Trauma in our youth is an epidemic. Causes range from living in an abusive home, poverty and teen pregnancy to bullying, unstable foster care and homelessness. These all-too-common situations create chronic trauma that interfere with a child’s ability to learn and function in school. Trauma can cause anxiety, impulsivity, aggression, sleep problems, depression and physical ailments.
Learn4Life quickly realized that in order to reach students’ heads, we needed to reach their hearts. So, we designed the Trauma-Resilient Educational Communities (TREC) Model which is based on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) science and protocols. TREC is an active approach to understanding trauma. We do more than explain the effects of trauma and encourage understanding amongst our teachers, counselors and staff. All our employees are trained and receive credentials in the foundations of trauma-informed practices. Staff continue their training by completing a series of trainings on mindfulness and meditation, compassion fatigue and self-care, social restorative justice, and diversity inclusivity and anti-racism.
Unlike other schools, TREC is infused in all departments and guides our instruction and programs. An essential component is teaching kids about emotional intelligence and regulation to assist in the development of better coping and resiliency skills that will help them handle life’s ups and downs even after they graduate. Our TREC Oversight Committee creates training programs, shares best practices, and analyzes data on resiliency programs so we can constantly improve our performance.
We know that traumatized children who thrive have someone in their life who encourages them and believes in their success. For many of our students, we are that support, and we make sure this is a constant part of their experience at Learn4Life.
How We’re Building Resiliency
- Highly Trained Counselors: Learn4Life provides a counselor for every 250 students, as recommended by the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) – and far better than the 1-to-622 for California public schools or national rate of 1-to-464.
- Meditation Groups:Students benefit from trained trauma-informed certified practitioners who offer breathing and relaxation techniques to offset stress.
- Synthesis of Literacy, Art and Media (SLAM): Students use their voice to create SLAM poetry and compete at the local, state and national levels while earning English credits.
- Students of United Respect, Consciousness and Energy (SOURCE): Students learn the basics of self-knowledge and how to develop social emotional skills while giving back to the community through service projects. Students earn elective credits for this innovative, introspective class.
- Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA):Learn4Life schools benefit from over 35 federally funded partners; social service agencies operating WIOA funding that offer students job training and access to industry partners like Microsoft, UPS, Hilton and AT&T paid internships.
- Yoga: Students benefit from trained trauma-informed certified Yoga instructors who guide students through basic Yoga stretches, poses and breathing techniques to improve flexibility and decrease stress. Yoga can be taken as a club or PE credit.
- HOPE (Helping Our Parenting Students Excel):Our parenting students benefit from child-friendly areas so that they can bring their kids to school and benefit from partnerships that provide much needed resources like diapers, formula and parenting classes.