Springmill staff will help students overcome the trauma of COVID-19

Springmill STEM Principal Regina Sackman stands alongside the colorful caterpillar alphabet painted on the sidewalk adjacent to the playground. School nurse Diana Flannigan secured a Healthy Kids grant which allowed for the purchase of outdoor play equipment, including balls, jump ropes and a second basketball hoop. Teachers, staff and other volunteers joined Flannigan recently to paint colorful designs on the playground.

      Whenever schools reopen, teachers at Springmill STEM Elementary will be better equipped to help students impacted by the trauma caused by COVID-19.

      Principal Regina Sackman has secured a $500 COVID-19 Relief Grant from the Association of American Educators Foundation (AAEF). She will use the funds to purchase multiple copies of the book “Teachers’ Guide to Trauma: 20 Things Kids with Trauma Wish Their Teachers Knew.”

      Sackman said many students already deal with trauma caused by one or more factors. Experts say those factors include bullying, death of a loved one, emotional or physical abuse or chaos or dysfunction at home.

      “The COVID-19 pandemic has added a new level of trauma to students’ lives requiring teachers to need unique tools and resources to best serve and educate them,” Sackman said.

      “Kids are more attuned to what adults are saying, but they don’t have the life experiences to handle traumatic events.”

      In an online review of “Teachers Guide to Trauma,” Amazon said, in part, the book “provides an introduction to the neurobiological and psychological impact of early childhood trauma. This guide is designed to provide an overview of how trauma impacts learning and behavior in school.”

      The idea for using the book to build professional development for the Springmill staff came from third-grade teacher Andrea Murphy, who participated in similar training in her former district.

      “Other teachers began reading the book and Andrea volunteered to lead a book study,” Sackman said. “The problem was that we had only one copy. This grant will allow us to have enough copies for all of our teachers. We will share if our paraprofessionals want to participate.”

      The insights teachers learn from their study of the book will build an understanding of trauma in students, what it looks like and how to best help students understand the coronavirus.

      “We will use this professional development to help kids transition back to school,” Sackman said.

      In a news release announcing the grant to Sackman, the AAEF is described as a 501C(3) charitable organization “that provides teachers and leaders with opportunities, information and funds to reform and improve the education of America’s youth.”

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