PAAL High School Student Painted Mural

One of several PAAL student-created murals that line the exterior walls of classrooms on campus. Photo courtesy of The Guidance Center.

The Guidance Center announced last week that its pilot program, It’s About T.I.M.E. (Trauma-Informed Movement in Education), will be expanding to Poly Academy and Leaders High School (PAAL).

PAAL will be the second school within the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) that has partnered with the nonprofit mental health agency’s program to work toward its goal to bring the trauma-informed movement to every LBUSD school.

It’s About T.I.M.E. was launched at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year with Beach High School and is a training program on the trauma-informed approach, which is based on ChildTrauma Academy’s Neurosequential Model in Education (NME). 

The approach looks at how the behavior of children, their brain development and functioning, and traumatic experiences are connected, so that educators can teach through a lens that views and responds to challenging behaviors in ways that promote healing, according to the release.

“Many children in our community have experienced trauma, and it can be difficult to see how that affects their daily functioning without the understanding of how trauma impacts the brain,” stated Nathan Swaringen, clinical therapist at The Guidance Center and developer of It’s About T.I.M.E., who trained PAAL staff prior to the start of the 2017-18 school year. “By partnering with compassionate and influential community leaders like school staff through It’s About T.I.M.E., we can together help these children heal emotionally and succeed academically and beyond.”

In its first year at Beach High School, It’s About T.I.M.E. saw an overall decrease in suspensions of about 59 percent, attendance increased by approximately 6 percent, outpacing the school’s attendance goal each month throughout the school year, according to the release.


The Guidance Center joins PAAL’s growing network of student-support organizations including Long Beach BLAST academic mentoring, California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ)’s Conscious Classroom and Building Bridges, Helpline Youth Counseling groups, New Hope Grief Support and Restorative Justice.

“PAAL High School is looking forward to having The Guidance Center join our team this year,” said Rebecca Suzanne Caverly, assistant principal at PAAL, in a statement. “Through It’s About T.I.M.E., Nathan promises therapeutic support for the adults and youth in our school community, as we do everything we can to serve the whole child here at PAAL. We anticipate tremendous growth in our students and staff this year, resulting in higher achievement and better lives for our students.”

Learn more about The Guidance Center via the website here.  

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].