Workshop Descriptions

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)/Toxic Stress/Trauma

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are the largest public health crisis to be identified in the past thirty years. Traumatic childhood experiences (toxic stress/trauma) impacts a child’s daily life in the home, in school and the community. Even when children are too young to remember the events (neglect, physical/emotional/sexual abuse, abandonment, violence, etc.), the body never “forgets.” Childhood adversity affects a child’s ability to learn and behave in productive ways by changing brain chemistry and architecture and thus impacts their ability to learn and behave “normally” in schools. All too often, children who are experiencing trauma, neglect and abuse in their homes and communities are identified as having “special needs,” such as ADHD, when in fact it is the trauma/toxic stress in their lives that is causing the misbehavior. Educators need to be keenly aware of this body of research and practical school-based remedies in order to mitigate the impact of toxic stress (ACEs) on successful child cognitive and emotional development, including impulsivity and misbehavior. In this workshop, the critically important information about this life- and practice-changing body of research, including ACEs and the ACEs Scale, will be introduced and the solution strategies will be presented.

Cultural Competence and Educational Equity

Children of color (and special needs) are disproportionately disciplined, suspended and expelled. In this session, educators will be introduced to key aspects that are required to become culturally competent educators who embrace and practice educational equity. This highly interactive workshop includes exploring our obligations under the CT Code of Professional Responsibility, the difference between Equity and Equality, the various notions of School Climate, School Culture and the wider Community Culture, the different ideologies of Cultural Diversity, what “Racism” means and the relationship between Racism and Discrimination, the differences between Explicit and Implicit Bias and ultimately, how we can impact our classrooms and schools to become truly equitable places to learn and socialize led by culturally competent educators.