Creating Compassionate Schools

While it is widely recognized that teachers are tasked with creating the learning conditions for students, some student-specific variables represent situations well beyond the teacher’s and the student’s control. These student-specific variables can include a number of traumatic events experienced by the child, including: tragic accidents, sudden death of parent(s), natural disasters), physical/emotional/sexual abuse, drug abuse and addiction in the household, and incarceration of a parent and/or significant adult. Educators need to understand the ways the ways in which the needs of children who experience trauma and/or sustained periods of stress can differ significantly from their peers. For teachers not completely aware of the ways that adverse childhood experiences (or ACE’s) can impact students, the challenges for both students and teachers alike can be magnified. 

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Creating Compassionate Schools


Check out what other teachers from your area and across the country are saying about this course.


This course played an important role in my professional development. It reminded me and reiterated the fact that compassion from adults to kids, from kids to kids and from a school as a whole are integral to its overall success. I also reaffirmed that academics are secondary to mental and social compassion. As mentioned in this course, a student will not and can not succeed at the same rate as his or her peers if compassion is not all around them. Furthermore, I realized that we have a long way to go toward realizing how much stress and adversity students bring to school. As teachers, we often are focused on our subject and learning how to navigate the material. It is imperative that we regularly meet to discuss students affect, their adversity and problem solve in order to create an environment that they can thrive in. Finally, after reading all of the material, I realized that my school has numerous compassionate policies already in place and it is my job as a member of our staff to accept and implement them consistently. (CO)

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