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Episode 031: Systems of Care and the Power of Hope

For this episode of Passing Notes, I met with Casey Gwinn and Dr. Rick Cobb. Casey Gwinn is an attorney who led the nation in the creating the concept for Family Justice Centers. He is the current president of the Alliance of Hope, developed the model for Camp HOPE, and is the recent co-author of the book Hope Rising. Dr. Rick Cobb is the superintendent of Mid-Del Public Schools and is working to shift they dynamics within the school district and the larger community to support families through a trauma-informed lens.

On January 7, 2019, Dr. Cobb and his leadership team brought Casey Gwinn to speak to the entire district in the morning and community members in the afternoon. Dr. Cobb invited me to join the afternoon session and I wasn’t prepared for such an incredible afternoon of learning. Very thankful that both took them time to visit with me afterwards for this interview!

Below are the questions I prepared for the interview:

  • Introduce yourself
  • What work do you and the Alliance for Hope International do?
  • Why is being trauma-informed an important community-wide endeavor?
  • What role does hope play in trauma-informed care?
  • What resources exist for teachers, principals? Communities?
  • What is happening today in your district?
  • What do you hope to accomplish with this work?
  • Where did the idea start? What preparation took place? What data was collected?
  • Why do you believe that this work is important for your district?
  • How has trauma impacted your district? Individual schools?
  • What strategies have you put in place throughout the district to ensure that trauma-informed care is taking place in individual classrooms?
  • In what other ways do you plan to include the community on your work focused around trauma?
  • What would happen to the overall mission of our work if ACEs were radically reduced in the population as a whole? What does a low-ACEs culture look like?
  • Resources that have impacted the work that you are doing in the Mid-Del District?

Episode 029: Compassion Fatigue

What is Compassion Fatigue? Secondary Trauma? How does burnout effect my classroom practice? Can a teacher get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from experiences in the classroom? This growing area of research focused on how the stress of classroom experiences, learning about the trauma of students, and the demands of current mandates and expectations can have an impact on a teacher’s well-being. How do professionals counter the day-to-day and keep coming back? What resources are available to school employees as they work to support their students and families?

Dr. Elliott is a part time school counselor and a part time provider of professional development surrounding trauma-informed practices and compassion fatigue in the Oklahoma City Public School District. Dr. Elliott helps teachers and school professionals to reflect on their experiences and identify what they need to provide quality education and care to the students that they serve.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Dr. Elliott:

  1. Tell us who you are and what you do?
  2. What is compassion fatigue?
  3. How is compassion fatigue different from burnout or secondary trauma or PTSD?
  4. Why is it important for teachers/principals to identify when they are experience compassion fatigue?
  5. What role does trauma play in teacher’s experiencing compassion fatigue?
  6. How can compassion fatigue effect classroom teaching?
  7. What do you recommend teachers do when they are experiencing compassion fatigue? Burnout? Secondary trauma? PTSD?
  8. How can teachers/principals identify compassion fatigue? Burnout? Secondary trauma? PTSD?
  9. How can leaders support teachers struggling through compassion fatigue? Burnout? Secondary trauma? PTSD?
  10. What are your go-to resources?

Episode 028: Legislative Update 2

In this second episode of the Legislative Update, I wrap up some of the senate and house bills of interest that were filed by January 17th (the last day to file bills).

All I can say at this point is this is going to be a fascinating legislative session. 1st Regular Session convenes on February 4, 2019. In the past post, I listed the Senate Committee on Education, below you will see the House Committees that focus on education but pay attention to the committee that the bill of interest is assigned to. Let me know your thoughts after listening to the episode and fill out your information in the “Be a Guest” tab to join me for a chat.

Resource: If you haven’t done so already, download the app “Oklahoma’s Legislative Guide” by OAEC.

House Subcommittee for Appropriations and Budget on Education

  • Rep Mark McBride (District 53): Chair
  • Rep Toni Hasenbeck (District 65): Vice Chair
  • Rep Rhonda Baker (District 60)
  • Rep Mickey Dollens (District 93)
  • Rep Jadine Nollan (District 66)
  • Rep Ty Burns (District 35)
  • Rep Derrel Fincher (District 11)
  • Rep Jacob Rosecrants (District 46)
  • Rep Sherrie Conley (District 20)
  • Rep Andy Fugate (District 94)
  • Rep Tammy West (District 84)

House Committee on Common Education

  • Rep Rhonda Baker (District 60): Chair
  • Rep Mark Vancuren (District 74): Vice Chair
  • Rep Kelly Albright (District 95)
  • Rep Sherrie Conley (District 20)
  • Rep Melissa Provenzano (District 79)
  • Rep Jacob Rosecrants (District 46)
  • Rep John Talley (District 33)
  • Rep Carol Bush (District 70)
  • Rep Sheila Dills (District 69)
  • Rep Randly Randleman (District 15)
  • Rep Todd Russ (District 55)
  • Rep John Waldron (District 77)
  • Rep Chad Caldwell (District 40)
  • Rep Ronny Johns (District 25)
  • Rep Dustin Roberts (District 21)
  • Rep Danny Sterling (District 27)
  • Rep Tammy West (District 84)

House Committee on Children, Youth, and Family Services

  • Rep Carol Bush (District 70): Chair
  • Rep John Talley (District 33): Vice Chair
  • Rep Forrest Bennett (District 92)
  • Rep Ronny Johns (District 25)
  • Rep Nicole Miller (District 82)
  • Rep Melissa Provenzano (District 79)
  • Rep Cynthia Roe (District 42)
  • Rep Jeff Boatman (District 67)
  • Rep Dell Kerbs (District 26)
  • Rep Cyndi Munson (District 85)
  • Rep Randy Randleman (District 15)
  • Rep Derrel Fincher (District 11)
  • Rep Mark Lawson (District 30)
  • Rep Jadine Nollan (District 66)
  • Rep Trish Ranson (District 34)

House Committee on Higher Education and Career Tech

  • Rep Jadine Nollan (District 66): Chair
  • Rep Derrel Fincher (District 11): Vice Chair
  • Rep Brad Boles (District 51)
  • Rep Jon Echols (District 90)
  • Rep Dell Kerbs (District 26)
  • Rep Trish Ranson (District 34)
  • Rep Tammy West (District 84)
  • Rep Sherrie Conley (District 20)
  • Rep Regina Goodwin (District 73)
  • Rep Lundy Kiger (District 3)
  • Rep Mark Vancuren (District 74)
  • Rep Jason Dunnington (District 88)
  • Rep Kyle Hilbert (District 29)
  • Rep Ken Luttrell (District 37)
  • Rep Emily Virgin (District 44)

Episode 027: Trauma-Informed Teaching

Trauma-Informed Teaching has become more and more of an important topic in our professional development in recent years. In this episode, I visit with Kristin Atchley about how trauma is impacting our students and ways teachers and schools can support families.

Kristin Atchley is the Executive Director of Counseling for the Oklahoma State Department of Education. She has been a school counselor and a student advocate for Moore and Norman Public Schools. Kristin has brought in a wave of trauma-informed practices throughout our state. She trains school personnel at all levels and planned/organized the first Trauma Summit in 2018. If you don’t already follow her on Twitter, I would strongly recommend it – @KristinAtchley.

Below are resources mentioned in the episode:

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Kristin:

  1. Tell us who you are and what you do.
  2. How do you describe Trauma Informed Practice to the novice?
  3. Why is it important for schools to be Trauma Informed?
  4. What do teachers need to know about trauma?
  5. What are ACEs?
  6. What behaviors are prevalent in children who have a high ACE score?
  7. How does trauma impact brain development?
  8. What strategies/classroom practices need to be in place to help students develop their prefrontal cortex and lower students’ stress levels in the classroom?
  9. What is the importance of relationships in Trauma Informed Classrooms? How do teachers develop connections with their students?
  10. What makes a student or family resilient? How can schools help to develop resiliency in students and families?
  11. What are wrap around services? How can they benefit families with high-trauma?
  12. What professional development opportunities do teachers need surrounding trauma?
  13. What is fight, flight, and freeze? What does each look like?
  14. What would happen to the overall mission of our work if ACEs were radically reduced in the population as a whole? What does a low-ACEs culture look like?
  15. What are your go-to resources to share with teachers/principals?

This episode was recorded at and mastered by Design Tunnel in downtown OKC.

Episode 026: Legislative Update 1

After lots of brainstorming about how I might make the Passing Notes blog and podcast better, I decided to make a 2019 goal to provide more news and information using both platforms. Passing Notes will still include interviews with education experts published every two weeks but every other week, we will get political (but not partisan). My goal is to provide information to educators, concerned citizens, stakeholders, families about what is going on in education in Oklahoma. Some weeks we might have guests or panels but every other week we will have updates. At least through the legislative session.

Please send me your thoughts and feedback! And definitely let me know if you’d like to come on an episode and talk education politics with me. Let’s get started!

This episode is focused on the Senate Bills that have been filed for the 57th legislature. Senators can file an unlimited number of bills. The deadline to introduce a bill is January 17th, 2019.

Senate Education Committee

  • Senator Gary Stanislawski (District 35) – Chair
  • Senator Joe Newhouse (District 25) – Vice Chair
  • Senator David Bullard (District 6)
  • Senator J.J. Dossett (District 34)
  • Senator Tom Dugger (District 21)
  • Senator John Haste (District 36)
  • Senator Carri Hicks (District 40)
  • Senator Allison Ikley-Freeman (District 37)
  • Senator Chris Kidd (District 31)
  • Senator Roland Pederson (District 19)
  • Senator Dewayne Pemberton (District 9)
  • Senator Marty Quinn (District 2)
  • Senator Paul Scott (District 43)
  • Senator Wayne Shaw (District 3)
  • Senator Jason Smalley (District 28)

Episode 024: Makerspace

This is the eighth and final episode of the Passing Notes Podcast Tech Series and we are focusing on the STEAM world of Makerspace!

A makerspace is a collaborative space where students can explore the STEAM world around them. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math and offers students open-ended opportunities to explore the 21st century skills that will prepare them for their future. STEAM is hands-on and involves the use of critical thinking skills.

For this episode, I interviewed Chris Smith. Chris is the Director of Early Childhood for Enid Public Schools. In her work she supports early childhood educators in the classroom to improve instruction and provide the best, developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Chris and her teachers have created a superb makerspace for their students. In the makerspace the students use this area to create and explore the world around them.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Chris (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Introduce yourself (background/experience)
  2. Tell us about what you do?
  3. What is a makerspace?
  4. How can teachers use makespace to teach core STEM and STEAM principles to their students?
  5. What does a teacher need to get started in their Makerspace? What items and materials need to go into a Makerspace?
  6. Where should teachers start?
  7. What should teachers add over time?
  8. Do materials depend on age group?
  9. How should a teacher introduce Makespace time to their students?
  10. What routines and procedures need to be put in place beforehand?
  11. What setbacks keep teachers from having a makerspace time?
  12. How can teachers pull in other content areas into a makerspace area?
  13. What advice/cautions do you have for teachers just getting started in makerspace?
  14. What are you excited about in the world of ed tech?
  15. What are your go-to resources?

Episode 023: Self-Care

We’ve all half listened to a flight attendant inform us that in the event of a plane’s decompression an oxygen mask will drop down in front of you. They go on to explain how to put the oxygen mask on and then the flight attendant says “if you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.” They tell us this because they know that a person is useless in an emergency situation if they have not cared for themselves first.

Sometimes this happens to us as educators, we forget to take care of ourselves in order to care for those who rely on us daily. Education is an exhausting job and we need to make sure that self-care is a priority! Todd Whitaker says,

“The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters every day.”

So exercise, go for a walk, hike, hug, take a bubble bath, color, journal, read a book, talk to a friend – do whatever it is you need to bring your best for your students every day.

For this episode, I interviewed Lindsay Simpson. Lindsay is an NASM Certified Personal Trainers as well as a wife and mother of 3. She has a passion for helping others achieve their health, well-being, self-love, and care goals. She is the woman behind Fitness with Lindsay, which provides fitness advice, tips and motivation for helping others achieve their fitness goals.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Lindsay:

  1. Tell us who you are and what you do.
  2. Why did you start doing the work that you do? What drives it?
  3. What is self-care?
  4. Why is self-care important?
  5. You work with a lot of teachers and other care professionals – why is it important for them to focus on self-care?
  6. What role does self-care play in overall health, mental or physical?
  7. What are healthy self-care options?
  8. How do teachers develop a practice of self-care?
  9. How can teachers carve time out of their day for self-care?
  10. Why is a focus on health, mental and physical, important to overall well being?
  11. What practical steps can educators take towards being healthy?
  12. In what ways does a focus on individual health impact all other aspects of your life?
  13. What are your go-to resources?

This episode was recorded at and mastered by Design Tunnel in downtown OKC!