified in high-stress, economically disadvantaged communities where opportunities are limited. Consequently, academic achievement is nearly impossible when kids are focusing on their own safety and survival. Unable to regulate themselves, they have little control over what’s happening in their minds and bodies, leading to disruptive behavior, poor grades and suspensions.
Transform, ATJ’s trauma-informed program for schools, helps kids build resiliency so that they can cope with stress and trauma in a constructive, rather than a destructive, way. Based on solid research and pilot program testing, our techniques are both practical and therapeutic, inspired by yoga, mindfulness, rhythm and other reflective modalities.
Our focus is on the whole person, helping students gain control of their bodies, minds and emotions while increasing their self-awareness, confidence and ability to set and realize goals.
Throughout the program we work to develop other life skills, too, such as effective communication and decision making, both of which come more naturally once students start feeling more in control. Moreover, the group dynamic is a particularly positive one in which everyone learns the same thing at the same time, and participants receive constant support from one another as they make their new skills their own.
Our Transform parent component provides training and coaching to caregivers of Transform students to increase their understanding of their children’s needs, and to help them reinforce skills learned by their children in the program. Parents will also learn techniques that they can use to manage stress, communicate more effectively with their children and develop healthy patterns of behavior. This will provide students with support at home to practice new skills and enables parents to develop better self-care practices that promote mental, emotional and physical wellness.
Our school personnel component includes training and coaching for teachers and administrators to increase their understanding of student and family needs, and to help them reinforce skills learned by students in Transform. The goal is to create a safe, culture of wellness at the school that will support the academic and personal success of the students and provide families with the resources they need to be healthy and well. Additionally, group coaching enables school personnel to work through specific challenges they have in the classrooms and hallways in an effort to build their behavior management skills in a trauma informed way. Teachers will notice calmer and more focused classrooms. All school staff will be able to respond to students with more clarity; using effective communication and regulation skills, and having more resources available.
Sample topics of focus for parents and school personnel:
- Understanding high stress and trauma’s impact on the body, mind and learning
- Personal responsibility for wellbeing
- Using movement, music, mindfulness and reflective practices for self-care
- Self-care at home (parents) in the classroom (teachers)
- Learned optimism
- Effective communication
- Non-violent conflict resolution
- Understanding and responding to your kids “big” feelings (parents)
- Trauma-informed behavior management techniques (school personnel)
Learn more about ATJ’s groundbreaking Transform program at New Designs Charter School in Watts, California.
Together, we can take schools one-step closer to being truly Trauma-Informed.