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New study pushes Pa. to embrace trauma-informed education

Students at Philadelphia’s Parkway Center City Middle College were asked to raise their hands if they were affected by gun violence at an April 2018 forum. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Research suggests that about half of the county’s children experience at least one traumatic event before the age of 17.

These adverse childhood experiences — known as ACES — include experiencing or witnessing violence; living in poverty; or having a parent go to jail.

Even as school districts across the country become more aware of how these traumas can affect learning, there’s been little concrete policy on the state or federal level for how schools should prepare.

A new study from the nonprofit Research for Action highlights “promising models” nationwide and calls on state lawmakers to implement a comprehensive approach in Pennsylvania.

“There are two areas where the research is extremely clear. Childhood trauma is an extremely common experience, and traumatic stress can have a wide range of negative consequences for children,” said Rachel Comly, a senior analyst at Research for Action.

The study recommends that schools provide professional development that reflects the complexity and sensitivity of trauma.

Read more at WHYY.org

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