University of St. Thomas Magazine Fall/Winter 2020

“There are many courses done by psychologists that are being directed at teachers,” Johnson said. “But what’s happening here is that a School of Education within a university is making a move to integrate it into the education of teachers, as well as providing continuing ed opportunities for all the other teachers who have already come through.”

While the strategy differs some with college students as opposed to those in K-12, Sommers said there is value in building empathy and being able to support students in an informed way when they do bring trauma with them to college. “This course is not meant to overburden teachers or educators at any level with feeling like they need to provide explicit

Campbell said the work the School of Education is doing around trauma- informed education aligns with St. Thomas’ mission and is in partnership with the Morrison Family College of Health to optimize their expertise in this area.

mental health support for students who are in that trauma state,” Sommers said. “At some point, what we will need to do is refer a student to someone who has the credentials and ability to really help them work through the

“We are always advocating for the

reality of this trauma for themselves. But it’s intended to serve as a tool for us to help support students when they’re with us. And be realistic about what it is we can do for them.” Raising ‘awareness to be compassionate’

common good,” she said. “It starts with respecting the dignity of everyone. We’re looking to support the whole person by infusing trauma-informed care into how we prepare educators and leaders in both K-12 and higher education.” One of the hopes Trout has is that people will recognize we all have different experiences that bring us together. “Sometimes we bring some of these traumatic experiences with us into many of our interactions with other people, whether we know it or not,” she said. “My hope is that this course raises awareness to be compassionate when we come together with others.” n

Yale Professor David Read Johnson speaks during a principles of trauma-informed education training session for the School of Education in 2019. Photo by Mark Brown.

When children are so distracted by worries that they have trouble learning, that could have consequences outside of the classroom, as well. “If they’re not able to learn, they won’t be successful, and we won’t have a work-ready population at the end of high school,” Johnson said. “And it’s eating away at the success of the country.” Johnson greatly respects Campbell and the work she and her staff are doing to promote trauma-informed training for educators.

Learn more about Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) courses at

S T T H O M A S . E D U

4 3

Powered by