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Creating Compassionate Schools

Course Description

Course Description:

While it is widely recognized that teachers are tasked with creating the learning conditions for students, some student-specific variables represent situations well beyond the teacher’s and the student’s control. These student-specific variables can include a number of traumatic events experienced by the child, including: tragic accidents, sudden death of parent(s), natural disasters), physical/emotional/sexual abuse, drug abuse and addiction in the household, and incarceration of a parent and/or significant adult. Educators need to understand the ways the ways in which the needs of children who experience trauma and/or sustained periods of stress can differ significantly from their peers. For teachers not completely aware of the ways that adverse childhood experiences (or ACE’s) can impact students, the challenges for both students and teachers alike can be magnified. Taken in combination with the myriad of other ways that students differ, it is important that teachers have a plan for how they will understand the needs of learners with complex needs and respond compassionately so that all students remain connected to their schooling experience.

Creating Compassionate Schools will provide teachers an overview of the rationale for embracing pedagogical strategies rooted in compassion. The course has been developed to introduce educators to the principles and practices of an approach that takes aim at “getting it right” for both students and their teachers. Creating Compassionate Schools will provide an introductory look at the scientific research-base emerging from a number of disciplines (e.g., social services, education research, neurobiology, public health approaches) in support of compassionate schooling. With compassion as a lens through which professionals can view their work, a number of topics such as professional learning communities, action research and job satisfaction will be explored. Implications of the approach will be discussed as well as barriers to implementation.

Attention will also be devoted to considering the shifting educational landscape as legislative efforts to increase the prominence of social and emotional learning (SEL) standards across K-12 settings are occurring. The defining characteristics of Compassionate Schools will be considered along with characteristics of other movements such as Positive Behavior and Instructional Supports (PBIS), Differentiated Instruction (DI) and Whole Child Education. Exemplars of states operating in alignment with compassionate schooling principles will included.

Teachers responding to the needs of a diverse learning population that include such variables often feel unprepared and isolated. Attempts to connect with colleagues and others within their educational context can yield limited results. Creating Compassionate Schools will also include resources for reflecting on the level of complexity present in classrooms today. Research-based information and strategies will provide course participants with:

  1. a pedagogical framework which recognizes a definition of student diversity that includes students impacted by adverse childhood experiences,
  2. strategies for professionals attempting to meet the immediate needs of learners impacted by adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s),
  3. tools which teachers may use immediately within a compassionate approach, and
  4. strategies and tools for engaging colleagues to respond similarly so that a culture of care is the long-term result in educational settings where children with complex needs are served.

Designed with a K-12 professional audience in mind, Creating Compassionate Schools offers insight into challenges faced by professionals across the educational spectrum in identifying, addressing, and collaborating around the complex needs of students.

Course Objectives:

  • Distinguish between “empathy” and “compassion” within the school setting
  • Understand the role compassionate schooling plays within the broad context of school reform
  • Consider legislative efforts reflecting increased awareness of need for social emotional learning standards (SEL) nationwide
  • Understand the concerns some professionals may have regarding creating compassionate schools
  • Locate information on rationale for compassionate schools that supports a balanced reform approach
  • Understand the philosophical framework that supports the compassionate schooling approach
  • Locate and access best practice government resources relevant to social emotional learning and concepts associated with compassionate schooling
  • Utilize a self-reflection tool to determine the current level of implementation of social emotional learning for the course participant’s context.
  • Learn a working definition of a “compassionate school”
  • Understand how different movements (e.g., Differentiation Instruction, PBIS, SEL) fit with a compassionate schooling approach
  • Identify characteristics of positive behavior intervention supports (PBIS) that may already exist in teaching context
  • Understand and assess for level of evidence of social and emotional learning (SEL) within current teaching context
  • Review one state’s model for supporting school districts to implement compassionate schools.
  • Identify barriers to creating compassionate schools
  • Understand the significance of the concept of a “standard of care” within educational settings
  • Articulate the ways in which creating a compassionate school demonstrates a professional “standard of care”
  • Understand the basis for a shift from reliance on educational labels toward understanding learner complexity
  • Consider how professional responses to student needs can alleviate or increase student needs
  • Identify one state-level attempt to implement social emotional learning (SEL) standards
  • Understand and apply terminology of “compassion satisfaction” and “compassion fatigue” to their own work context
  • Apply a specific reflection strategy that demonstrates understanding of the challenges associated with serving students with complex needs
  • Understand the significance of students feeling connected to their school experience.
  • Recognize the degree to which adverse childhood experiences create disconnects for learners as they experience school
  • Review importance of complying with mandatory reporting requirements
  • Understand the ways in which students who have experienced adverse childhood experiences are in “triple jeopardy”
  • Discern the difference between behavioral forms and behavioral functions
  • Validate the need for professions to listen for a student’s “voice” through their behaviors
  • Understand how an increased awareness of the impact of maltreatment reinforces the need for brain-compatible learning approaches
  • Understand the educational significance of the current scientific research on the impacts of adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s)
  • Understand how ACE’s can potentially increase complexities for students, parents, and professionals, and communities
  • Develop awareness of a tool for assessing individual and collective (eg, classroom, school) levels of student maltreatment and ACE’s.
  • Conduct a survey of colleagues on the concept of ACE’s and report observations demonstrating understanding of concepts
  • Demonstrate ability to reflect on your own level of ACE’s and how this may influence your interactions with students
  • Distinguish characteristics of “good stress” and “bad stress” and how these impact capacity to learn
  • Locate resources that could be useful in identifying characteristics of students experiencing childhood traumatic stress
  • Learn basic components of effective engagement with students who are currently experiencing varying levels of stress
  • Demonstrate understanding of course concepts by completing a functional based assessment on a particular student
  • Interpret information about the negative impacts of early adversity and “toxic stress levels” and apply this information to current teaching context
  • Articulate different types of trauma and how they might impact educational routines
  • Implement a “compassionate schooling action plan” at the individual, classroom, or school level and provide evidence of impact.
  • Demonstrate understanding of core compassionate school concepts through submission of personal teaching philosophy statement reflecting course concepts

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women who have died in military service for the United States. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day, and it is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season. To celebrate the beginning of summer, many take to the outdoors, have picnics and barbeques with friends and family. We are choosing to offer the following courses at a discount from May 23rd – June 4th, 2017:

Discount: $299.99 (save $50). Use promo code MemorialDay17 at checkout.

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Why Choose CE Credits Online

CE Credits Online has been providing continuing education credits to K-12 educators since 2002. Our courses are offered nationwide, serving the professional learning needs of thousands of K-12 educators. Our courses are:

  • Standards-based
  • High-quality online professional learning courses designed to improve teaching and student achievement.
  • 100% online - no commuting, no missed classes, and no dress code.
  • Self-paced courses, offering participants the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere, 24/7.
  • Facilitated by highly trained moderators, experienced in education 
  • User-friendly and engaging with numerous videos that model new strategies & skills 
  • All CE Credit Online courses are eligible for University Credits (for an additional fee) through our university affiliates. Please visit our University Affiliation page for more information.

Our courses cover a variety of instructional areas and meet the needs of many educator groups, including;

  • Reading / Language Arts
  • Instructional Strategies
  • English Language Learners (ELL)
  • Transforming Instruction with Technology
  • Classroom and Behavior Management
  • Creating Effective Learning Environments
  • Beginning Teachers
  • Special Education
  • Counseling
  • Support Staff
  • Overall this course has really opened up my eyes and my heart to what it really means to be compassionate. In the past I have though of myself as a compassionate teacher, however, this course has shown me that there are so many different variables to consider when attempting to really create a compassionate school. I was very happy to learn about ACEs and how to identify students with high ACEs scores. I think that this information will really be useful when working with a student who may seem difficult or challenging. This past year I had several students who I struggled with and to be completely honest I did not really think about their past traumas. The idea that a students is like an iceberg and you really only see whats on top, is a monumental statement. As educators we very rarely understand each of our students' life experiences. Although I meet my students when they are just starting off in life (second grade), I think that it is so important to remember that trauma can occur all the way to infancy and specific traumas impact children's brain development. My favor lesson was lesson 7 that focuses on how stress impacts learning and how it affects brain development. This particular lesson really made me reflect on the stressors I create in my student's lives and how I can alleviate that stress to create a more compassionate learning environment. Overall, I gained many new ideas, beliefs, and values from this course. I know that I will step into my new classroom next year thinking and breathing compassion. I will make many new changes including surveys, aces, and community building activities in hopes to create a learning environment where all students feel important and loved.

    What a participant from Colorado said about Creating Compassionate Schools
  •  I have truly enjoyed this class because it provided so much usable information and I learned about ACE's. I know trauma because I lived it until I left home- just like most of my students. But I did not know there was a term for it. I thoroughly enjoyed the brain videos as I love to learn how the brain works and brain stage theory. It helps to see a science behind to help explain why we or kids do the things they do. While all that is essential, I came away with a revived sense of building my rapport even more and be more compassionate to my kids. I have always felt that I connect with my "babies" and work diligently to keep a genuine connection with them. As my classes become more and more complex (huge number of "displace workers from Guatemala") and with the ever growing disparity that students get, I think it is essential to remember the ACEs and the impact that are on my students. this in turn affects my job too. I can not only teach my kids, but I must provide a structure of peace and safety for them as well. My students must be ale to know I genuinely care for them and that with this, they can have the opportunity to have enduring learning -even though life is full of pain and hurt. thank you for offering such a great class. It did demand a lot of reading yet offered articles and many websites to support this new class. Nearly all of them were very enlightening and useful. I also was glad that many handouts or handbooks were readily available to download for future use. Love this class! The part of the brain and how ACEs affect how students behave was most educational. Thank you; can't wait to take the one that is suggested to take after this one.  

    What a participant from Kentucky said about Creating Compassionate Schools
  • I really liked the online format of this course, it made it very easy to complete it at my own pace. The information was clear, to the point and interesting.  I have learned many valuable lessons by taking this course that i hope to apply to my classroom in the future. First, I learned what a compassionate school is and that it is about being empathetic and that empathy comes in many forms. Empathy is not just about understanding the feelings of a student but understanding the whole student. Another key piece I took from this course is that students can be complex learners, meaning they are more than meets the eye. Teachers may be unaware of ACE's that a student has experienced in their life and to totally understand a student and their behaviors/actions one needs to dig deeper and learn about that student's past. I particularly liked and felt motivated by lesson #7 on stress. I plan to watch out for my student's and their stress more in class in the future. I will be more empathetic when they are stressed and try to find ways to help them cope with stress because of the impact that stress can have on their learning. There are many great lessons to be learned from this course and I think many of those lessons will help me to be a more compassionate and understanding teacher overall.

    What a participant from Massachusetts said about Creating Compassionate Schools
  • Wow! I really enjoyed this course. The availablity for me to work at my own pace over the summer was just what I needed. I really enjoyed the format that was used in the lessons that were presented. The refresher course on the history of education and the impact that leaders have had on our educational system was very intersting to me. There is so much that you forget after you have graduated from college and moved out into the working environment. It was a trip going down memory lane to go back and think through the theories of great minds such as those of Piaget, Maslow, Erickson, Vygotsky, Gardner and Kohlberg. I still struggle with the No Child Left Behind law. I live and teach in Alaska. Our geographics is much different from that of other states. There are many communities (villages) and teachers within these communities that struggle to meet the requirements for this law. I do appreciate this being a topic that was touched upon at the end of this course. Thank you.

    What a participant from Alaska said about Today's Classroom: Foundations of and Current Trends in Education
  • Although the one student I work one-on-one with as a teacher and counselor is in the Emotionally Handicap Program (now titled "The Comprehensive Support Program"), the setting up part of classroom rules lessons work well with my student. I know, as mentioned in the lessons, that this program was not designed for the extreme cases I work with but know that a very good portion can be applied for such special needs students. I have spoke to some colleagues about this program and will recommend it to them. I did enjoy taking this course. I felt very at ease with it. I like how I could go back and re-read certain parts of the lessons with ease. This course was very user-friendly.                                

    What a participant from Arizona said about Stopping Disruptive Behavior
  • I really enjoyed the videos. They were very well done and easy to follow and understand. I could take what I learned and apply it immediately to my own instruction.                                  

    What a participant from Arizona said about Transforming Math Instruction with Interactive Whiteboard Systems
  • This course really had me evaluate where I am currently in my teaching. I liked how I was able to consider my students in response to the course information. This course helped me make changes in how I am setting up my classroom lessons to better help my students and I am already seeing improvements in my relationships with students and their relationship with the material. The moderator's further questions helped me focus better on the material and to specify my response to the questions.                                

    What a participant from Arizona said about Maximizing Engagement of All Learners
  • I have enjoyed learning some new strategies for teaching problem solving and look forward to incorporating them into my instruction the remainder of this year, as well as with a fresh group of students from the beginning of the year next year. One element that resounded strongly with me was Polyps four steps for problem solving. I found it enlightening to learn how to improve upon an instructional strategy that I thought I was already using. The clarity and simplicity of the process helps me to help my students to dig deeper into the problems, incorporate previous learning, and have a plan for moving forward with their solution. Another learning experience I appreciated dealt with extending word problems. I never thought it could be so easy to give students multiple opportunities to solve similar problems, not to mention the opportunities to differentiate. What a great way to get the most bang for your buck when teaching kids to recognize the structure of word problems. There are many other elements of this course that I have embraced to help kids to dig deeper, and understand more.I will continue to use the four steps for problem solving and extensions daily, and I will continue to work to help them become better "math writers".

    What a participant from California said about Improving English Language Learner Instruction through the Use of Technology
  • This is my first time using CE Credits online and I was very impressed. The material was very informative and helpful and easy to navigate through. I will definitely take another course!!                                

    What a participant from California said about Conducting the Parent Conference
  • The lessons and course information was extremely useful and informative. I enjoyed gaining the new information and am looking forward to implement the vast majority of it in my classroom. The ideology of the coursework was also enlightening and enhanced my understanding of the course material.                                

    What a participant from California said about Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom