2017 ECET2 Maine Grant
Focus: Becoming a Trauma Sensitive School
The 2017 ECET2 grant opportunity allowed our school to invest in books and supplies to support our focus of becoming a trauma sensitive school. The two books we have purchased for our staff reading groups are Teaching to Strengths: Supporting Students Living with Trauma, Violence, and Chronic Stress and Hanging In: Strategies for Teaching the Students Who Challenge Us Most.
We were able to purchase 10 copies of each book. We are currently involved in book studies and sharing our learning through PLCs and staff meetings. Our principal, Sally Leighton, purchased 6 books from the recommended list she received at ECET2 during the workshop with Brittany Ray. She read and discussed them with ECET2 attendees and ultimate was able to choose two books to purchase for the staff.
We have also focused several staff meetings to develop a common understanding of what it means to be trauma sensitive. We are in the process of setting goals for our school that include understanding
our students needs and learning ways to promote a resilience-focused support system. We had the pleasure of working with Brittany Ray, Director of TREE (Transforming Rural Experience in Education), who met with our staff early in February during a special staff meeting that included refreshments and a packed house that included Michael Eastman, RSU 24 Superintendent of Schools. We hope to be able to bring Ms. Ray back at least once to help us deepen our understanding and continue to move our school forward with this critical work.
Our district is currently writing the “ed specs” document for our new high school building proposal. We were able to impact the final version of the document with our better understanding of the kinds of spaces and programming that might better support students who have experienced trauma. Our new building could be the first in the state that is trauma sensitive in structure and design.
We believed as a staff that we were very sensitive to our students’ needs. We are finding that there is, in fact, a lot more that we can do to support our students. Understanding what is actually in their control and what is not is our first step. Knowing how to respond and support them is ongoing work that we are committed to as a team.