Southwest helping students deal with trauma

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Clark Center offers training to help schools be informed

Many schools have started to recognize the effects of trauma on students, and the Southwest school district, through the Clark Center Mental Health, has begun taking a proactive approach to the issue.

Tosha Tilford, Southwest superintendent, said she sent some teachers, administrators and counselors to a training about the impact of childhood trauma on student achievement at school at the beginning of the school year.

“I then followed up with going to some training myself,” Tilford said. “The ones of us who were trained were led to feel that it would be beneficial for the entire staff to be trained on these effects on student academics.”

According to Tilford, all teachers, administrators and paraprofessionals will be involved in this training.

“Also, [it will teach] educators and support staff [how to] help students develop a greater sense of safety at school, and begin to build new emotional regulation skills,” Tilford said. “The school's main focus is always the students. If the students are successful, the school is successful.”

Holly Henderson, Clark Center Mental Health licensed professional counselor (LPC), detailed the training.

“Important aspects of Trauma Informed Care Training include: defining trauma, prevalence, effect of trauma on the developing brain and body and the potential for healing and power of resilience,” she said.

The staff went to a training at the Southwest Center for Educational Excellence, and Tilford went to hers at the Missouri Association of School Administrators Fall Conference.

“Holly Henderson, from the Clark Center, is going to be the trainer for the in-service here at Southwest,” Tilford said. “The training is titled, ‘Trauma Informed Care.’” 

Henderson said the Orientation to Trauma Informed Care training at Southwest School on Jan. 21 is a three-hour training only for the Southwest school staff.

“With the Trauma Informed School Initiative, we are working to create a fundamental change in an individual’s or society’s view of how trauma can affect all aspects of an individual and their environment,” Henderson said. “It is realizing that one of the most important things you can do for a traumatized child is provide a safe and caring relationship.”

While the Southwest training is only for district staff, Henderson said the Clark Center is scheduling dates for 2019.

“The free training is provided onsite and we offer one-hour or three-hour presentations,” she said.

For more information or to register for free training, e-mail Karla Smith at or call 417-476-1000 extension 328.

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