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April 2015

How Schools Can Lower Suspension Rates and Raise Graduation Rates

  • Disciplinary Action Against StudentA growing trend in trauma-informed school discipline uses non-punitive therapeutic interventions that address the reasons for a student’s behavior. The approach trains teachers to catch problems before they become discipline issues and help students stay engaged in their education even when out-of-school time is chaotic. The trauma-informed policies appear to benefit all students, including those without discipline issues. Data show that schools with discipline policies that promote healing and emotional management have fewer suspensions and higher graduation rates than schools with zero-tolerance and harsh discipline policies.

New School Discipline Guidance from DESE

  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has published an Advisory on the new student discipline rules, Q&A Guidance, and other resources on school discipline. The Advisory provides an overview of the Chapter 222 regulations, including rules by offense category (37H, 37H ½ and 37H ¾). The School Discipline Q&A gives helpful new guidance interpreting the law and regulations. There are also links to federal resources, such as the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study.

Be Well to Teach Well

  • Senior Woman Consoling Her DaughterAdults who have their own adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and are caregivers for children with a history of complex trauma can reactivate their own trauma with potential negative health outcomes. A recent study surveyed over 2,000 Head Start teachers and staff about their personal ACEs and physical and emotional health as adults. The authors of the study found that mindfulness training can build resilience in these teachers and have developed an online professional development program designed to help teachers improve their well-being and classroom interactions called Be Well to Teach Well. Also included here are several additional resources on mental and emotional health for children and caregivers.

Youth Communication Website

  • sad mother and daughterHere to Listen is a website of stories, activities, and advice for caring adults to help youth through tough times. Often charming and poignant, a selection of brief, teen-authored stories of personal experiences explores topics such as violence, depression, bullying, and loss. Many stories are taken from Represent magazine written by youth in foster care. Information on Here to Listen is developed with the goal of strengthening social, emotional, and literacy skills that can contribute to success in school, work, and life.

Federación para Niños con Necesidades Especiales Facebook Page

  • fcsn-4c-symbol_webThe Parent Training and Information Center at the Federation for Children with Special Needs has launched a new social media initiative in Spanish to reach out to largest language minority in Massachusetts. The content of this page is strictly in Spanish for the purpose of disseminating activities and trainings offered by the Federation for the Spanish-speaking community. Spread the word!