Editor’s note: Spotlight on Education contains information submitted by the Marathon County Retired Educators Association that highlights significant efforts by area schools.

The Stratford School District made working toward becoming a trauma sensitive district a focus this year.

We began the year with an all staff in-service by Dr. Kristen Iniguez and Tony Iniguez, both experts in working with children and families who have experienced trauma. We have also been fortunate this year to have a number of staff members take the lead in providing about 25 district employees professional development in the area of student trauma and trauma sensitive education. Heidi Shupe (5th grade teacher) and Claire Gilbertson (special education teacher) led staff in important discussions over the course of the school year surrounding how we can support all students that have suffered some type of trauma.

Schools across the country are seeing an increase in students that have suffered negative consequences from trauma. We are just starting to have an understanding of how this affects student learning and social / emotional development. Our group worked toward creating universal strategies and practices that support the development of all students. We focused on creating trauma sensitive environments, building relationships, academic interventions, emotional and physical regulations and building family partnerships.

The School District of Stratford is committed to continuing this work. We will continue to focus on becoming a trauma sensitive district. Teaching resilience to students that have suffered from various types of trauma will be emphasized during professional development in the upcoming school year. Our goal continues to be to help as many students as possible become happy, healthy, productive individuals.