Trauma Aware Schools

Trauma Aware Schools

A Paradigm Shift: From Compliance to Connection

Trauma Aware Schools
Mathew Portell

Students who carry a high level of stress due to traumatic life experiences usually present with increased cognitive, emotional, and behavioural challenges. These students are often managed with compliance focused plans that can unwittingly reactivate their developing stress response systems, resulting in even higher levels of behavioural management and unsettled classrooms.

Success for these students requires a paradigm shift, moving the focus from ‘compliance’ to ‘connection’, creating a space where they can feel safe, supported, and nurtured – resulting in improved behaviour and greater possibility of academic success.

Mathew Portell is the former principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary, Nashville and through his innovative practices and leadership, Fall-Hamilton Elementary has transformed to be an internationally recognised innovative model school for trauma-informed practices. This seminar will draw on his experiences, exploring the reasons why students who have experienced trauma behave the way they do and offer a practical road-map for developing a culture of connection in classrooms and schools. 

Some of the key information Mathew will discuss includes:

  • Current research about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the neurological, physiological, and emotional impacts of stres and trauma on students’ daily lives.
  • The fundamental difference between compliance-focused and connection-driven and why the shift from compliance to connection is vital in creating a trauma aware classroom.
  • Practical strategies and approaches that can be implemented as part of everyday work to assist in shifting to a connection-based approach.
  • The importance of a Multi-Tiered System of Support. Understanding each tier of the model by providing examples of real interventions that work.
  • The importance of educator/professional self-care through understanding the effects of vicarious self-trauma, while presenting strategies to support staff.

Participants will leave with a thorough understanding of the impacts of stress and trauma, while also building their toolboxes with strategies that can be implemented immediately in any setting.

Mathew Portell holds a B.S. in elementary education and an M.Ed in curriculum from Tennessee State University. He is the Director of Communities at PACE Connections, Nashville and the creator of The Trauma Informed Educators Network. This network serves as a source for connection and collaboration around trauma-informed work. Mathew uses an engaging style of presentation filled with stories, research, and motivation. This seminar is a must for all educators, school administrators & others helping professionals who work in or with schools.



165 Racecourse Road, Sockburn, Christchurch

Free Parking

Date: Thursday 8th September 2022
Time: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Venue: Riccarton Park Function Centre
Address: 165 Racecourse Road, Sockburn, Christchurch
Lunch & Tea Break Catering
Workshop Notes Provided
Certificate Provided
Bookshop at Seminar
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $265.00 incl GST
  • Ex Tax: $230.43