Portage, WI: Teachers learn that trauma from home leads to aggression in the classroom

Nov 14, 2017, Portage (WI) Daily Register: Portage schools provide trauma education for teachers District-wide discussions about trauma started in September and will continue during in-service training sessions held through the end of the school year, Director of Student Services Barb Wolfe told the school board Monday. The comprehensive series on trauma is intended to first get teachers thinking and talking about behavior they see in their classrooms. “What we hope to accomplish is understanding our students and then knowing how we can reach them to (improve) behavior,” Wolfe told the board. “We all know that if a student’s mental health or physical health is not where it should be, then their learning is not where it should be.” … Wolfe said after the meeting that traumatic experiences for students involve things like substance abuse in the family, hunger, parental divorce or separation, mental illness and violence. Research, she added, shows trauma affects the brain in ways that inhibit learning, impacting a student’s ability to stay organized, their executive functioning, memory, language and motor skills. Students who’ve experienced trauma also may exhibit aggression and other social-emotional problems in the classroom. National research shows that kids are being exposed to more trauma than ever before, including a 2016 study conducted in Philadelphia that showed 40 percent of students had witnessed violence, Wolfe said. Portage isn't Philadelphia, of course, but research is showing "trauma happens across all demographic levels — to all kinds of families.” Research suggests drugs are more prevalent today than ever before and that families move more often, she added