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Cornjerker Connection, What does it mean to be trauma-informed?
Cornjerker Connection, What does it mean to be trauma-informed?
Suzi Hesser
Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Cornjerker Connection with Superintendent Suzi Hesser

Greetings!  At Hoopeston Area, we have been working together to learn about childhood mental health and trauma.  Our goal is to be “trauma-informed”, meaning that we are educated in how to best support our students.  We are educators and not specialists in this area.  However, we do feel a responsibility to use what experts tell us are effective ways to best reach and teach our students.  Although this topic can be complex, we can think simply of trauma as an overwhelming or especially stressful experience. This could mean events such as living with divorce, lacking adequate food, witnessing violence, experiencing abuse, or living with a family member who is mentally ill.   It is not really the exact event but the response we have to that event that might be described as trauma.  Everyone responds differently to trauma.  Something that may cause me a great deal of stress may be an easier experience for you. 

At Hoopeston Area, we have learned that approximately one half of the students in our district have experienced trauma because that is the national average.   We have learned  that trauma effects long-term health, even influencing how long a person lives.  We have learned that trauma stresses the brain.  That makes it harder for students to learn, have positive relationships, and behave.  But most importantly, we have learned that strong, positive adult relationships are what research says can best help a student experiencing the effects of trauma. 

With that in mind, we are working to recruit community members who are interested in being a mentor to a student in our school district.  Mentors meet once a week at school with a student who would benefit from a positive adult relationship.  If your child has experienced trauma or is having a difficult time, we invite you to contact your school office to discuss our mentoring program as well as other supports we have in place.  If you are interested in volunteering to be a mentor, thank you!  We invite you to contact Amy Linares at 283-6664. 

It’s a great day to be a Cornjerker!

Suzi