This blog post is continued from It’s About T.I.M.E. Year Four Update Pt. 1. To read part one, click here. We’re thrilled to announce the expansion of our It’s About T.I.M.E. program to a new school and the addition of new team members. Read on to learn about the program’s exciting growth.
Last school year, Addams Elementary became the first Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) elementary school to partner with the It’s About T.I.M.E. (Trauma-Informed Movement in Education) program. “It is essential that this program supports students of different ages, including those in elementary schools,” said Nathan Swaringen, LCSW, It’s About T.I.M.E. consultant and developer. “Individuals can be exposed to trauma at any age, and being able to help students heal from that trauma ideally starts as early as possible.” During his first year at Addams, Nathan helped young children who were exposed to trauma learn how to cope, connect and feel safe. Read more about his work at Addams Elementary in update part one.
This summer, to support additional students and staff in LBUSD, The Guidance Center began a partnership with another elementary school, Barton Elementary. Located in North Long Beach, Barton Elementary receives trauma-informed training and consultation services from Stevie McBride, LMFT, a new therapist on the It’s About T.I.M.E. team.
Before transitioning into this new role, Stevie was a clinician in The Guidance Center’s Long Beach Outpatient program for six and a half years. As a clinician, Stevie supported clients and their families, provided psychoeducation and individualized coping strategies and connected children and families with beneficial resources to maintain care.
Pictured: Ausra Hassan (left), Stevie McBride and Dr. Jacqueline Williams
Now, as a trauma-informed consultant, Stevie supports educators and administrators as they help students regulate their emotions and behaviors and cope after experiencing trauma. Stevie regularly works with the principal at Barton, Dr. Jacqueline Williams, and the counselor, Ausra Hassan. “The progress and work being done for the students is formed by constant collaboration,” Stevie shared. Stevie meets with Dr. Williams, Ms. Hassan, and other staff members each day to exchange ideas and evaluate existing trauma-informed strategies. During one of these collaborative meetings, Dr. Williams shared an observation that helped Stevie and staff at Barton redevelop their responses to students’ behaviors. “After students saw others being acknowledged when they misbehaved, I noticed some students replicating those same misbehaviors. They interpreted these actions as behaviors that would be acknowledged and rewarded,” Dr. Williams recalled. Now, to address this, students are readily rewarded for their positive behaviors by the staff. Students are given Barty Bucks after exhibiting behaviors like sharing, listening or being polite. Students can use their earned Barty Bucks to purchase toys and other items. The students are responding to this change and are consistently excited about receiving rewards for good behavior.
Students at Barton are also eager to engage with Stevie. Several teachers created and implemented a system that allows students to earn visits to Stevie’s office. Similar to the Barty Bucks system, through positive behaviors, students can earn Mr. Stevie Passes. These passes grant students the opportunity to meet with Stevie.
When meeting with students, Stevie helps them regulate their emotions and behaviors and practice coping skills. While working with the students, Stevie also encourages them to share their unique goals and needs. “I see the students as It’s About T.I.M.E. collaborators. I want them to be involved in what we implement. So, I ask them to share their ideas and what they need from teachers and staff to succeed,” Stevie said. Recently, a young student told Stevie he feels better when teachers take the time to learn how about what he is going through. Stevie shares feedback like this with the staff at Barton to ensure the students are consistently heard and understood.
The program’s expansion was made possible by a generous grant from the Rudolph J. and Daphne A. Munzer Foundation. The Munzer Foundation’s mission is to strengthen community, family and individuals through effective and focused philanthropy. Since 2017, they have awarded The Guidance Center a total of $150,000 in grants and we are so thankful for all they do to support children, families and schools in our community.
There have also been a few other exciting developments within the program.
For the last few years, the It’s About T.I.M.E. team has used play therapy toolkits to help students regulate their behaviors, calm their minds and feel safe. The toolkits are an essential part of the students’ therapeutic and healing processes. After analyzing the effectiveness of each item, Nathan redeveloped the toolkits this summer. Figurines and toys that students did not respond to were taken out of the new toolkits. In their place, Nathan added additional sensory items that have consistently helped students regulate and share what they are feeling. “The students love the toolkits,” Stevie shared.
“I love being able to support students who are growing up in communities like the one I grew up in,” Stevie said. “I know trauma is commonly prevalent in places like these, and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to help students heal and succeed.”
It’s About T.I.M.E. partners with new schools like Barton Elementary each year, with the goal of reaching every school within LBUSD. A new opportunity to support this program and LBUSD students and schools has officially launched. You can help teachers build and strengthen relationships with students individually, so they feel seen, heard and valued by joining the Monthly Giving Hope & Healing Club. To learn more, visit: tgclb.org/hope-healing