CFA Staff Training in Our Community
The impact of trauma on students’ behaviors and their ability to learn – and the subsequent impact on their teachers – have become serious issues for school systems. In the spring of 2015, Child and Family Agency had the opportunity to collaborate with New London Public Schools (NLPS) to train school staff on the impact of trauma on NLPS students and their teachers. This issue has become increasingly critical to an understanding of student success, as DCF estimates that 60-80% of Connecticut’s children have been exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event, and there is a growing body of research which clearly demonstrates that trauma can significantly reduce children’s educational performance and potential. CFA’s clinical directors created a training that included better understanding trauma and its impact on the brain, the ways in which trauma can impact the behavior of students, and strategies to assist school staff in working more effectively with trauma-impacted students. The feedback from these trainings was overwhelmingly positive, and soon CFA was asked to present similar trainings in other school districts.
At the end of each training, feedback forms most always indicated “we need more of these types of trainings.” CFA responded by creating an array of trainings for schools on issues including “Assessing Student Risk”, “Managing Difficult Disclosures”, “Students Who Self-Harm”, and “Mental Health First Aid”. Furthermore, CFA expanded their trauma training to a series of trainings, with focus areas such as “Immigration Trauma”, “Attachment”, and “Self-Care” to help school staff better manage the impact of their work with traumatized students. Each training provides a clinical perspective, while also keeping in mind the school’s primary role as an academic institution, with the goal of providing school staff with additional tools to assure that ALL children, no matter their challenges, can be focused and engaged to learn.
In addition to New London Public Schools, CFA has presented trainings to Colchester Public Schools, Groton Public Schools, Montville Public Schools, Norwich Public Schools, Norwich Free Academy, and the Regional Multicultural Magnet School.
While CFA loves training in schools, there are also plans to expand offerings to include day long self-care retreats and clinical trainings that would also offer continuing education credits for other community mental health providers.