Photo and graphics courtesy of The Guidance Center.
Attendance rates are up and suspensions are down during the first semester of the 2016-2017 academic year at Beach High School thanks to a collaboration with student support groups and the recently launched pilot program It’s About T.I.M.E., officials announced.
It’s About T.I.M.E, which stands for Trauma-Informed Movement in Education, was created in partnership with The Guidance Center, a local agency which provides mental health resources for children, Long Beach Unified School District and Beach High School.
The program is modeled after the Child Trauma Academy’s Neurosequential Model in Education and encourages staff to understand that many children have suffered ongoing, traumatic stress and trauma which can inhibit their abilities in a traditional classroom setting.
Staff members are trained by professionals to view a child’s behavior through a “trauma informed” lense. This helps build healthy relationships between students and teachers and aids in healing and academic development.
During the fall 2016 semester, suspensions decreased by approximately 74 percent. Attendance increased by approximately 9 percent, setting the average monthly attendance for the semester at 86 percent.
“I am impressed daily by Beach [High School] staff,” Nathan Swaringen, a licensed clinical social worker with The Guidance Center, said in a statement. “They care so much about every student and are committed to supporting them any way they can. Beach [High School] staff has taken their new understanding of the neuroscience of trauma and combined it with an eagerness to truly view students’ challenging behaviors and attitudes through a lens of compassion and unconditional love to create relationships that are changing lives."
Swaringer trained school staff in the trauma-informed approach It’s About T.I.M.E uses and remains on site as a consultant and staff instructor.
“It’s About T.I.M.E. program has been a great addition to our school support systems,” Troy Bennett, principal of Beach High School, said in a statement. “I’ve seen Nathan’s direct positive impact on both individuals and groups of students as well as staff due to his interactions with them. Through It’s About T.I.M.E., Nathan has helped the staff understand the science of trauma, explaining the ‘why’ behind the many successful student support programs we have here at Beach [High School].”
A survey administered to students at the end of the fall 2016 semester found that the majority of students felt that the school was a “supportive and inviting place.” Ninety-one percent of students surveyed said they had a positive connection with at least one staff member.
In addition to It’s About T.I.M.E, other student support programs at Beach High School include Restorative Justice, Long Beach BLAST, Safe and Civil, Scale High mentors and the Male Academy.
The Guidance Center plans to expand It’s About T.I.M.E to other schools within the Long Beach Unified School District.