Fostering Leadership Academy will serve as Michigan’s first K-8 charter school with a fully trauma-informed curriculum, focusing on healing and learning simultaneously. So what exactly is “trauma-informed education?” FLA Principal Abby Stewart breaks down what trauma-informed education really is and how our community’s most vulnerable children will benefit.
FLA staff are trained and equipped to provide an environment that promotes learning and healing. Staff are trained on restorative practices, positive behavior interventions and positively navigating behaviors stemming from emotional difficulties rather than reverting to traditional punishments. Teachers and support staff are prepared to support students through emotional barriers and help children process all of their emotions. After all, no child can focus on learning when their emotions and thoughts are unsettled.
Children who are survivors of abuse and neglect often face higher rates of disciplinary actions in school. While FLA is not specific to only children in foster care of who have experienced trauma, we recognize that our model is beneficial to a wide range of children. FLA has developed a reformed disciplinary policy to ensure that students are able to process their emotions without being punished and removed from their environment. Instead of detentions and suspensions, students and staff will participate in restorative meditation and effective communication exercises.
Focus on Rehabilitation
Our teachers listen! When dealing with emotional flare-ups, we go beyond the surface and ask “why” instead of meeting the child with anger or punishment. When children are upset, we empathize and seek to understand their feelings, emotions and perspectives. Students are encouraged to share their feelings and process their emotions while learning and growing as students. We know that students learn a lot more than just math, science or english from the teachers and adults in their lives.
In addition to what our teachers do for our children, our brand new building has been designed with attention to calming and restoring peace. We’ve created a comfortable and nurturing atmosphere by selecting lighting, paint colors, furniture, and space arrangement to encourage serenity and peace.
Individual Learning Plans
The phrase “one size fits all” shouldn’t apply to education. FLA will provide students with individualized learning plans to help them develop at their own pace. Every student has their own unique emotional and educational needs. Students will also have access to self-paced online courses tailored specifically to each student and their level of learning. Each student’s learning plan will be as individualized as his or her thumbprint!
Children who have experienced extreme trauma require the reassurance of a safe environment. FLA provides students with the confidence they need to thrive in school with classmates and teachers who understand their need for safety. We accept all ideas and give a voice to all students by encouraging them to share their beliefs, feelings and needs. For so many children, having a voice and being heard is a need that goes unmet. At FLA, we’re here to listen, learn and grow together.
To learn more about Fostering Leadership Academy, join us for our virtual open house on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 7-8 p.m. To RSVP, contact FLA Principal Abby Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zoom Meeting ID: 929 651 4508