Bluefield, VA – Bluefield University’s Center for Counseling and Wellness partnered with the Virginia Department of Education Office of Student Services to host the Cultivating Trauma-Responsive Schools Workshop for Virginia Regions 6 and 7 on November 2 and 3. The two-day workshop provided Southwest Virginia counselors, principals, and district leaders with tools and strategies to help better serve their students impacted by adversity.
Over 50 school counselors and principals attended each day on Bluefield University’s campus. BU’s counseling faculty provided most of the training, and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) introduced an ongoing Professional Learning Community initiative for the region.
According to The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), “The primary mission of schools is to support students in educational achievement. To reach this goal, children must feel safe, supported, and ready to learn. Children exposed to violence and trauma may not feel safe or ready to learn. Not only are individual children affected by traumatic experiences, but other students, the adults on campus, and the school community can be impacted by interacting or working with a child who has experienced trauma. Thus, as schools maintain their critical focus on education and achievement, they must also acknowledge that mental health and wellness are innately connected to students’ success in the classroom and to a thriving school environment.”
“This is part of the beginning of an initiative by the Bluefield University Counseling Program to develop a Trauma and Addition Training Institute to serve Southwest Virginia and Southern West Virginia,” said Brandy Smith, assistant professor of education and counseling at Bluefield University. “We hope to provide advanced education for school and clinical mental health counselors, teachers, human services professionals, clergy, and other community stakeholders throughout the year.”
During the workshop, participants learned the importance and the need for trauma-informed school counseling, trauma and emotional regulation, and trauma-responsive educational leadership.
“I leave with several ideas that will have an immediate impact on my faculty, staff, and most importantly, my students,” commented a participant. “It is refreshing to hear from experts who understand what educators are facing and our never-ending desire to help students learn and grow not only academically but also emotionally.”
“Bluefield University’s Counseling Program values the important work of teachers, school counselors, and administrators who serve communities throughout our region,” said Smith. “It was our pleasure to partner with the Office of Student Services at VDOE as part of our Trauma Responsive Schools Initiative.”
Those who are interested in earning a master of arts in counselor education are invited to join a virtual information session on Monday, November 14, at 12 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. To register, visit https://www.bluefield.edu/information-session-registration/ or contact Brandy Smith at [email protected]