Oct 21, 2018, Holland (MI) Sentinel: Wilson: Too many kids are still struggling in school https://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20181021/wilson-too-many-kids-are-still-struggling-in-school By Ron Wilson, superintendent of Ionia Public Schools …I have entered my fourth decade in public education and have witnessed a great deal of change that gives me pause for concern. When you look at the challenges facing our nation, it is not hard to recognize how our schools and communities have changed. After all, schools are just a mirror image of what is happening in our society. Despite advances in technology, science, medicine and brain dominance theory, we have not been able to improve the standard of living for an increasingly large and growing sector of our population. This is especially true in K-12 education. The number of students who traditionally have had little success in school is growing. I am referring to English learners (students who are not fluent in English), students living in poverty, minority students, and students with disabilities. Meeting student needs has become an ever changing challenge for schools in Ionia and across our nation. … Recently added to the list are children who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences. ACEs are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. A recent national survey found that 60 percent of American children have been exposed to violence, crime, or abuse in their homes, schools or communities, and that 40 percent were direct victims of two or more violent acts…. … Childhood trauma can lead to a cascade of social, emotional and academic difficulties and self-medicating behaviors such as substance abuse, smoking and overeating. … A child who experiences a traumatic event may struggle in school. These struggles can be manifested in poor concentration, aggression, anxiety, defiance, fear, isolation, physical complaints and even suicide. Research shows that trauma can undermine a child’s ability to learn, form relationships and function appropriately in the classroom. Ionia Public Schools has partnered with other local agencies to ensure that children who are exposed to violence receive appropriate interventions so they can succeed in school. I believe that our public schools are at a tipping point, and our best hope for returning to “the good old days” rests in our ability to nurture and coach our youngest generation….