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2022 Keeping Kids Safe Symposium Focuses on Community Care

Mr. Joshua MacNeill presenting at the 2022 BCIU Keeping Kids Safe Symposium

Mr. Joshua MacNeill, Director of NeuroLogic® by Lakeside, was the speaker for the 2022 Keeping Kids Safe Symposium: Community Care at the Berks County Intermediate Unit Main Office on Wednesday, October 12. Over 80 educators and community partners were in attendance for two targeted sessions titled, Supporting Yourself and Your Staff and Creating Supportive Environments for Students.

“The two sessions provided educators with increased understanding of the impact stress and trauma have on the brain and how it may influence how we interact in the educational environment,” shared Dr. Michelle Reichard-Huff, Director of the Office of Early Childhood and Student Services. “The symposium allowed for reflection on trauma-informed practices and provided practical tools and strategies to develop supportive learning environments. We thank Mr. MacNeill for sharing his expertise in community care and trauma-informed practices as we continue to enhance supports for mental health and emotional well-being for our learners in Berks County!”

NeuroLogic® is a program focused on transforming schools to become more trauma-informed and neurodevelopmentally supportive environments for all learners. Mr. MacNeill shared regulation strategies for adults to assist in putting time and thought between a feeling and a reaction. Mr. MacNeill reminded participants that students will mirror an adult’s level of calm.

When supporting students, it is important for adults to realize that when past or present trauma and / or neglect is experienced, children will have an over-reactive stress response, less ability to control impulses, and gaps of underdevelopment. Brain Breaks, activities to either energize or calm students, are significant ways to help students focus more on learning or will help to reduce stress and anxiety. Participants received practical approaches that can be put in place to create an environment where students feel safe, supported, and ready to thrive.

“Mr. MacNeill’s content and practical applications shared are extremely helpful in understanding the actions of the adults and children we work with regularly. Having an understanding of the individual’s primary operating level of the brain allows us to be strategic and empathetic in supporting all individuals through different situations,” shared Dr. Daniel Richards, Director of the Office of Professional Learning.

The 2022 Keeping Kids Safe Symposium was held in partnership with the Berks County District Attorney’s Office and the Berks County Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Program.

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