Becoming a trauma-sensitive school district

Nationally, 45% of children have experienced trauma. In Minnesota, almost twice as many black children (58%) experience trauma compared to their white peers (31%). The vast majority of 287 students have experienced some kind of complex trauma in their short lives.

As a school district, we are on a journey to becoming a trauma-sensitive organization. We are already doing many things as part of our day-to-day work to support students who have experienced trauma, things like Social Emotional Learning, Positive Behavior Supports, and Restorative Justice.

We’ve also taken several key actions the past few years to ensure our schools are safe and responsive to the needs of students who have experienced trauma. Things like:

Therapeutic Teaching Classrooms – we partnered with Wilder to launch the Therapeutic Teaching Model, a school model for students who experienced severe trauma – where a teacher and clinical therapist work together in the classroom on the healing and learning needs of students. Early indicators already show important progress.

Professional Development – training for staff in trauma, crisis, de-escalation, etc. Even though we have one of the most challenged populations of students, Intermediate school districts don’t receive professional development funding like other public schools.

District Mobile Response Team – a team of four licensed mental health professionals that respond to significant crises each day across the district. They respond to over 300 critical incidents each school year.

School Safety Coaches Model – we replaced School Resource Officers with School Safety Coaches who are focused on building relationships with students and addressing behavior before it escalates to needing police intervention. Incidents with police involvement decreased by half within two years and schools report fewer arrests, citations, and suspensions.

Employee Wellbeing – Our educators and staff have rewarding jobs, but at times they can be difficult and impact their personal wellbeing. We’re taking important steps to make sure our employees are safe and supported at work.