Sonoma County Office of Education

SCOE Hosts Training on Child Trauma for School Counselors

08/08/2018 -

SCOE psychologist Mary Champion works with another participant at the CBITS training.Sonoma County school and community counselors and psychologists are heading into the coming school year armed with additional tools to help students still suffering emotional trauma from last fall's wildfires, thanks to a two-day training hosted at the The Sonoma County Office of Education and funded by The Medtronic Foundation.

About 60 psychologists and counselors from schools around Sonoma County as well as partnering community organizations attended the two-day training in Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) on Aug. 6 and 7. CBITS is a school­-based, group and individual intervention designed to reduce symptoms of post­-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and behavioral problems, and to improve functioning, grades and attendance, peer and parent support, and coping skills. Experts from the University of Southern California provided the training.

“We know that students and staff are still struggling daily with the emotional scars left by the devastating firestorm,” County Superintendent Steve Herrington said. Around 1,450 public school students lost their homes in the fires that swept Sonoma County in October 2018. “School mental health staff have a more important role than ever to play in ensuring the emotional wellbeing of our school communities. Based on recommendations from Dr. David Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at USC, we believe this training is a key step to foster resilience in our schools and students.”

Specifically, participants learned to screen students for trauma symptoms impeding progress in school and learn about a 10­-week program to address these issues. The goal was to provide schools a system of support for students who are continuing to have trauma symptoms related to the wildfires or other significant crises. Participants attended at no cost and received a stipend thanks to contributions from The Medtronic Foundation. The foundation's generous donation will also support a refresher training in December.