A look into Trauma Informed Reflective Supervision

In a typical school year, our emotional capacity as educators and school administrators often feels stretched thin. We give so much and anticipate the needs of others so frequently that the focus on our own wellbeing can be overlooked. Then came 2020, a year where we are all facing varying levels of adversity and trauma, and we realize our emotional capacity as educators and administrators is the foundation to a safe and stable school environment.

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Human connection and communication build our emotional resilience and lead to a deeper understanding of the world around us. For professionals that deal day in…


In a time of collective trauma, self care is not enough.

by Emily Santiago, LEP

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Below is a list of roles necessary in forming a resilient community. Each role is important and essential. As our levels of stress and our ability to cope change based on a variety of situations, we will find ourselves in each of these roles at one point in time or another.

Dynamic Empowerment™ is a framework that enables us to build self awareness and support each other in promoting collective wellbeing in our schools and organizations. It is a theory of social interaction instead of…


Culturally responsive approaches to building agency and connection /Enfoques culturalmente receptivos para construir agencia y conexión

Written in collaboration with Zadeth Orama-Vega, school psychologist/ Escrito en colaboración con Zadeth Orama-Vega, Psicóloga escolar

Each week I host Trauma Informed Office hours with educators from around the US, we share small (or big) wins and discuss challenges. This past week a high school teacher in a rural farming community shared that the majority of her Latinx students were not engaging in distance learning. Fortunately bilingual school psychologist, Zadeth Orama-Vega, had joined us on the call and offered a lot of insight. …


Parents and guardians, right now many of you are faced with supporting your child’s education at home. The expectations from school districts vary greatly but if you are experiencing resistance trying to homeschool your children know that this is totally normal. Homeschooling is not an accurate term in the time of a global pandemic, this is crisis schooling. Our lives are disrupted in major ways and we are faced with multiple threats to our physical, mental and financial wellbeing. We are struggling to cope and support others effectively. No one is an expert here, no one in the world has…


Lesson plans for online instruction that promote agency and meaningful participation

Parents and teachers are scrambling to create lessons and engage children in activities while they are out of school. The challenge is to make activities meaningful and affirming in a time of disruption and uncertainty. Trauma is defined by Psychiatrist Bessel van Der Kolk as an experience that is ‘overwhelming, unbelievable and unbearable.’ This pandemic and the subsequent economic and social impact has the potential to be traumatizing to a large portion of the population. As an Educational Psychologist, my focus is on trauma informed practices in education. …


Suicide rates among children ages 10–16 has increased 70% in California in the last 10 years. This indicates tragically that something in the environment has changed dramatically, what could it be?

Students who are suicidal enter a school psychologist’s office in a variety of ways. A friend may make a referral after seeing a text or a post that worried them, a teacher finds a note, a student may calmly walk in your office and ask for help, or during a fight or flight rage someone may admit suicidal thoughts. However students who are at risk make it to my…


Like millions of others, I received the request from Facebook yesterday to reset my password in response to the report of a major hack. The prompt was a bit different than expected of a password change. Facebook took me through friends I recently added, posts I had made and things I had recently liked. Private interactions I had had with friends and had not made public. This got me thinking. Please feel free to clarify if I do not have all the facts straight so quickly after the breach but…

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A data breach like no other?

There are multiple fears I have with this specific attack…


‘He doesn’t know his letters!’ I told the support teacher regarding Pax, a 7 year old that just entered our classroom. As an educational psychologist, I was a visiting teacher this past year at a public Montessori school in Oakland to gain perspective. The class was an active one, 30 children ages 6 to 9 and lots of energy. Sitting in circle for 5 minutes required all the strategies I have learned in the last 20 years to sustain their attention: puppets, peer support, wiggle seats, you name it . Even then someone would invariably roll onto someone else, scream…


Have your child read 30 minutes a night. For some families this is a no brainer, their child reads so much they have to ask them to stop. For others it requires some scheduling and encouragement and it gets done. For at least 20% of parents whose child has difficulty reading, they might still be recovering from the last time they tried to enforce this. For those 20%, here are some ways to encourage reading without resorting to force:

  1. Let your child see you reading. A book. Made of paper.
  2. Use the Premack principle. For every minute your child reads, they get a desired activity of their choice. This could be something they already do such as use a tablet, watch a TV show, or play a game with you.
  3. Turn on the subtitles!
  4. Print out your child’s favorite song lyrics and make a book. Research shows repeated readings builds fluency.
  5. Create a print rich environment. Use blue painter’s tape to label the house. Chair. Bureau. Refrigerator. If they are having fun add adjectives. Transparent window. Cozy bed.
  6. Play…

Emily Santiago, LEP

Ed Psych/Educator/Entrepreneur/Mom to a rad daughter. #TraumaInformed founder fighting for a more compassionate, equitable, and innovative world. cogdiv.com

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