Mental health, trauma training key during Surry Schools’ summer break

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: July 30, 2019 | 3:15 p.m.

SURRY – Contrary to popular belief, when the kids go home for the summer, things don’t stand still in the Public Schools.  In fact, it’s business as usual for the public school staff and administration.  And as Dr. Serbrenia Sims, Asst. Superintendent of the Surry County Public Schools System recently explained, one big part of what keeps them busy over the summer, in addition to the regular tasks involved with preparing for the next school year, is learning ever more and better ways to make learning not just a productive, but also a positive experience for the young people they are helping to shape. 

“It’s a very sad fact that students have to deal with so much elsewhere to come to school and be educated,” Sims explained.  “I had recently completed training in ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) such as poverty, neglect, abuse, etc. can affect childhood development and behaviors, and felt that it would be so important for school employees who would be responsible for the safety and well being of the students to learn about and hear the same thing at the same time. So we set up a session at the High School for staffs of all three of our schools and got together our school administrators, psychologist, nurses, guidance counselors, and VTSS coaches for that training.

“We are extremely fortunate in Surry County Public Schools that we have developed a strong partnership with the Surry County Department of Youth and Family Resources over the years,” she said, “and they have always been an excellent partner with us, taking the lead on activities like this one that are not just supportive of students but of families and the community as well.   So their director,  Sophenia Pierce, and two other representatives from the group, LaJeune Stone and Spencer Logan conducted a full day of training to help school officials become trauma informed.”  

Sims indicated that one of the most important things they took away from the experience is the understanding of the importance of educators being sensitive to students who have experienced trauma and learning some strategies on how to help those students achieve so that they do not fall behind their peers socially, emotionally and educationally.

“The key to success for these students is developing relationships with others who they can trust to help relieve stress,” Sims explained.  “In addition, resiliency is key. I see resiliency as being knocked down by negative forces, but always getting up and continuing to strive to meet your goals.  As educators, it’s our job to provide a safe environment and to help students develop resiliency as they deal with the challenges that they face in life.”

Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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