Trauma-informed education program expands to second LBUSD school

Photos courtesy The Guidance Center
One of several PAAL student-created murals that line the exterior walls of classrooms on campus

The Guidance Center, a nonprofit child and family mental-health agency, this week announced the expansion of its pilot program It’s About T.I.M.E. (Trauma-Informed Movement in Education) and collaboration with Poly Academy of Achievers and Leaders High School (PAAL) staff.
PAAL is the second school within the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) that has partnered with It’s About T.I.M.E. as The Guidance Center works towards its goal of bringing the trauma-informed movement to every school within LBUSD, according to the agency.
Launched at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year in partnership with LBUSD and Beach High School, It’s About T.I.M.E. is a training program on the trauma-informed approach based on ChildTrauma Academy’s Neurosequential Model in Education (NME). The program builds on the foundation created by established support systems within LBUSD schools and brings the trauma-informed approach to educators through formal training at the beginning of the school year and onsite support throughout the year. The approach looks at how children’s behavior, brain development and functioning, and traumatic experiences are all connected. This provides educators with a different lens in which to view and respond to challenging behaviors in ways that promote healing, according to the agency.
Nathan Swaringen, LCSW, clinical therapist at The Guidance Center and developer of It’s About T.I.M.E., trained PAAL staff in the trauma-informed approach prior to the start of the 2017-18 school year. Swaringen will continue to support and serve as a collaborator, consultant, model and instructor to PAAL staff throughout the academic school year, in addition to continuing to support and collaborate with Beach High School staff.
“Many children in our community have experienced trauma, and it can be difficult to see how that affects their daily functioning without the understanding of how trauma impacts the brain,” Swaringen said. “By partnering with compassionate and influential community leaders like school staff through It’s About T.I.M.E., we can together help these children heal emotionally and succeed academically and beyond.”
The Guidance Center joins PAAL’s growing network of student supports that includes Long Beach BLAST academic mentoring, California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ)’s Conscious Classroom and Building Bridges, Helpline Youth Counseling groups, New Hope Grief Support and Restorative Justice.
“PAAL High School is looking forward to having The Guidance Center join our team this year,” said Rebecca Suzanne Caverly, assistant principal at PAAL. “Through It’s About T.I.M.E., Nathan promises therapeutic support for the adults and youth in our school community, as we do everything we can to serve the whole child here at PAAL. We anticipate tremendous growth in our students and staff this year, resulting in higher achievement and better lives for our students.”
In its first year, It’s About T.I.M.E. collaborated successfully with Beach High School staff and its network of student support systems, like Safe and Civil, CCEJ’s Restorative Justice, BLAST, Scale High mentors and the Male Academy, among others, according to the Guidance Center. Suspension saw an overall decrease of approximately 59 percent. Attendance increased by approximately 6 percent, consistently outpacing the school’s attendance goal each month throughout the school year. Overall, average monthly attendance for the school year was 83 percent, according to the agency.

Source: The Guidance Center

Poly Academy of Achievers and Leaders High School (PAAL) has become the second school in the Long Beach Unified School District to partner with The Guidance Center’s It’s About T.I.M.E. program.

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