It goes without saying that this year’s back-to-school experience has been fraught with stress and uncertainty for students, staff, and teachers in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Educators, in particular, are facing unique challenges as they flex to meet new safety protocols and adapt to virtual systems to connect with students through distance learning. Many are feeling stretched as they try to support students and each other all while managing their own mental and emotional health. With so many external stressors and unknowns in both school communities and society at large, building resilience has become ever more necessary.
Those who lead Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre recognized the current high level of stress and set out to offer educators a way to connect and discuss solutions for the unique challenges they are experiencing in 2020. The team organized RISE UP Week, a series of interactive live stream workshops leading up to World Mental Health Day on October 10.
RISE UP, or Resilience In School Environments: Understanding and Practice, is an initiative of Thriving Schools that is offered free-of-charge to school staff and teachers to deepen their understanding of trauma and stress and how these experiences can impact a learning environment. RISE UP is part of the Resilience in School Environments set of offerings. Participants learn how to cultivate skills in emotional and behavioral self-regulation as a first step in building resilience and trauma sensitivity to better manage stressful interactions in the classroom and beyond.
Offered previously as a live, in-school program, RISE UP has now transitioned to a virtual program. RISE UP Week gave educators a first-hand experience of the program through a series of 75-minute online learning sessions that provided opportunities for skill-building, self-care, and connection, often with educators outside their individual school environment.
View a trailer for the RISE UP program by clicking on the video below:
Participants from across the country said the experience was meaningful and transformative:
“Great tools and resources that align with the needs of our
partners and school communities.” – Atlanta
“I enjoyed the training. It gave me time to relax.” – Los Angeles
“I like [that] you focused on the fact that we don’t know where a student is
in terms of headspace…we can’t have our own agenda but must let them lead.
They all have different needs at different times!” – Denver
“The work was exactly what I think we should be doing these days. Trauma is everywhere.
To be trauma-informed is to state through our actions that we take
the needs of our youth seriously.” – Seattle
“I really enjoyed the use of role-playing and the fact that you focused on simple,
easy ways for busy teachers to self-regulate in the classroom.” – Seattle
To learn more about RISE UP and watch a preview of some of the workshop offerings, visit the Educational Theatre website.