As he toured the schools most damaged by Sunday night’s storm, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa saw families walking their neighborhood in shock.
“Something like this can have a traumatic impact on families,” he noted in Monday afternoon’s press conference.
To help students and families at schools most impacted by the storm, Dallas ISD counselors are ready to assist however needed. All district counselors are thoroughly informed on trauma-informed care, with trainings happening as recently as this month.
We spoke with Keshunia Johnson, a Dallas ISD Social and Emotional Learning counselor, to learn more about how the district counselors are able to assist students dealing with the potential trauma caused by the storm.
What can counselors do to help our students?
Through trauma-informed care, our counselors stress being empathetic, understanding and prepared. So when we are receiving students back to their campus or to a new campus, we will create a very welcoming environment.
Each campus will have opening meetings. Through opening meetings, we will check in with students to see how they are feeling and make sure they are able to openly and freely understand communicate and understand they are supported. And though this is an unfortunate and tragic situation, everyone here in Dallas ISD wants them to be very successful and know that we care.
Can you tell us a little more about opening meetings?
Each school starts the day now with opening meetings. Even if it’s just a brief moment where there are no academics involved in the classroom, we want to create a space where students can discuss how they are feeling and express any concerns they have. We want our students to be able to identify and discuss their emotions.
What should parents know about helping their children deal with stressful or a potentially traumatic incident?
Parents should have an open dialogue with their students and let them say exactly how they feel. And parents should know that a student’s feelings might change. This week, they might be totally fine. But next week, their emotions might change and they have some issues to work through.
Any parents who notice something might be wrong with their student, please reach out to the campus, counselor or community liaison. We are here to help however we can.