Trauma-Informed Pilot Program Launched at Long Beach's Beach High School


The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) and The Guidance Center recently partnered together to develop a trauma-informed pilot training program for Beach High School’s teachers and staff.

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The pilot program, It’s About T.I.M.E.(Trauma-Informed Movement in Education), which launched this fall, aims on educating staff to understand the student life stressors and traumatic experiences that impact learning capabilities. It is the first of its kind to be implemented in the school district, and Beach High School, located on the Long Beach School for Adults campus, was chosen for the program because of its population of at-risk students.

“In our roles as educators and school therapists, we have the unique opportunity to surround [children] with safe, patient relationships that can positively impact their lives and ultimately the surrounding community,” said CEO of The Guidance Center and social worker, Patricia Costales in a statement. “Our hope is that, by shifting the lens in which we see these students and their behaviors, we can empower them to learn, graduate and continue down a successful path.”

Beach High SchoolThe main two principles of the program are to build trusting student-staff relationships and to provide the appropriate sensory-based soothing activities for stress. Some sensory activities that help their brain better regulate behaviors include stretching at their desk, encouraging them to take a walk with the school counselor and talk about their struggles and emotions.

The science behind the program is formed on evidence-based practices of Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) and Neurosequential Model in Education (NME) developed by child psychiatrist and founder of ChildTrauma Academy, Dr. Bruce Perry and Steve Graner, MNE project director, according to the release.

“While the neuroscience behind this program may seem technical, the application of the trauma-informed approach is simple and does not involve complicated psychological techniques,” said Guidance Center’s clinician Nathan Swaringen. “It all comes down to surrounding these children with as many healthy, loving relationships as possible, which in turn creates an environment that is proven to heal. We’re looking forward to collaborating with Beach staff.”

The Guidance Center will track overall campus and individual progress during this 2016-2017 academic year, with the ultimate goal to bring the trauma-informed program to every school in the Long Beach Unified School District.

The school staff will have first-hand knowledge about the effects of trauma and how to support students through challenges that they bring to school while creating a positive learning environment, said Dr. Tiffany Brown, assistant superintendent of School Support Services.

Other organizations have previously announced a collective effort to advance a comprehensive approach to trauma-informed care.


On Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 7:00PM, the Long Beach community is invited to a free screening of Paper Tigers at The Art Theatre on 4th Street. The documentary follows a year in the life of an alternative high school in Washington that demonstrates how the trauma-informed approach is a promising model.

The event will begin with Graner speaking before the film and a panel discussion with Swaringen after the documentary.

To reserve a ticket, please click here.  

Photo courtesy of LBUSD.

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