Collaborative Learning for Educational Achievement and Resilience (CLEAR) is a project funded in parts by the Pullman Education Foundation, Whitman County Health Network, and the Pullman School District. CLEAR staff members provide professional development, coaching and consultation to the staff at Sunnyside Elementary School twice/month. Much of the professional development focuses on understanding children who have experienced trauma and how to approach and engage those students at school.
Data collected by the WSU-Spokane Child and Family Research Unit indicate that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) “pile on” when young brains are developing. As children who have had one or more ACE become adults, many are impacted with health conditions such as alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. Pam Brantner, principal at Sunnyside Elementary School, says, “There is no better time to address physical and mental health than with our children. CLEAR strategies have helped us to better meet student needs, understand the impacts of outside events on school, and support students to positively impact student learning.” One strategy used in the school was to teach children the hand model of the brain and what it feels like when they flip their lids. “The brain exercise has helped all students recognize how they need to feel in order to be successful learners. All students in our school recognize this model of the brain and how to apply strategies to get them to their “downstairs brain” where learning occurs.”
The Pullman School District is working in partnership with the Pullman Regional Hospital to secure outside funding to add this approach to other schools in the near future.