Innovation Spotlight on Baltimore City Schools: Diversifying Trauma Focused PD Opportunities and Providing Coaching to Multiple Stakeholder Groups 

In Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools), district staff based their work on the belief that “addressing trauma and resilience starts with adults.” Through its PSR work, City Schools ensured that trainings about trauma and trauma-informed and trauma-responsive practices reached internal and external stakeholders, such as teachers, principals, school-based staff, district leaders, and community partners.  Collaborative partners who provided training on trauma included the Mayor’s Office, Baltimore City Health Department, local and state social service agencies, and universities such as Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland. These partners were also part of a PSR Steering Committee, focused on PSR oversight and supporting school teams to co-facilitate trainings to benefit students, staff, and community members.

Training around trauma and trauma-informed/responsive approaches occurred in a variety of forms based on the audience and their needs. Principals and district leaders received a series of three trainings on trauma-responsive practices in schools. The team also delivered foundational training sessions, catered specifically to groups such as:  new teachers, school Food and Nutrition staff, community-based Youth Works Supervisors and Recreation Center Directors. Thirteen Focus Schools, located in some of Baltimore’s most needy areas, received additional training and coaching related to specific, best practice, clinical programs such as Restorative Practices and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), an evidence-based, trauma focused treatment for youth aged 3-18 and their caregivers. School staff were also trained in the use of Kognito, an online program to support school staff in recognizing and supporting students who may be in psychological distress and at-risk for suicide.  Supports included creation of a school-wide training plan with a Restorative Practices coach who provided ongoing consultation, mentoring, and coaching.

These efforts led to 6,520 participants receiving training through the PSR grant. Given a follow-up survey at the conclusion of the project, school staff reported that they were better able to recognize signs of trauma in students and signs that a student is ready to learn.

For additional information and to request materials, please contact James Padden, Project Director, at JPadden@bcps.k12.md.us.