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And so it begins. Tax free weekends. Homeroom assignments. 50-cent glue sticks. And of course, everyone is at the store for hours searching for that oddly specific magenta folder, which doesn’t seem to exist at any office supplies retailer. Back to school season is chaos, to say the least. Yet underneath the surface-level stressors, The Village Network, The ChildTrauma Academy and Greif Packaging Charitable Trust created a vision for the 2017-2018 school year that surpasses the first day, and even the first week of classes. Their goal is to train 65 educators in 30 Ohio schools on how to care for traumatized youth in the classroom.

The training, known as the Neurosequential Model in Education (NME), was developed by Bruce Perry, M.D. Ph.D., and The ChildTrauma Academy and teaches educators findings from the neurosciences and how to apply this knowledge to their teaching process. One of the first schools to receive this training will be James Conger Elementary in Delaware, Ohio. Delaware City Schools plans to enroll one guidance counselor, one special education leader and three teachers in the training.

“So much research has been done about the impact trauma has on kids, and now we know that child has gone through an event that’s rewired his brain,” said Paul Craft, superintendent at Delaware City Schools. “What our teachers are learning will make them better at their responses and day-to-day interactions with kids of all types, including those who experienced traumatic events.”

The NME trainings will be coordinated by The Village Network and conducted by The ChildTrauma Academy. The training is broken up into two phases. The first phase will include the NME introductory series and trainer’s book where educators will learn the basics of NME and participate in a study of Dr. Perry’s book, “The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog.” Phase two will dive deeper into concepts of traumatology and the neurosciences, allowing educators to practice implementing the concepts of NME in their classrooms.

“We have to bring the findings of the neurosciences into our classrooms,” said Chief Clinical Officer at The Village Network Dave Paxton. “Much of the training is taking the concepts of the neurosciences and applying them to the classroom.”

NME draws upon the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT), which is a neurodevelopmentally-informed, biologically respectful perspective on human development and functioning. NME aims to help educators understand student behavior and performance on a neurological level. In 2015, The ChildTrauma Academy designated The Village Network as an NMT Flagship Organization, making The Village Network the only organization in Ohio with such a distinction.

In the NME training, educators will learn how to create a mini “brain map” that can help estimate strengths and vulnerabilities including a child’s capacity for impulse control and concentration. The NME assessment helps educators develop more effective lesson plans that match the student’s developmental level.

“Our school-based treatment is one of the fastest growing treatment options we offer, with more than 40 schools partnering with us last year,” said Richard Graziano, president and CEO of The Village Network.

The NME training was made possible after The Village Network received a $250,000 grant from Greif Packaging Charitable Trust.

“As a corporate citizen of the world with Ohio roots, Greif has a genuine commitment to community stewardship,” said Debbie Crow, director of corporate communications at Greif, Inc. “Investing in the partnership between The Village Network and Ohio schools was a natural fit with the purpose of this foundation.”

In addition to training educators at Delaware City Schools, The Village Network and The ChildTrauma Academy will also train teachers and staff this fall in Wooster and Cincinnati, Ohio. Each educator will receive approximately 50 hours of training. This grant also supports expanding the program into the Van Wert and Massillon school districts, locations in Ohio where Greif also has operations.

“Now that we have the financial support of Greif Packaging Charitable Trust, we can continue to grow this service and meet the needs of children and their families in an educational environment,” Graziano said. “We are honored and thrilled to partner with such innovative organizations like The ChildTrauma Academy and the Greif Foundation. Partnerships like this make helping Ohio’s most vulnerable children and families possible.”

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