As educators begin the new school year getting to know and building relationships with individual students, it is sometimes difficult to know how to best address the needs of students who may have experienced some kind of trauma already in their lives. Mr. John Eller, the Director for Catawba County Social Services, recently shared the article “Creating Trauma Informed Classrooms” by Nichole Callahan and Chuck Johnson. Mr. Eller states that “Successfully implementing trauma-informed classrooms requires understanding of the dramatic impact of trauma on all development systems. Recent advances in neuroscience have documented previously unknown alterations in brain development, brain chemistry, and brain activity as a result of abuse and trauma. In our work, we often refer to at-risk children as those who have come from “hard places.” Not only are there changes in the brain and the biology, there are also tragic changes in the belief systems of these children. Because trusted adults harmed them, they are often confused about how to make and keep friendships, how to interact with peers and adults, and how to figure out whom to trust. For many educators, reframing their students’ behaviors as survival strategies rather than willful disobedience creates a dynamic shift in classroom interactions and behavior management.” The article provides direction for meeting the needs of these students who have experienced trauma.
About Julia Styers
Julia Styers is the Director of Secondary Education, Career and Technical Education, and Student Services for Newton-Conover City Schools. Julia began teaching math at Newton-Conover High School in 1983. She became Assistant Principal at N-CHS in 2004 and served as Principal of South Newton Elementary School from 2010 - 2015. She was N-CHS Teacher of the Year and the recipient of the Ben Craig Educator of the Year for Catawba County in 2003. She was the NCCS Principal of the Year in 2011 and 2014. Julia received her Bachelors of Science in Secondary Mathematics from Lenoir Rhyne College and her Masters of School Administration from Appalachian State University. She and her husband Mike are the proud parents of Brandon, Ashley, Julianne, Jason, and Jonathan and grandparents of Rylee, Nicholas, Wesson, and Beau.