Minnesota Schools make Trauma-informed Care a Priority


Miss Kendra Programs — which work to transform school culture and create highly effective learning environments by actively addressing trauma before it causes disciplinary or symptomatic problems — are expanding to several schools throughout the Twin Cities metro area.

The program is featured in the award-winning documentary Resilience: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope, directed by James Redford.
Through a jointly sponsored effort led by Minnesota-based Sauer Family Foundation and the Carolyn Family Foundation, the trauma program is making a great impact across the Twin Cities.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to implement the Miss Kendra programs to build the capacity of children and adults to manage trauma and create school cultures of respect and support,” said Sara Paul, assistant superintendent at White Bear Lake Area Public Schools. White Bear Lake Area Public Schools is planning to implement the program districtwide by 2024.

Program founder and CEO David Johnson, Ph.D., said, “The Miss Kendra Programs differ from other trauma approaches by following a preventive, public health framework based on reaching all students through brief but frequent contact and early intervention. The results we have seen in Minnesota schools are consistent with those we see in schools across the U.S., including substantial decreases in incidents of fighting and aggression, suspensions and office referrals, as well as a reduction in overall stress levels among the students.”
In addition to working with Minnesota’s K-12 schools, Miss Kendra Programs also are partnering with the School of Education faculty at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis to develop a trauma/stress component in their standard curriculum. “This will give us the opportunity to influence and educate teachers before they begin careers in the trauma-informed methodology and perspective,” Johnson said. “We’re hoping to open sites for them during their student teaching placements to further their hands-on education.”
In addition to the programs currently implemented at KIPP Elementary in North Minneapolis and Willow Lane Elementary in White Bear Lake, the Twin Cities will see new programs at Vadnais Heights Elementary and Birch Lake Elementary in White Bear Lake,  St. Paul City Charter School in St. Paul, and at Menlo Alternative High School at East Side Neighborhood Services in NE Minneapolis. The Paladin Alternative High School in Blaine, which already has a rich trauma-informed culture, will also begin implementation of the program this fall.
The Miss Kendra Programs include classroom-wide and schoolwide models that address trauma and adverse childhood experiences. With programs in schools ranging from Connecticut, Alaska, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Washington and Minnesota, Miss Kendra Programs are bringing trauma-informed strategies to students everywhere. 
For more information on the Foundation for Arts and Trauma’s Miss Kendra Programs, visit traumainformedschools.org.

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