How Schools Can Be Places for both Healing Trauma and Providing Hope


Over the past 14 months, I have focused on why schools can be places for healing trauma and why that gives me hope for the future of our students generally and our educational system more broadly.  This is the subject of several panels on which I have participated and it is a topic about which I have written.  Resources appear at end of this summary.


This session identifies first why hope matters and then turn to the whys and hows of healing trauma within school communities.  This session focuses on what positives we can draw from the Pandemic and how schools, if they deploy trauma-responsive pedagogy, strategies and leadership, can help students and families move forward more successfully. To that end, attention will be paid to concrete examples of why hope isn't illusory and why I think healing and hope go hand-in-hand. 



Examples include how to create new healing spaces and places for both students and educators; identification of and engagement with respect to shared experiences among members of the school community including through installation art initiatives and online engagement tools; improved connections and reciprocity between students and educators (defined broadly); creation of new traditions; mask and mirror exhibits; and pop-up courses for students and educators (separately and together) around current and new events. 



Attention will also be paid to thinking about schools expansively and the services in addition to traditional “educational content” they can provide to students and their families. The services needed in a post-Pandemic world (and previously too) include: food services; mental health services; opportunities for play and joy; consistent structure and personnel.


Existing Video of Presenter with panel on this topic:



Related Publications by Presenter connected to topic of hope and schools as a place of healing:

Target Audience


To Bring/Important Notes

Please have these items with you for the session if possible:  a box of paperclips; a fork (plastic is fine or metal); sheet music or some paper with musical notes on it (easily printed from the web); glue.   I look forward to being with you all again.


10:00 AM - 1:45 PM

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  • Finn Partners
    Karen Gross

    Karen Gross is an educator and award-winning author of adult and children's books. She specializes in student success, with an emphasis on how trauma impacts student learning and psychosocial development.  She has made more than 45 presentations over the past 14 months to schools, educators, counselors, families and organizations on the impact of the Pandemic and strategies to ameliorate its many impacts. She is a continuing education instructor at the Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work; she also teaches students ranging from PreK to adulthood in different settings. A prior college president and senior policy advisor to the US Department of Education, she has worked to make trauma-responsiveness an integral part of education.