Sturgeon School Division is leading a training initiative based on the work of the Child Trauma Academy, a not-for-profit organization based in Houston, Texas, that helps to improve the lives of high-risk children.
The Child Trauma Academy recognizes the crucial importance of childhood experience in shaping the health of the individual, and ultimately, society. The Neurosequential Model for Education (NME) is a developmentally-informed, biologically-respectful approach to working with children, particularly those who might be at risk, who have mental health issues or behavioral challenges.
In the spring of 2015, Sandra Brenneis M.Ed, R.Psych., Director of Learning Support, and Wayne Rufiange, Principal, Morinville Public School, of Sturgeon School Division were offered Education fellowships with the Child Trauma Academy based on the work they have done with the division. In accepting the fellowship, they became members of the Child Trauma Academy team and collaborate with other CTA Education fellows from across the world, while contributing to the research and work advancing the knowledge and understanding of NME.
“Using NME, we consider a child’s history and current functioning, so that we have the greatest insight into how we can best help them grow and learn,” says Sandra. “It is not a specific ‘intervention,’ but rather a way to educate school staff and students about brain development and how events or situations change our brains and our ability to learn.”
Sandra and Wayne have trained 10 lead team members in the division who are now trainers of NME. On September 16, 2016, the division offered part one of a two-part training initiative scheduled for this year with the second session being offered in February. Along with the 250 Sturgeon staff attending on Friday, the division was pleased to have colleagues from St. Albert Public, St. Albert Catholic and Alexander First Nations attend the session.
The session had 290 attendees including 171 Beginners (first time participants), 90 Intermediate (involved last year), 17 Advanced (involved for two years or more) and 12 Champions (ready to lead/mentor others). The process began in Sturgeon School Division last year, training school-based teams, some schools participating with a small core team and others taking on entire staff participation. The division continues NME implementation now with year two of training for those staff involved last year, and are again offering the beginning level training.
For more information, contact Sandra Brenneis M.Ed, R.Psych., Director of Learning Support, at 780-939-4341 or firstname.lastname@example.org.