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Maine: Parents deny trauma in their kids' lives; teachers are taught differently

Jan 25, 2018, Bangor (ME) Daily News: These Down East schools want to fix rural education https://bangordailynews.com/2018/01/25/mainefocus/these-down-east-schools-want-to-fix-rural-education/ ...Backed by brain science, around $1.3 million in foundation money and a team of education researchers at Colby College and the University of Maine, TREE plans to make elementary schools in Milbridge, Jonesport and Charlotte rural proving grounds for methods of addressing trauma and stress that can alter a child’s brain chemistry and hinder learning. It’s a growing movement, stemming from a Centers for Disease Control study that laid the groundwork for research into the toll adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, take on health and brain development. The nonprofit Cobscook Community Learning Center in Trescott hopes to raise a total of $3.5 million to pay for direct counseling for students and training for teachers so they’re equipped to deal with challenges in their students’ lives that interfere with academics. CCLC wants to make the case that rural students can benefit when mental health and childhood trauma experts are regular school budget items. … That early trauma elevates the risk of health conditions later in life such as heart disease and obesity, and even raises the risk of suicide. It also has short-term consequences. Maine high school students who reported at least three types of adverse childhood experiences were more likely than peers with less trauma in their past to have experienced prolonged periods of depression, considered suicide, smoked cigarettes and consumed alcohol, according to the 2017 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey. Some 31 percent of Washington County students recorded at least three adverse childhood experiences, according to the survey, the second highest rate among the state’s 16 counties. … “We can’t expect kids to come in here and adapt to us, right?” said Don Parker, a special education teacher at Milbridge Elementary. “We have to adapt to them. We have to adapt to their needs.” … “The question is, what caused the behavior?” Thomas said. “What’s the problem behind that?” … Ray said the change has led to some early resistance from parents who say their children haven’t experienced such trauma and question its relevance. “So much is determined by the ability of peers to get along with one another,” Ray said. “I’ll tell them that even though ‘Susie’ hasn’t had any trauma experiences, the student sitting next to her might have and that defines the success of the classroom.” …