Cardinal McCloskey Community Charter School has designed a school model that addresses the needs of severely at-risk children. The key design elements include:
A trauma-informed Sanctuary approach to educational and supportive programming through the use of the Sanctuary Model, an evidenced based model that cultivates a trauma sensitive environment in which at-risk youth can maximize their potential to learn, heal and grow. Developed by Dr. Sandra Bloom over a period of more than 20 years, the Sanctuary Model is based on a deep understanding of trauma and how it affects individuals and provides a caring, safe and trauma-sensitive framework for addressing the issues that prevent or hinder student development and growth. The Sanctuary Model is designed to help organizations address the impacts of trauma, and Cardinal McCloskey Community Charter School will use this model to establish a safe, supportive and therapeutic environment for students and the staff who work with them. Children impacted by trauma typically have difficulty focusing in school and are more likely than other students to perform poorly on tests, exhibit unsafe and/or other negative behaviors and lack motivation to achieve. By addressing the impact of trauma on students and creating a trauma-sensitive school environment, families and other school stakeholders, Cardinal McCloskey Community Charter School will help each student build a strong social-emotional foundation that prepares him or her for academic growth. Sanctuary Model principles will be integrated into all aspects of the school’s program, including curriculum and instruction, classroom management, school-wide culture and discipline and professional development.
The Sanctuary Model recognizes behavioral patterns as learned responses to trauma that must be understood and addressed by dealing with deeper issues of fear, anger, stress, isolation and other manifestations of trauma. The charter school’s approach to instruction, school culture, student behavior management and other components of the school program is designed to create a safe and trauma-sensitive environment and will help students overcome the effects of trauma and will address the social-emotional and related barriers that can prevent them from engaging meaningfully in school.
Cardinal McCloskey Community Charter School’s approach to supporting students’ academic and social-emotional growth will reflect a “whole school” integration of the Sanctuary Model. Indeed, the charter school intends to meld Sanctuary into its programming in a way that is more comprehensive than any charter school or district in NYS, if not the nation. The Sanctuary Model will provide a language and structure throughout the school for consistently recognizing and appropriately addressing the trauma that children have experienced in their recent or longer personal histories. Integration of the Sanctuary Model will enable the school to establish and maintain a safe environment in which students can achieve positive behavioral change and growth. Through the use of Sanctuary Model practices such as “morning meeting” and SELF (Safety, Emotional Management, Loss and Future), the charter school will help each child to articulate his or her needs for safety as the basis for forming a relationship that is secure for them and one that champions learning. Cardinal McCloskey Community Charter School will train all school staff to understand and exercise these and other Sanctuary Model principles and practices in classrooms and throughout the school.
The Sanctuary Model will also provide a shared language and structure across the school for talking about the trauma that children have experienced in their recent or longer personal histories and for supporting them in overcoming the impact of such trauma. The charter school will help each child articulate his or her need for safety as the basis for forming a relationship that is secure for them and one that champions learning. The Sanctuary Model supports the creation of safe environments that promote positive behavioral change in children and their families. The charter school’s comprehensive approach to implementing the Sanctuary Model will support all members of the school community—including teachers and other staff members, parents and other caregivers and students—in exercising Sanctuary Model principles and practices in their work and their lives.