The 3 Realms of ACEs, published by PACEs Connection, illustrates how community and environmental crisis can impact the household. Discrimination, structural racism, historical trauma, poverty etc. can impede a young person’s social-emotional and academic development. So can wealth. Researchers Suniya S. Luthar and Shawn J. Latendresse found that youth from economically advantaged homes were more likely to abuse drugs and suffer from chronic depression and anxiety (2005). Most assuredly, living through the COVID-19 pandemic impacts all of us, adults, and young people.
Now more than ever, educators or professionals who work with and for young people need to be knowledgeable about how to foster our innate capacity to be resilient. Educators have the power and the time to transform lives.
Resilience is the human capacity of all individuals to transform and change- no matter their risks (Lifton 1994)
Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Whole Staff Approach and Race Resilience: Achieving Equity Through Self and Systems Transformation offer guidance to educators who are ready to modify their support systems to provide the protective factors needed to foster resilience for staff and students. Both books share processes for making a whole-school change where resilience-building strategies are integrated into daily instructional planning and practice.
The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments developed the following model to illustrate the cultural components needed to create a school climate conducive to fostering resilience.
- Integrate trauma-informed, trauma-sensitive practices into their daily instruction and management
- Strive to develop trusting relationships with colleagues, students, and parents
- Believe all individuals have the power to transform and change
- Provide opportunities for students to share their emotions
- Value diversity in all of its presentations: race, gender, sexual identity, ableism etc.
- Identify their emotions and are able to articulate how their emotions impact their behaviors
- Effectively manage challenges, self-regulate, and repair relationships
- Establish and maintain positive relationships with others who are from other diverse groups
- Have a positive sense of self (e.g., racial, sexual identity, gender identity etc.)
- Have a sense of purpose or goal direction
- Have cultures that provide protective factors for developing a sense of community
- Are intentional about teaching students about their innate resilience
- Are intentional in providing opportunties for staff and students to be autonomous, have a sense of purpose, and grow academic and social competencies
Positively validate diversity in all of its presentations: race, gender, sexual identity, ableism etc.