School Re-Entry After COVID: A Workshop on How Schools Can Help Students Heal

Principals, 

This fall is going to be a tsunami of student traumas, behaviors and needs. Students are coming back to school after a major traumatic event. Some families lost jobs, some families lost family members. Some stress in homes made homes unsafe for students. Some students suffered major depression. 

You know you need to address the issues of student trauma and make classrooms safe spaces for students to begin to heal.

Providing Support to Both Students and Staff

You have students coming back into school this fall who will exhibit behaviors and have issues that will be overwhelming for all staff unless you can find out immediately which students have had traumas this past year and get those students some support. 

You know that you need every teacher to make their classroom a soft landing and a safe space at the very beginning of the school year, especially for students who have experienced terrible loss and traumas, but you can’t dictate empathy. 

At the same time you are addressing student traumas, you also know that your teachers had a rough year last year to say the least. You need a PD that allows them to heal as well. 

This Trauma-Embracing workshop and experiential classroom activity are designed to be a systematic approach to identifying which students have underlying trauma and addressing that trauma right away. This process also creates bonds between students and staff, setting the classroom climate for the entire school year.

Do Teachers Really Want Another PD, Especially Now?

I know you might be worried about asking teachers to participate in a PD after the year they’ve had. After all, they were bombarded with new technologies for teaching last year.

This workshop addresses your reluctant staff members by being personal, relevant, practical, and applicable at advanced levels. No one’s time is wasted and staff walk away with a low-tech hybrid or no-tech in-person activity to do in their classrooms on Day 1 of school. Trauma-Embracing strategies and materials were created and honed in high school classrooms with teachers who saw 150 students in a day. Teachers at elementary levels have been trained in and used these materials with great success and report positive, lasting changes in classroom climate and relationships with students. Also, this workshop brings staff back together and allows them to debrief a really tough year. 

Comprehensive Solutions to Creating Supportive Classroom Environments

This workshop introduces practical, Trauma-Embracing strategies as action items for you and your staff  to take starting on the first day of school. As an educator myself, I can’t afford to waste my time in PDs and I want activities I can use immediately.

You and your staff will receive a Trauma-Embracing lesson plan activity, student handouts, and templates for a systematic, whole-school activity designed to uncover and address student traumas. 

In the workshop, I will walk you and your teachers step-by-step to experience the activity you will be doing with your students. This allows staff to feel the impact of the activity themselves, a  therapeutic, universally bonding experience. 

This workshop provides directions for administrators, teachers, or counselors on what to say before for the lesson that makes this activity so effective. The workshop also provides participants with scripts for what to say when students reveal trauma so you don’t feel  overwhelmed or overburdened by your students’ hard stories.

Participant experiences in previous trauma-embracing workshops:

“After having worked with this staff for five years, this is by far the best training we have ever brought in, not only because of the content, but because of the way Jessie was able to bond our staff through their stories. We’ve never had a more successful start to a school year and connected staff. Thank you Jessie for this valuable training that we can use to help our students, but also for bringing us together under a common goal.”   

 -Alex Clauson, Principal    Saltar’s Point Elementary

Who is This Workshop For?

This program is for Administrators who want to support their students and staff returning to school after COVID…

This program is also for you if you:

  • Believe that if traumas are addressed and each student feels safe and welcomed in their classroom every day, they will thrive.
  • Want to know from the first day of school which students they need to target for intervention and support services. 
  • Understand that the students who need help are rarely going to ask for that help. 
  • Want a systematic, whole-school way to uncover hidden traumas in students’ lives.
  • Believe, with the right support, all staff members have the capacity to learn and implement empathetic, trauma-embracing strategies.
  • Are looking for a way to bring your staff back into connection with each other and with you after a year of isolation.

Who is This Workshop Not For?

This workshop isn’t for everyone. It might not be a good fit for you and your school if you:

  • Merely need to fill staff professional development time.
  • Don’t have time to follow through on the trauma-embracing strategies and curriculum provided.
  • Believe that only a few of their staff members have the capacity to learn and implement empathetic, Trauma-Embracing strategies.
  • Don’t want to participate in the workshop and don’t want to take responsibility for modeling Trauma-Embracing strategies.
  • Are not prepared to support the student traumas that will be revealed through this activity.

A Real, Classroom-Tested, Practical Solution

This activity is classroom-tested, veteran-teacher-approved. For high school and middle school teachers, the motto is that if an activity doesn’t work well with 150 students in a day, it doesn’t work. This works with 150 students and doesn’t require tons of extra time.

This workshop takes even the most disillusioned staff members and connects them back to themselves by modeling empathy from you to staff and then staff to students using the same hands-on activity and Trauma-Embracing scripts.

Teachers gain support for poor student behaviors in the classroom and connection with students, which makes Trauma-Embracing workshops practical, applicable, and enjoyable.

This workshop bonds staff at the beginning of a school year or anytime throughout the year by having your whole staff experience this trauma-embracing activity.

Participant experience in previous trauma-embracing workshops:

“This class has been so enlightening. It will not only change my teaching practice, but will change how I handle relationships. It has also given me the privilege to learn about my co-workers in an authentic, emotional, healing, joyous way!” 

-Lavonne Uriarte, 4th grade teacher

“What stuck with me most was the idea of seeing beyond the behaviors. Find out why the child(ren) are acting out or exhibiting concerning behaviors.” 

-Amy Hickerson, 6th grade teacher

Program Benefits for You, Your Teachers, and Your Counselors:

This workshop: 

  • Provides an activity that immediately identifies which students need extra support for traumatic childhood events.
  • Explains the two action steps that administrators, teachers, and counselors can take to help heal childhood trauma.
  • Provides directions for your teachers or counselors on how to approach a Trauma-Embracing activity with students.
  • Provides handouts and directions for an art and writing activity that gives students an opportunity to share on paper the ups and the hard times of COVID quarantine. Sharing with the teacher or counselor allows students to begin the healing process.
  • Models with your staff how to conduct the activity–before, during, and after.
  • Provides administrators and teachers with a script and appropriate responses if student trauma is revealed so you don’t feel  overwhelmed or overburdened by your students’ hard stories.
  • Provides a script for referring students to counseling so students are likely to go.
  • Creates a bond between staff members at the beginning of the school year, setting the tone of staff meetings for the rest of the year.

In addition, with this workshop you can set the tone between you and your staff right at the beginning of the school year. Your staff get the debrief and bonding experience that allows everyone to start the year connected.


Impact Statement on Past Trauma-Embracing Trainings District-Wide:

“Now, more than ever, schools need to promote student mental health and well-being, which impacts both readiness to learn and the ability to benefit from learning opportunities. It is essential that schools focus on helping children develop the skills to cope, recover from adversity, and be prepared for challenges. Jessie Dorin has been a key element to our district work in creating environments that support the social and emotional needs of our students by recognizing the power of school connectedness. Jessie’s training provided oru staff with a message of hope and specific strategies to foster safe, supportive and inclusive learning environments.” 

 -Kathi Weight, Superintendent of Steilacoom Historical School District

Designed for All Grade Levels

This lesson plan is designed for all grade levels. The core of this activity is a student drawing that represents the students’ experiences over the past year. Younger students will have more rudimentary elements than older elementary, middle, or high school students, but the teacher asking about the drawing can be very helpful. Students in second grade and older gradually have more writing added to their assignment to add a deeper element in reflecting on their year.  

  • 1st grade: Student drawings and age-appropriate teacher-questioning techniques and counseling referral. This workshop works in a limited capacity for this age group and relies on teacher questioning and drawings rather than written work.
  • 2nd grade–3rd grade: Student drawings, limited pre-writing and post-artwork reflection, and age-appropriate teacher questioning techniques and counseling referral.
  • 4th grade –12th grade: Expanded pre-writing activity, student artwork, longer written reflections,age-appropriate teacher questioning techniques and counseling referral.
  • Adults in your school: Have they had a safe space to debrief their quarantine year? This workshop bonds staff members right as the school year begins, creating a sense of shared experiences, hurt, and support.

Workshop Format: 

  • A brief introduction on trauma basics

The behaviors/ academic difficulties that trauma produces; How adults can intervene and change the impact of trauma on students’ brains and behaviors. 

  • Pre-Activity Scripts 

The facilitator will model and provide scripts for presenting the trauma-embracing activity. This helps even the most reluctant teachers feel confident in presenting the lesson.

  • Interactive art and written reflection activity 

You, your teachers, and your counselors will use art to create a structured representation of your Quarantine Year. We will use the artwork as a starting point for reflecting and sharing the most important parts of that year–the hard and the joyful.

  • Response Scripts 

The facilitator will model and provide scripts for responding to any trauma that students (and staff) may reveal. This helps all staff feel like they aren’t going to harm students in engaging students about traumas that emerge. You will also receive scripts for handing students off to the counselor–the endgame in supporting students from trauma.

  • Activity Debrief

This is time for you and your staff to troubleshoot any barriers to the implementation of this Trauma-Embracing activity in your school. It is also a time to ask about any further support with Trauma-Embracing classroom strategies.

FAQs

We already have an SEL curriculum. How is Trauma-Embracing different?

SEL asks students to think about how they feel and treat others and then teaches students to monitor how they feel and how they treat others. Trauma-Embracing is about how the adults in the room make students feel. Trauma-Embracing assumes that students are doing their best and they need adults to take specific actions that boost a students’ sense of self and self-worth as well as facilitate activities that allow students to reveal hidden trauma. 

We already had a PD on being Trauma-Informed. How is this different?

Trauma-Informed is the basic information about what trauma does to students’ brains and bodies. Being informed on a topic is great, but it does not give you the practical steps to take action. So Trauma-Informed often leaves people guessing about what to do about behaviors, often resulting in policies that are too lenient and not addressing the core problem. That’s not helpful to anyone. Similarly, if you are not teaching the way that traumatized brains learn, being informed isn’t that helpful in everyday classroom activities.

Trauma-Embracing Schools give everyone in the school the lessons, scripts, and mindsets to uncover hidden trauma and address that trauma in a systematic, step-by-step manner. Trauma-Embracing schools know how trauma changes students’ brains and adjusts curriculum to work with those changes. Trauma-Embracing schools don’t make excuses for poor behaviors but rather address root causes of behaviors in a compassionate, systematic, practical manner for true resolution and restoration.

My staff is burned out on PDs. How will you engage those who are a tough sell? 

I have a PhD in veteran teachers.  They don’t want their time wasted and they don’t want the 101 version when they are 20 years in. That’s me. I’m that teacher. I don’t want anyone to come in and waste my time either. This workshop engages the already enthused and hooks in everyone else because when a teacher hears something they know to be true, adds a new perspective, and gives them a practical tool they can use the next day, it’s not a tough sell at all. In fact, it’s a refreshing change.

Participant experience in previous trauma-embracing workshops:

“Jessie Dorin’s Workshop was one of the best we could have ever provided our staff. Not only did our staff learn tools to uncover hidden trauma in the classroom, they walked out of the training with tangible strategies they could begin to use with students on the first day of school. Given the heavy topic, Jessie made it fun, interactive and very real by providing a safe environment where staff could be vulnerable. Jessie herself led by example walking the talk the entire way.” 

  -Laurie Vallieres, Assistant Principal  Saltar’s Point Elementary

As Your Workshop Facilitator

I have almost two decades of experience working in classrooms with students from trauma. Twelve of those years included working in Trauma-Embracing schools, helping to develop behavioral, academic, and attendance intervention practices and creating and implementing Trauma-Embracing, therapeutic lesson plans. In addition, I’m a National Board certified high school English teacher with a Masters in Education.

In the past six years, I have created and facilitated workshops, presentations, and full-day inservice training on Trauma-Embracing classroom strategies and curriculum for school districts, teacher education programs, individual schools, and county offices of education. 

I also am trained in: Supporting grieving children and families; Identifying and addressing grief discrimination experienced by children of color; How to support all children through traumatic events.

What’s Included?

  • One 3-hour workshop for up to 30 staff members

This can fit into a professional development day or a longer staff meeting. 3 hours provides enough time to have you, teachers, and counselors not just hear a description of the activity and how to use it with students, but feel what that activity is like yourselves.

  • Pre-Activity Scripts

It is important to introduce this activity with safely vulnerable scripts that act like a permission slip for students who need to share trauma to do so.

  • An Interactive art and written reflection activity activity 

The facilitator will engage and model the activity for administrators, teachers, and counselors so that everyone knows exactly how to do the same for your students.

  • Handouts for students

You will receive handouts to give directly to students with directions and for the art and writing activities. You will also receive house templates for the Quarantine House activity so no student is daunted by the step of drawing their own. (You’d be surprised how much Step One can be the biggest obstacle for students). 

  • Directions for the teacher

Written directions for pre-lesson, during the lesson, and post-lesson to help the teacher or counselor feel supported.

  • Art supplies (for in-person rather than zoom webinar workshops)

Art is the warm-handoff for grief and trauma. And, as a bonus. It is so much fun. You and your staff will be provided with all of the supplies you need to make this a really fun and memorable activity.

  • Response Scripts to Make Students and Teachers Feel Safe

The facilitator will model and provide scripts for responding to any trauma that students (and staff) may reveal. This helps all staff feel like they aren’t going to harm students in engaging students about traumas that emerge.

  • Script for a warm-handoff to a counselor:

 This is the end-game. As one student responded when I asked her about the new Wellness Center. “It’s great. But you have to get yourself there.” This is how your teachers encourage the students who need more support to agree to see the counselor.

  • The cost of this workshop is $500

Participant experience in previous trauma-embracing workshops:

“I was in your training last year and use your scripts frequently. I’m excited for your new training tomorrow.”

 -Laura Birbeck, 4th grade teacher

“Jessie, Your work is amazing. Your balance of accountability, acknowledgement, and respect make you an amazing teacher. Thank you for opening up “perspective” for the staff.”  

-Elizabeth Osheim, special education para

Are you ready to help your students heal? 

Email me for a free 15 minute consultation to discuss if this workshop is a fit for your school: 

Jessie Dorin 

JessieDorinCoaching@gmail.com

Questions? 

Email: JessieDorinCoaching@gmail.com