Piqua Education Foundation grant helps address the rise in childhood trauma


For the Miami Valley Today

PIQUA — The Piqua Education Foundation, whose mission is focused on enhancing the educational opportunities available to Piqua City School students and graduates, annually awards over $300,000 in scholarships and up to $25,000 in Education Grants. It is these Education Grant funds that support the implementation of new ideas and opportunities for students like the Zones of Regulation Behavior Framework Grant awarded this summer by the Piqua Education Foundation.

Piqua City School District’s Springcreek Primary is utilizing the Piqua Education Foundation Education Grant award to help them meet the needs of their students. Through this grant, Springcreek Primary will be able to provide the students with opportunities to learn how to monitor and positively cope with their emotions and potentially negative impulses.

Julianne Bauer and Megan Williams, who work respectively as a school counselor and behavior specialist, shared with the Piqua Education Foundation that there is a national rise in childhood trauma and that during the 2020-2021 school year alone that “most of the [negative student] reports [within their school] could be seen as a student who had lost control and was unable to self-regulate.” In other words, these disciplinary actions were the result of a child being unable to cope with the emotions and stimulus that they were experiencing in a healthy manner and, instead, were acting out.

As children prepare for the 2021-2022 school year, they are doing so in an environment that may not only include domestic stresses related to bullying, food, and housing insecurities and abuse but also larger issues related to devastating tornados, shootings, and a continuing global pandemic. The US Department of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states on their website that “more than two thirds of children reported at least 1 traumatic event by age 16.” They go on to share that “the impact of child traumatic stress can last well beyond childhood… and is a risk factor for nearly all behavioral health and substance use disorders.”

The Zones of Regulation Behavior Framework Grant from the Piqua Education Foundation will help Springcreek teachers and administrators focus on prevention instead of punishment, which often is too late and ineffective in dealing with the true issues behind an outburst. These Piqua Education Foundation Grant funds will be used to teach these elementary school students how to recognize and manage their emotions using proven techniques like: normalizing emotions, utilizing calming strategies, and learning how to help other students to regulate.

Bauer and Williams shared in their application, “The goal is to waste less time on behavior outbursts, which will leave more time to focus on academic outcomes in the classroom. An added benefit is that the students will learn the skills needed for independent regulation and well-being that can be used throughout their lives.”

“Children are one of our greatest gifts, and no matter how much we may want to protect them all, unfortunately that is not always possible” stated Dr. Doug Hulme, the president of the Piqua Education Foundation. Hulme went on to say, “Childhood trauma impacts every child differently. It can lead to both short- and long-term learning, physical, and mental health issues. Trauma is seen to increase the chances for the need for child welfare and juvenile justice systems.”

He went on to share about how proud the entire Piqua Education Foundation board of directors is to be able to support these teachers and the Springcreek students with this proactive Zones of Regulation grant focused on implementing a behavioral regulation framework to address the effects of childhood trauma in Piqua.

“Together, we are enhancing the educational experience and the future of our students, and we could not do this without the dedication of teachers like Ms. Bauer and Ms. Williams.” Hulme said.

To learn more about the Piqua Education Foundation, visit: www.PiquaEducationFoundation.org.

To learn more about understanding the issues related to the causes and potential effects of childhood trauma, you can visit www.samhasa.gov or in Ohio you can reach out by calling the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ Ohio Care Line at 1-800-720-9616.

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