Action Research, Design Thinking: Consulting at a Trauma-Informed Community School

Action Research, Design Thinking: Consulting at a Trauma-Informed Community School

William Louis Conwill (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA) and Ronald William Bailey (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0280-8.ch009

Abstract

Narratives of unruly Black children in failing schools often normalize hopelessness at the expense of students. Newer, sometimes silenced voices, however, can produce counter-narratives that can lead to ecological solutions for assisting traumatized students. This is a case study of the transformation of a principal who asked, “What's wrong with these children?” to an advocate whose inquiry shifted to “What happened to these children, and what must we do to help them?” With trauma awareness and behavioral management training for her staff, improvements began. The local school board cut her successes short by changing the lock on her office door on the day before teachers returned for the Fall Semester and informed her that her services were no longer needed. What is the lesson for the consultant?
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An Elementary School

An Elementary School had a virtually 100% Black student body of 281. In 2013-2014, 98.8% of its students were from low-income households, with 5.6% homeless (http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/). As a result, a school's 2013 ISAT composite scores may appear to have dropped considerably even in cases where student achievement has not changed. The Chicago Tribune reported that 23.8% of students at An Elementary met or exceeded Illinois State test standards with a ranking of one, with 10 being the highest. In short, the school appeared to need a great deal of support, regardless of the attempt of the School Board to raise the score standards. The School Board’s narrative cast the blame for their performance on the West and South Side schools, with poor scores as an indicator for closure.

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