DURAN'S STORY

Learning with Integrity

Duran joined our therapeutic day treatment school program last year. When he first came to school, Duran had trouble sitting down. His Independent Education Plan (IEP) from his previous school, stated that Duran was “unteachable.” 

“I remember seeing his IEP and I couldn’t believe that a teacher would say that about a kid. To even have that written down on their IEP doesn’t give them any hope. There is always hope with any young person,” says Mrs. Henderson, a special education teacher in one of our day treatment schools. 

Our school programs utilize positive behavior support tools to provide a healthy and supportive learning environment. “I think it [positive reinforcement] makes a world of difference. Can you imagine being labeled unteachable? For a teacher to label a student as such, it sounds like they gave up on him. To Duran, he probably felt like he had nothing to give…that nobody was paying attention to him.”

Early on, Duran would frequently cry during class. He was nervous and scared. “Duran needed to feel safe. I would help to calm him down, and our daily structure in class helped him a lot.” 

Every day in Mrs. Henderson’s class, each student receives a slip of paper with words and phrases centered around the Seven Commitments in our trauma-informed care model. “Some of the paper slips say, ‘integrity’, ‘acceptance’, ‘kindness’ on them. We use this as a way to enhance our vocabulary while setting our expectations for the day.” Mrs. Henderson and others in school will point out when a student has acted positively. She’ll often point out when one of her students shows integrity, acceptance or kindness throughout the day.

Now, Duran is able to stay calmly in the classroom. He’s sitting down, and his reading skills have continued to get better with each passing week. “Duran is teachable. He’s grown academically and socially the past year. The word ‘integrity’. He remembers it. He knows what it means.

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