“Teachers who are stressed, unhappy, and unsupported by their peers are more inclined to treat their students with disrespect.”[i]

At Pace we know, through our understanding of trauma, that we are sponges for our peer’s emotional states, whether we want to be or not.  And as we all know, children are even “spongier” than adults. They absorb our energy – whether positive or negative.  How we talk to each other creates a “climate” that can be pleasant and respectful or can be clique-ish and unfriendly.

In a recent article in Educational Leadership: Respect-Where Do We Start?, Marie-Nathalie Beaudoin, makes a strong case that the adult culture of a school is key to developing respectful students.  But as simple as this insight sounds, it’s not easy to change the culture of any group of adults, and even harder to change a culture where the adults are constantly under pressure to interact positively with children.  Their needs and behaviors can overwhelm even the most cheerful disposition.

Why is it so hard for people to stay positive?  Ms. Beaudoin, who uses brain research to make her point, says that “It’s easy for people to dwell on negative affective states because, according to neuroscientists, there are more neural networks in the brain associated with negative affect than with positive affect (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Finkenauer, & Vohs, 2001); some scientists even speculate that these may be in the ratio of 5 to 1.”[ii]

Her suggestion: start by evaluating the conversation in the lunchroom.  Are people talking about their problems?  Are they complaining to each other or engaging in “one-ups-man-ship” about the latest student horror story?  Are they talking about the work or are they talking about each other’s interests and lives? »Read More

Summertime means warm temperatures and long lazy days in the sun.  For many kids, it is a welcome break from the rigors of going to school every day.  But, the lessons learned during the school year should not be forgotten all summer long.  Research clearly shows that children who do not read over the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress.  The loss is cumulative and can have long term effects.  As a parent, you play a critical role in your child’s education during the summer months.

Here are 10 weeks of activities from the Reading is Fundamental website that includes reading and reading related skills. There is no special order, and you don’t have to do everything listed in a particular week. Just pick the ones that look interesting and fun!  The most important thing to remember is to keep reading fun over the summer!

»Read More

It’s amazing how much we know about the development of the brain.  It seems like every week, there is new science showing how the brain forms and responds to any number of stimuli. At Pace, we know that all of students are affected by some social, emotional or behavioral disorder.  Unfortunately, there is still no way to “fix” the brain.  Even with all the advances, we still have to rely on the tried and true, low-tech methods for giving all kids the chance to succeed in school.

One area that Pace School has focused on is the effect of trauma and chronic stress on children.  All kinds of information can tell us exactly how the brain of a child is altered by the experience of chronic stress. We can see pictures of developing brains and learn all about the regions affected, but how do we help this child – today? »Read More