A Whole School Approach
April 22, 2013
Peter C. Murrell, Jr., PhD
Rachel Carlson, MAT
Jessica Strauss, MPhil, MSW
Video: Jeff Duncan-Andrade
Approaches to Trauma
We have many approaches to
We also have systematic ways
of engaging children and
youth holistically.
What we don’t have –
mobilization of community
capacity for the cultivation of
well being and development.
Core Focus
Building Resilience in
Children and Youth
Building Resiliency in
Schools, Families
and Communities
How should we
mobilize to best
serve Baltimore’s
children and
“the rose in the concrete...”
• Resilience is the construct referring to those
capacities that undergird individuals draw on
to thrive, survive, and engage in optimal
performance and develop, despite the stress
and adverse conditions.
“cultivation in the concrete”
Resiliency, in our framework, is the maintenance
and continuous development of the practices
and experiences that foster resilience.
Resiliency refers to resilience in action
(“agency”) which is built into, and built from,
the social environment in which kids learn,
grow, develop and interact.
Glen Richardson’s Three Waves
• First Wave: Resilient Qualities
• Second Wave: The Resiliency Process
• Third Wave: Cultivating Resilience
Our Work in the Third Wave
Resilient children are made,
not born…
Children become resilient
as a result of the patterns
of stress and of nurturing
they experience early on in
life… (p. 38)
- Perry and Szalavitz
Critical Distinction Between
Resilience and Resiliency
• A distinction between being and doing
• A distinction between the state of an
individual and that individual-in-action,
• Cultivation of agency and ethical identity as a
core of agency.
• Situated development of social identity and
ethical agency.
Comprehensive Framework
• Importance of cultural practices of a new
common culture in schools;
• Need to cultivate among adults the capacity to
enter into a developmental alliance with children
and youth;
• Acting on what we know in a concerted,
comprehensive cultivating community
• Create solidarity (not merely sympathy) with
underserved children and families;
• Account for social context at all levels.
Why respond to complex trauma with
whole- school resilient culture?
• Prevalence of trauma
• Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study
– impact of trauma on physical health
• learning, social-emotional and attachment
• National Task Force on the Education of
African-American Males
• What do we make of these findings?
A Foundational Perspective
Strong approaches must consider…
• Ecological Systems Theory
• Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems (PVEST)
Making Sense as a Cultural Practice
(Murrell, 2007)
“the arrogance of not knowing what it is that they do not know, yet
they speak as if they know what all of us need to know…” –
‘peculiar arrogance’ (Asane, 1987)
• Understanding schools as culturally and racially myopic
• Critical Race Theory
– Unintentional racism --> microaggressions
– Racialized social practices that inscribe trauma
• Poverty, class, ethnicity, race -- intersectionality
Community Schools: Process of
whole-school development
• Collective study
o Features/sources of trauma and stress
o Sources of resilience for children, adults
 Collaborative analysis and planning
o Share vision and focus of work
o Prioritize and develop partnerships
 Continuous reflection and oversight
 Share leadership
 Share accountability
Four features of intervention
Individual and collective capacity by focusing on:
• Identity
o Who am I in this environment? Awareness of self and others; socialemotional learning; cultural legacies.
• Connectedness
o What are my positive relationships? Social skills, conflict resolution;
building networks of practical and spiritual resources.
• Communication
o How do I communicate with others? Literacy, listening skills, arts and
• Agency
o What change can I make on my own and what change can we
accomplish together? Advocacy, organizing, collaborating
What changes?
• Common Practices
o Daily activities in classrooms, hallways, cafeteria,
fields, streets, homes: e.g. relaxation time, “daily
rap,” customs, conventions
o How we treat one another, speak, behave
 Programmatic interventions
 Arts and self-expressive programs
 Grief groups, mental health services
 Peer mediation, student activism/civic leadership
Changes we expect to see
 Students doing better
 Improved indicators of school climate
 Improved student personal, social and
academic engagement
 Parents as co-educators
 Students as community leaders
 Long-term improvements in safety,
attendance, promotion, graduation
What do you think?
Inspired by…
Intrigued by…
Concerned by…
o Specific sources of trauma, generalized impact of
community stress, school-specific stress
o Indicators of success
Our Panel
• Dr. Adanna J. Johnson-Evans
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Loyola University Maryland
• Jarrod Bolte
Interim Executive Director of Teaching and Learning
Baltimore City Public Schools
• Atman Smith
Co-Founder, Holistic Life Foundation, Inc.
Alliance for Community
Teachers and Schools
Contact Us:
Peter Murrell
Rachel Carlson
Jessica Strauss
Thank you for
your interest.