FULTON – The Fulton City School District has recently focused on equipping its teachers and support staff with effective strategies to reduce negative student behaviors associated with trauma.
As a district, that is managed by Elizabeth Tiffany, the district’s behavior intervention specialist.
Although new to the position, Tiffany is familiar with Fulton schools, having been a school psychologist for the past two years. She has aimed to use her background and leadership training to coach, consult and help implement crisis response and trauma-sensitive education.
The need for such a position has largely increased, Tiffany said, because teachers have seen more students come into their classrooms with a multitude of behaviors associated with trauma.
While post-secondary education for teachers has primarily focused on curriculum and instruction, Tiffany said the need for training around trauma-sensitive response has increased.
Trained in therapeutic crisis intervention for schools, Tiffany is working toward helping the district’s administration ensure that each faculty member becomes trained in trauma-sensitive strategies.
FCSD has coupled those strategies with restorative practices or focusing on repairing relationships that have been harmed.
Tiffany said teachers have increased moments of re-teaching to help students learn more appropriate ways to cope in school. Lines of communication with internal and external school sources and agencies also provide added support.
All the efforts, she said, will help ensure safe, welcoming environments for students.
A teacher shifting how he or she speaks to students or the use of mindfulness strategies are some of the many examples that assist students in dealing with their trauma in school.
Tiffany works with teachers in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 and assists with individual students plans, as needed. Ideally, behavior strategies will become embedded into instruction.
The more comfortable, welcoming and responsive the classroom is for all students, the more they will be able to learn and grow.
Tiffany obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from SUNY New Paltz, a master’s degree in school psychology from SUNY Oswego and she is currently working toward her Certificate of Advanced Studies in educational leadership through the Central New York Leadership Development Program.
Tiffany’s efforts fall in line with the Fulton City School District’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports initiative and increased efforts to boost students’ social-emotional learning. With both efforts, the district has sought to increase engagement with families and support further development of those social-emotional skills.