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Education Week is profiling Gladstone School District in a national video on trauma-informed education.

COURTESY PHOTO: GLADSTONE SCHOOL DISTRICT - Before the pandemic, a student at John Wetten Elementary learned self-calming skills to cope with the effects of childhood trauma.Gladstone School District's Culture of Care is being featured in a video produced by the newspaper Education Week this month.

An independent news organization covering education since 1981, Education Week is profiling Gladstone in a new series "What Does It Mean To Be Trauma-Informed?" which looks at ways schools can help students cope with trauma.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly half of all students in the U.S. have been exposed to a traumatic event in their lives, according to Education Week. Those events can can have lasting effects in the classroom.

Click here to view the video

"Traumatic stress, whether triggered by one-time events like natural disasters or an act of violence, or through long-term experiences like racism or a pandemic, can impact a student's mental, physical, and emotional health," Education Week wrote in its coverage. "But research shows that relationships and stability go a long way to preventing the effects of trauma."

COURTESY PHOTO: GLADSTONE SCHOOL DISTRICT - A mural at Kraxberger Middle School encourages students to identify their feelings.For the past nine years Gladstone staff have worked to identify trauma and mitigate its impacts on students' health and learning through special coping techniques, such as a calming corner, a place for students to de-escalate when they are feeling overwhelmed. Students who need more in-depth interventions can visit the Skills Learning Center, which provides one-on-one instruction on how sensory experiences can help students build self-control.

Kraxberger Middle School students gain independence by booking their own appointments to the Student Wellness Center, a similar resource. During the pandemic, school staff have made porch visits to check on students whose depression and anxiety have interfered with distance learning.

At Gladstone High School, students can take a class on happiness, which studies neuroscience and psychology. Students learn ways to focus on gratitude and how to savor their experiences. They also learn ways to increase empowerment and how to alter negative self-talk.

"Education Week has a national following of 1.6 million educators," said Superintendent Bob Stewart. "We are excited about this opportunity to share our work nationally in hopes that it will help students in other states benefit from these practices. That's especially critical now, given the anxiety, depression, stress and isolation children and teens face as a result of the pandemic."

Education Week's 11-minute video on the program is the fourth and longest video in the Education Week series, which was produced by Kaylee Domzalski.

"What started as an effort to address childhood trauma in elementary school students has transformed an entire district," Education Week writes in his coverage of Gladstone. "In Gladstone, Oregon, a collaborative endeavor to create calming corners, regulation skills-building classrooms, and care teams dedicated to reaching the most trauma-impacted students has coalesced."


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