I have been working and focused entirely head down for a while now. I am getting ready to move to the next phase of my education and a culmination of the last four years of work. Tomorrow, at 8:15 AM, I will defend my dissertation via zoom. People can attend if they would like. I plan to record and post it as well. I am proud of the work I have put into my research. I also believe I am presenting some valuable ideas for school staff to think about how to learn about trauma-informed care and social-emotional learning practices.

The following is the info:

A Professional Learning Community for Developing Trauma-Informed Practices Using Participatory Action Methods: Transforming School Culture for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities

Friday, March 3, 2023 at 8:15am PST via Zoom
Join Zoom Meeting: https://ciis.zoom.us/j/92596720803

Dissertation Committee Chair: Michael Raffanti, Ed.D., J.D.
Dissertation Committee Member: Kerubo Abuya, Ph.D.
Dissertation Committee External Member: Douglas Judge, Ph.D.

Students with emotional and behavioral disabilities (EBD) endure adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and other traumatic experiences at higher rates than their non-disabled peers. Staff who work with these students can experience compassion fatigue, contributing to staff attrition and burnout. Trauma-informed care practices show promise in supporting staff and students. The primary method generally used for teaching about these practices is workshop-style training methods. The professional learning community (PLC) presents a learning model directed by its team but is currently centered around teachers and academic curriculum discourse.

This study uses participatory action (PAR) research methods for a small PLC to explore trauma-informed care practices. This included examining the content and reviewing practice skills. The study co-researchers included six participants working in self-contained special education classrooms, which specialize in working with students with EBD. The group was comprised of three social workers, two special education teachers, and a paraeducator. The research process included a recruitment phase, orientation meeting, entry interviews, and six dialogs conducted via online video conferencing software. Data collection was the dialog and activities included in each of these phases. The data included notes from the session, online chat functions, and cooperatively created online documents.

This study was exploratory, considering a different way of learning about trauma-informed care. There were a few aspects that are not generally implemented in PLCs. The group followed practices implemented in support groups that use a mutual aid model. The PLC was also interdisciplinary in its functioning and makeup. The PLC engaged in professional socialization to improve trauma-informed care practices. Storytelling and idea generation was used to develop an understanding of concepts. Self-care practices were identified and practiced during the group. The members also engaged in a book study to help frame the dialogs.

Keywords: Trauma-Informed Care, Special Education Services, Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities (EBD), Professional Learning Communities (PLC).