International Author Discusses Trauma Sensitive Approaches in Schools
More than 200 area K-12 educators and counselors gained knowledge and information on the timely topic of relationship-based trauma sensitive approaches in schools during a professional development event sponsored by the Executive Leadership program at St. John Fisher College.
The two-day event featured Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, an internationally known physician and author, who facilitated sessions targeted for charter school and traditional public school leaders, related service providers, and teachers. In addition, students and faculty from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education and Wegmans School of Nursing attended.
On the first day, Ginsburg presented an overview of an integrated model for working with young adults that included learnings from the research on positive youth development, resilience building strategies and trauma-sensitive practices. He emphasized the primacy and power of human relationships to build strong, successful youth and to heal those who have endured hardships.
Ginsburg reviewed the four key principles of trauma informed practices:
- Knowing what is about you and what is not about you;
- Changing your lens from “What’s wrong with you!” to “What happened to you?”
- Seeing people as they deserve to be seen, not based on labels they’ve received or behaviors they’ve displayed; and
- Giving control back to people from whom control has been taken away.
The three hour session was held after school hours and allowed multiple teachers, administrators, and counselors to learn and reflect on current practices with young adults.
“The session was a very informative presentation that did not feel its actual length after a long day of work,” said one teacher in attendance.
Another educator thanked Ginsburg, “especially for helping us to replace dehumanizing language about teens with humanizing language,” while other participants thanked him for “flipping the script” regarding student success.
The following morning, Ginsburg met with a group of 80 leaders who were able to take a deeper dive on strengths-based communication. He emphasized self-care for those who care for others and opened the session to numerous questions, comments, and discussion with participants.
He advised participants on stress and burnout, with a particular emphasis on individuals working with young adults who have experienced trauma.
A participant shared that Ginsburg was an “amazing compassionate, knowledgeable, and insightful presenter,” noting that it was particularly impactful to learn from someone who is in “the trenches” with educators.
The sessions on trauma sensitive practices were made possible through a grant from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation and administered through Fisher’s Executive Leadership program.