Today, research in the fields of medicine, public health, and brain development and function supports the reality that the emotional and psychological trauma currently pervasive among our children is impeding their school performance both academically and socially. Happily, this same research informs us concerning the plasticity and recuperative powers of the brain given the right environment, relationships, and generative and supportive experiences. The place where this can be achieved most efficiently is the universal public school setting because that is where most of the children are gathered.
Over the past four years, the Trauma Informed Education Coalition (TIEC) and the Pennsylvania State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have worked in concert, advocating for a Trauma Informed Education System in Pennsylvania.
We have made great progress toward achieving a “trauma informed education” system in Pennsylvania. Funds to support addressing the needs of traumatized children have been written into the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) proposal for equitable school funding. These have been included under the poverty factor.
The BEFC further recommended that the Sec. of Education establish protocols for a “trauma informed” education system in Pennsylvania.
These achievements are the direct work of TIEC in partnership with the NAACP on this effort. We have everything in place to move forward. Our work now is to envision and recommend protocols for this system.
New Elementary and Secondary Education Law Includes
Specific “Trauma-Informed Practices” Provisions
ACEs Connection Network by Elizabeth Prewitt 1/7/16
Basic Education Funding Commission
TRAUMA INFORMED EDUCATION BECOMES LAW
SENATE BILL 144 – JUNE 26, 2019
”An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, in preliminary provisions, further providing for definitions; in school directors, further providing for school director training programs; in intermediate units, providing for school safety and security enhancements; in certification of teachers, further providing for continuing professional development, providing for trauma-informed education and further providing for postbaccalaureate certification and for Pennsylvania school leadership standards; in safe schools, further providing for Office for Safe Schools; in school safety and security, further providing for definitions, for School Safety and Security Committee, for survey of school safety and security, for School Safety and Security Grant Program, for Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Teams, for school safety and security coordinator and for school safety and security training and providing for trauma-informed approach; in Safe2Say Program, further providing for judicial proceeding and for annual report; providing for threat assessment; in school health services, further providing for confidentiality, transference and removal of health records; in early learning programs, further providing for duties of department; providing for the Keystone Telepresence Education Grant Program; in the State Board of Education, further providing for powers and duties of the board and for powers and duties of Council of Basic Education and Council of Higher Education; and providing for references to area career and technical school in statute and regulation.”
H.B. 1415 and S.B. 200 June 14, 2019
”Legislation (H.B. 1415 and S.B. 200) that state Reps. Christina Sappey, D-Chester, and prime co-sponsor Ryan Mackenzie, R-Lehigh/Berks, introduced with state Sens. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia/Montgomery, and Patrick Browne, R-Lehigh, would implement trauma-informed approaches to education. These initiatives have received overwhelming support from both parties, as well as state and national organizations.
Both bills would instill trauma-informed focused policies, procedures and practices inside the classroom, such as requiring teachers and staff in schools to receive training on recognizing the signs of childhood trauma and methods on helping these students overcome obstacles they face in school. S.B. 200 unanimously passed the Senate Education and Appropriations committees on June 12 and is positioned to move to the full Senate next week, followed by the House Education Committee before the legislature adjourns for the summer.
“I’m glad to see there’s bipartisan support for this important legislation from both chambers. We have a real opportunity to change lives, and it’s entirely possible to begin immediately,” Sappey said. “We need empathetic, trauma-informed approaches in our schools to ensure every student has a chance to succeed, regardless of adverse childhood experiences.”
Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, include all forms of abuse, neglect and other potentially traumatic experiences that occur to people under the age of 18. The more ACEs one child has, the greater the probability for high-risk health behaviors, chronic health conditions, emotional and behavioral dysfunction and early death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
PA Senate Bill 200 June 11, 2019
Across Pennsylvania, there is a dire need for systematic, trauma-informed education and training in pre-service preparation and on-going educator professional development. Current research into psychological and emotional trauma as an impediment to school performance makes it clear that a classroom with emotionally dysregulated students and an emotionally dysregulated teacher creates an impediment to learning and deprives students of access to a thorough and efficient education.
Based on contemporary knowledge in the field of emotional and psychological trauma, it is clear that empathetic trauma-informed policies, procedures and practices will have a positive impact on the social-emotional growth of students, on their academic achievement, and on the well-being and effectiveness of the professionals who serve them.
The NAACP PA and the Trauma Informed Education Coalition (TIEC) encourage your organization to support PA Senate Bill 200, providing for trauma informed education in Pennsylvania. It establishes a cohesive approach to trauma-informed education and much needed training for all school personnel. It is going before the Senate for a vote. With your support, we will achieve trauma-informed education in the State of Pennsylvania.
School Safety and Community Violence Prevention Grants
Governor Wolf: Pennsylvania Schools Receive $40 Million in Grants for School Safety and Community Violence Prevention Grants.
“The next most popular request was for trauma-informed approaches to education, the development and revision of school safety plans and all-hazards plans, staff training in the use of positive behavioral supports, counseling services for students, specialized staff and student training programs, and costs associated with the training an compensation of certified guidance counselors, licensed professional counselors, licensed social workers, licensed clinical social workers and school psychologists.”
SENATE OF PENNSYLVANIA SESSION OF 2019-2020 REGULAR SESSION
Posted: January 29, 2019 12:50 PM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes and Sen. Patrick M. Browne
To: All Senate members
Subject: Trauma-Informed Education Initiative
”In the near future, we plan on reintroducing a modified version of Senate Bill 1271. This legislation would establish a new, trauma-informed system of education in Pennsylvania.
Decades of research have shown that for children experiencing trauma, the impact on brain development and function can be dramatic. Children experiencing trauma face an impediment to learning and require focused and proven interventions to overcome those obstacles. Research has also shown that empathetic trauma-informed/trauma-focused policies, procedures and practices will have positive impact on the social-emotional growth of students, on their academic achievement, and on the well-being and effectiveness of the professionals who serve them.
Based on this existing research and our work with numerous organizations, including the NAACP, who have championed the expansion of trauma-informed education, we are introducing a bill to:
- Increase the required training hours for newly elected school board members from four hours to five hours and require training on evidence-based and evidence-informed trauma-informed approaches to education. Increase the advanced training requirement hours required for school board members from two to three hours. A minimum of one hour of this training must be on trauma-informed approaches to education. This provision will also apply to individuals appointed to a board of trustees for charter schools.
- Require a minimum of one hour of required continuing professional development for professional educators to be on trauma-informed approaches to education.
- Require all school entities to provide school employees who have direct contact with children to be trained on trauma-informed approaches to education which shall include recognition of the signs of trauma in students and best practices for trauma-informed schools. Training will be evidence-based and reflect current best practices related to trauma-informed approaches to education and must include, but is not be limited to, the following topics:
- Recognition of the signs of trauma in students;
- Best practices for trauma-informed schools and classrooms, including utilization of multi-tiered systems of support;
- The school entity’s policies related to trauma-informed education, which may include, but are not limited to, policies related to schoolwide positive behavior supports, restorative justice, and resiliency.
- Add trauma-informed approaches to education to the postbaccalaureate certification instructional certificate programs that the Secretary of Education can create.
- Add understanding trauma-informed education and the impact of trauma on a child’s education experience to the Pennsylvania Leadership Standards as corollary standards. This program applies to school or system leaders who seek a certificate as a principal, vice principal, assistant principal, superintendent, assistant superintendent, intermediate unit executive director, assistant intermediate unit executive director or director of an area vocational-technical school.
- Require the State Board of Education to adopt policies encouraging the inclusion of trauma-informed approaches to education in the curriculum of programs of professional education in all public and private institutions of higher education in this Commonwealth issuing degrees to persons who may desire to teach in the schools of this Commonwealth.
- Add education and training of children impacted by trauma to those areas in which the Council of Basic Education is specifically authorized to conduct research studies, investigate programs and formulate policy proposals.
- Authorize the Department of Education to encourage the integration of a trauma-informed approach to education in the Pre-K Counts program to ensure the issue of trauma’s impact on education is identified at the earliest possible time.
This initiative is the beginning of what we hope is a comprehensive approach to bring trauma-informed practices into a variety of daily interactions with children and adults throughout Pennsylvania.”
Senate Bill 1271 October 2018
In October, 2018, State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and State Senator Patrick Browne (R-Lehigh) introduced Senate Bill 1271, which would establish programs to help school students who are victims of trauma.
“An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, in school directors, further providing for school director training programs; in certification of teachers, further providing for continuing professional development, providing for trauma-informed education and further providing for postbaccalaureate certification and Pennsylvania School Leadership Standards; in school safety and security, further providing for school safety and security coordinator and for school safety and security training; in early learning programs, further providing for definitions and for duties of department; and, in the State Board of Education, further providing for definitions, for powers and duties of the board and for powers and duties of Council of Basic Education and Council of Higher Education.”
The PA NAACP and TIEC sent an OP ED to the newspapers encouraging all legislators to support this proposed legislation.
SUMMIT ON TRAUMA INFORMED EDUCATION – JANUARY 6 & 13, 2018
The Trauma Informed Education Coalition in partnership with the Cheyney University Education Department and the NAACP PA Education Committee continue to hold meetings and prepare a presentation that will be presented to legislators in Pennsylvania to move forward with our mission. We have also met with the Deputy Secretary, Office of Postsecondary/Higher Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education to further our cause.
SUMMIT ON TRAUMA INFORMED EDUCATION – SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
The Trauma Informed Education Coalition in partnership with the Cheyney University Education Department and the NAACP PA Education Committee held a summit on Trauma-Informed Education on September 30, 2016. Several school district leadership were among those who attended the event to discuss what a school district needs to have in place to address the known emotional and psychological trauma that is impeding school performance both behaviorally and academically for many students of Pennsylvania. This ground breaking discussion was held for the purpose of informing the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education of a “boots-on-ground” assessment by education practitioners of what is required to be in place to address the needs of traumatized children in the school setting.