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Supporting Student Resiliency in Trauma-Sensitive Schools

Date: April 3, 2015
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

This one-day conference brought together educators, researchers, child welfare experts, and mental health providers to discuss ways to transform Utah schools into more supportive environments for the many children who experience trauma, affecting their ability to learn, engage, and succeed in school.

Event goals:

  1. Raise awareness about what constitutes trauma and its prevalence in school-age youth.
  2. Learn about the effects of trauma on learning and normal development.
  3. Become familiar with existing Utah resources and organizations providing support services.
  4. Hear promising practices of school-based trauma responses from school districts across the country.

Speakers included:

Panel of national educators implementing trauma-sensitive practices in schools (see video below):

  • Wendy Bleeker & Bonnie Ducharme, Spokane (WA) Public Schools
  • Erin Butts, Montana Office of Public Education
  • Jennifer Caldwell & Helen Parker, San Francisco (CA) Unified School District
  • Robyn Ganeles, Oakland (CA) Unified School District

Other speakers:

  • Carol Anderson, Educational Specialist, Behavioral Supports/Mental Health, Utah State Office of Education
  • Tammer Attallah, Administrative Director, Behavior Health Services, Primary Children’s Medical Center
  • David L. Corwin, Professor/Director of Forensic Services, Pediatrics Department, University of Utah School of Medicine
  • Catherine Johnson, Director, Youth and Family Services Division, Wasatch Mental Health
  • Jennifer A. Johnson, Member, Utah State Board of Education
  • Brian Miller, Director, Safety Net Program for Families with Young Children, Children’s Center
  • Jennifer Oxborrow, Director of Domestic Violence Prevention, Utah Department of Health
  • Lillian Tsosie-Jensen, Educational Specialist, Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling, Utah State Office of Education
  • Susie Wiet, Adjunct Faculty, Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah

In addition to national research (e.g., the seminal Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) study) and local data and resources, a selection of free resources were recommended for school-based personnel, including:

For more information, email Kenwyn Derby at

Welcome Video

Carol Anderson, Utah State Office of Education

The Effects of Trauma on Brain Structure

Susie Wiet, MD

Practitioner Panel

Erin Butts, Montana Office of Public Instruction; Robyn Ganeles, Oakland Unified School District; Jennifer Caldwell & Helen Parker, San Francisco Unified School District; Wendy Bleecker & Bonnie Ducharme, Spokane School District

What Does Trauma Look Like in Schools?

Carol Anderson & Lillian Tsosie Jensen, Utah State Office of Education