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Getting to Know the Writer Behind “Creating Adoption Sensitive Classrooms”

  • Estimated reading time: 15 min.
Getting to Know the Writer Behind “Creating Adoption Sensitive Classrooms”

Hey Teachers! Did you know that November is National Adoption Month? Chances are that you have students with adoption and/or foster care backgrounds in your classrooms and may not have known that there is a unique set of considerations when teaching them. Created by an educator and mom via adoption, our new course “Creating Adoption Sensitive Classrooms” will help you become much more aware of the issues these students face and give you practical tools to use in supporting these students.

Joelle’s Story

Joelle spent her entire adult life working for the education and wellbeing of children. She always knew she wanted to be a parent some day and felt strongly that it would be via international adoption. Simultaneously, she achieved two life dreams...leading her own school as a principal and jumping into the adoption process. All of that was intentional, planned, and filled with happy expectations and joy.

Then, in the blink of an eye, things went from intentional and planned to the unintentional, unimaginable survival and then recovery mode. She needed to step away from schools to support her child but also knew she still wanted to remain connected to the world of education. Clearly stated by Joelle, “I wanted to help parents like me understand the education system and all of its intricacies better and also help educators understand the impact adoption and foster backgrounds may have on students. The trick was figuring out the right and most meaningful way to do that.”

Joelle spent over two decades in a wide variety of roles ranging from classroom teacher to counselor, administrator and ultimately school principal. Through all of those experiences she was able to see virtually every angle of how schools work to support students.

As a parent, Joelle has a child who does not fall into the “typical” mold. Adopted from India at age 6 with a physical disability, she also underwent an immense medical crisis after coming to America leading to additional significant physical and psychological trauma. As a parent and educator, she understands how hard it can be to navigate the system as is. When adding in anything that makes children not fit the “typical” mold, it can become incredibly challenging.

What she heard time and time again from families formed by adoption was that they wanted and needed resources for their children’s teachers and the schools they attend. After hearing so much of this, it seemed as though there were many educators who perhaps had not been exposed to the complexities that accompany adoption and foster backgrounds. So much so that in some of the cases she was hearing about, educators were unwittingly doing damage to the students and their families. Reading some of the scenarios was heartbreaking and Joelle wanted to find a way to help educators understand this dynamic and become more sensitive to these needs.

From this reality, an idea was born! 

Joelle knew the need was great and she also wanted to honor the time of educators, so she created, wrote and is an instructor for a course entitled, "Creating Adoption Sensitive Classrooms." This was her way of trying to help educators understand more about this segment of their student populations while also recognizing the fact that this work takes time. By creating this, she has elevated this topic as professional development work and as such, it recognizes the importance of the topic itself and also the professionalism of the educators who engage in it. 

It is Joelle’s hope that this course truly helps educators understand more about the needs of students like her own child (and so many more) and their families while giving them the tools they need to implement this within their classrooms. We go into education with a deep commitment to helping all kids. Hopefully, this course will support educators in doing just that. 

About the Course

With nearly 100 million Americans having adoption in their immediate family and about 428,000 children being in foster care and 135,000 children being adopted in the united states each year, it is very probable that teachers will find a foster child or adopted child in their classroom. This course is designed to help educators understand the many complex issues students who come from adoptive backgrounds face and how they can affect them in the classroom. While often regarded as a compassionate and beautiful way to form a family, it comes with challenges. The challenges some of these students may bring with them can have a major impact on the classroom and on that student’s learning.

This course will help educators go beyond the storybook idealism of adoption to help them understand the deeper issues facing these students.  This course provides concrete information and strategies to support these students academically and socio-emotionally.  Issues of childhood trauma (ACEs), race, gender and cultural consciousness are addressed.

Also check out this downloadable resource that will ensure you and your student's parents are all on the same page!