Be Proactive

Now that the school year has begun, start setting your students up for success! Here are some proactive strategies you can implement immediately:

Get to Know Your Students
Get to know your students FOR REAL, and help them get to know each other. Find out about each students’ history. Create an inclusive learning environment where every student feels like an important member.

Greet Students
Position yourself at the door (or wherever makes sense for greeting students) at the start of every class period. Greet ALL students by name (learn and use nicknames or other names if preferred by the student). Give genuine, positive encouragement often.

Provide Options
Utilize brain breaks and/or differentiate instruction every 15-20 minutes. Provide 2-3 options for assignments, projects and tests. Proactively introduce options for students when they “need a moment” and teach them how to self-select what works for them. Whenever possible, give choices.

Utilize an established structure and follow a routine. Notify students when there is going to be a change. Check-in with students frequently.

Universal Needs
Teach and prioritize values instead of rules and compliance. Foster the universal needs of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. Recognize and celebrate acts of kindness and generosity.

To learn more about these proactive strategies and others to use in your school or classroom, sign up for our Trauma Practitioner Certification-Education. This online certification was designed for YOU – school administrators, counselors, social workers and teachers. You will learn how to create a trauma informed, resilient focused environment that will help set your students up for success!

By Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW

Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW, Chief Clinical Officer, oversees all clinical operations and research at Starr Commonwealth. Dr. Soma provides trauma assessment and trauma-informed, resilience-focused intervention for youth utilizing evidence-based practices, including Starr’s SITCAP© model programs.

About Starr Commonwealth

Starr Commonwealth is dedicated to the mission to lead with courage to create positive experiences so that all children, families, and communities flourish. We specialize in residential, community-based, educational, and professional training programs that build on the strengths of children, adults, and families in communities around the world. To schedule a training or consultation, please contact or call 800-837-5591.