Friday, April 22, 2016

Terese Jurgensen~ Director of Student Services~ April 22, 2016

Adverse Childhood Experiences
This week, Keystone AEA, held a training on Trauma Sensitive Schools, and it reminded me a great deal about multiple trainings I received as a Foster Care Case Manager/Supervisor on Reactive Attachment Disorder and later as a prevention specialist on Asset Building in Youth by the University of Minnesota. Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACES were recognized by the State of Iowa in 2012. The bottom line is that ACES and the trauma that children experience as a result of this trauma, alters a child's brain and indeed has been shown to have long-term effects on long-term health related illnesses, personal relationships as well as the ability for children to access their Executive Functions of the frontal lobe, especially self-regulation. Let's look to the website:

There are 10 types of childhood trauma measured in the ACE Study. Five are personal — physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect. Five are related to other family members: a parent who’s an alcoholic, a mother who’s a victim of domestic violence, a family member in jail, a family member diagnosed with a mental illness, and the disappearance of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment. Each type of trauma counts as one. So a person who’s been physically abused, with one alcoholic parent, and a mother who was beaten up has an ACE score of three.

There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma — watching a sibling being abused, losing a caregiver (grandmother, mother, grandfather, etc.), homelessness, surviving and recovering from a severe accident, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father, etc. The ACE Study included only those 10 childhood traumas because those were mentioned as most common by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; those traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.
The most important thing to remember is that the ACE score is meant as a guideline: If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences.
Hopefully, prior to reading this, the video above was viewed. But, just in case, it is important to know that the ACES study began in an obesity clinic and the over 400,000 people who were studied were not low-socioeconomic people. Seventy percent of them were white, 100% of those studied were white-collar workers and had excellent health care. 

The impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on people's health
In conjunction with the AEA training, I also attended the movie on ACES called Paper Tigers at Luther College on Wednesday evening. The movie is about an alternative high school in Washington State who engaged students in learning about their brains, the impact of ACES in their life and most importantly, building their resilience (Assets in their life) in order to overcome the adversities 100% of them had faced. It is crucial to understand that when a child faces ongoing trauma their basic response to this trauma is a brain that has an amygdala on overload 24/7. The amygdala is the part of the brain that is our emotional epicenter. It is fueled by the brain stem and as experiences come into our brain from this most basic part of the brain, the child's brain is on constance overdrive.  In fact, it cannot distinguish between experiences and are on constant Fight - Flight - or Freeze mode. The movie said it the best - these children cannot distinguish between a Real Tiger or a Paper Tiger. 

So how does this truth affect our students and community here at Howard-Winneshiek CSD? 
Social-Emotional-Behavioral supports are something that is a core belief and reality here at Howard-Winneshiek CSD. Please remember, the ACES study was not conducted for what our society would typically consider "At-Risk" people. It was conducted for white, middle-class, highly educated and community-minded people with amazing insurance! One of our mandates and core beliefs for our school and community is that we are helping our students find their passions and learn to Think-Lead-Serve in our global, 21st Century, reality. As we move forward, we are building resilience in all of our students by addressing the "whole" child. Here are just a few examples:
  • Ensuring that each of our students is receiving Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports - PBIS in our PK-8th buildings.
  • Ensuring that each child is being reached out to by positive caring adults.
  • Embedding Executive Functioning supports/goals/teaching throughout their school day in classroom instruction, goal writing and Individual Learning Plans. 
  • Embedding Social Thinking supports across the district and teaching self-regulation through the Zones of Regulation, whole body listening, social and emotional supports. 
  • Creating a Positive Peer Culture with children and students learning to support each other and hold each other accountable for positive behaviors. 
  • Professional Development ongoing for our teachers and staff because....
The crucial element in overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences is ONE positive adult reaching out and showing how much they care!

To learn more about this very important subject that is affecting our entire country socially, emotionally, mentally and physically or if you would like to see what your personal ACE score is, please go to

What Does the Transfer of Rights Mean for Parents, Youth with Disabilities, and Schools?

Tips for Parents of Students with IEP's:

Start Early: Building confidence and decision-making skills takes time and practice.

As your child grows, let him or her make decisions appropriate to his or her age. This will help prepare your young person for making decisions in adulthood.

Lay the foundation for the coming age of majority

Over time, talk with your son or daughter about the age of majority and what it means to take on the responsibilities of an adult. Examples include:
  • Paying your bills
  • Getting a copy of your social security card and birth certificate
  • Managing your own health care
  • Living independently
  • Getting from place to place (e.g., by car, bus, taxi, subway)
  • Registering to vote
  • Registering for the selective service (males only)
  • Signing contracts (for example, to rent an apartment or to make a big purchase such as a car)
Individual Learning Plans (IEP's) do not typically follow a student through high school, except for in certain circumstances. When a student turns 18 years old, the parental rights transfer to the student as they are legal adults.  At Howard-Winn we work very hard to make sure that our students are prepared to go on to post-secondary opportunities. 

Great Things Happening at Howard Winn!

Thank you Ms. Kerian for making a 
difference in kid's lives!
There are many ways to reinforce learning - 
look at these smiling faces!
High School Leadership Council met Wednesday to share
on a variety of ideas to support Crestwood Schools. 
Denise Headington our Family Case Manager and I attended the Trauma Based Training at AEA on Monday. Denise has been a huge blessing in our school this year reaching out to families and removing barriers. 
Mrs. Fravel and a group of Social Thinking Detectives from 3rd grade. 
                          I was so impressed when listening to our 3rd graders read                           and share out loud on Thursday!
Mrs. Wilson takes a few 5th graders out in the
hallway for extended fraction learning opportunities.

Thank You 
Have a great day!

Please feel free to Email or call me,

Terese Jurgensen

(563) 929-6344

Alicia Martin and 2 of her 
students at Howard-Winn

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