2017 ECET2 Maine Grant Recipient – Peninsula School (Update)

2017 ECET2 Maine Grant
Peninsula School
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.

School Team Updates – Spreading the Good Work!

During the planning stages for ECET2 Maine 2017, the planning committee asked four Title I school sites in Maine if they would like to come with a team (an administrator and 4 – 5 teachers) to ECET2. If they committed to coming as a team, they would receive a $500 grant to bring a slice of the conference back to their school or district.

We are pleased to say that the following sites are using a mini-grant of $500 from ECET2 Maine to bring the work back to the school/district level. Here are October updates from the four schools.

ACADEMY HILL SCHOOL: The fourth and fifth grade team from Academy Hill School would like to thank you for the inspiration for our plan! We have decided that we want to focus on PBE starting with math. We will be collaborating as a team to incorporate PBE using a math workshop model. We would like to use the $500 grant to purchase materials such as professional development books and supplemental materials to use in our classrooms. Before we begin using this model we plan to participate in a book talk using a book that supports our PBE math journey. Some of the other things that we will be doing is presenting to our staff what we learned at the ECET2 Conference, presenting our project idea, and we have scheduled a meeting for next Thursday with our new Curriculum Person/PBE consultant. We will keep you posted.

AUGUSTA: Our goal is to share our new learning of childhood trauma and how toxic stress damages children’s brains. We are going to network with educators we met at ECET2 who have done work in this area and ask if they may be available to come and speak to our teachers. This will be followed by an after-school book study – Fostering Resilient Learners. The school will also allocate money to buy additional books for staff to help deepen their knowledge on childhood trauma in our schools and effective interventions. In March they will develop a session on childhood trauma to be offered for the district’s workshop day. This will be a great way to spread a piece of our learning from ECET2 throughout the school district.

RSU 24 – The Peninsula School: The Peninsula School would like to learn more about ACES and how to better meet the needs of our students. We need to learn more about identifying traumatized students. We also need to learn strategies that support students who have experienced trauma. We would like to purchase resources for the staff including: Fostering Resilient Learner: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom, Trauma- Sensitive School: learning Communities Transforming Children’s Lives, and The Trauma- Informed School. We would also like to invite Brittany Ray to join us for a staff meeting on the topic of ACES. Our overall goal is to be better informed, more responsive to students who are at-risk and to move forward as a community to create a Trauma-Sensitive School.

RSU 29: The RSU 29 team of teachers and administrators who were in attendance at the ECET2 Maine 2017 Waterville conference are interested in forming an in-house, teacher-led professional development committee. This committee would work to bring teacher inspired and led professional development mini sessions to our district. These sessions would follow the ECET2 model, with mini sessions to provide contact hours in topics identified as desirable. These sessions would be held after school, light refreshments would be provided and collegiality would be encouraged. Topics to be examined could include effective instruction, performance based education, how to’s (tech especially), and other current trends in education. Contact hours would be offered and the sessions would be open to educational technicians as well.