Erica Giron is the Student Service Coordinator at Battle Creek Public Schools. This is a new position, and Erica is the first person to take on this role in the school system. In collaboration with school staff, community organizations, health providers and district administration support, Erica has helped put a trauma-informed behavioral program in place for students.
Before she became the Student Service Coordinator, Erica served as a teacher and case manager and is a Certified Trauma Practitioner.
Meeting Students’ Needs
In her position, Erica works with students and their families to remove barriers. She also connects students with mental and behavioral health services. She serves as a liaison between school staff and health providers and works closely with other organizations to secure resources for students and families. Using her knowledge of being a Certified Trauma Practitioner, she trains teachers and support staff on trauma-informed care for students. This training has helped bring social and emotional learning to the forefront and put trauma-informed strategies in place when it comes to students’ needs.
Through this work, Battle Creek Public Schools has been able to provide children with mentors, equip staff with the tools and knowledge they need to address behavioral issues in the classroom, and create a restorative process for students to reenter the school environment after suspension. Overall, the program has helped staff better support students with a more holistic approach.
Keeping the Momentum Going
Erica and the school staff are working hard to build upon this work and sustain the program and services. She continues to train staff and teachers on how trauma affects the brain, how that may be expressed in the classroom and how to know the signs of when a student may need help.
Erica hopes the work she is doing is helping to remove the stigma around mental health. She encourages people to ask for help when they need it. “It’s okay to not be okay sometimes and we have a community with resources to help,” Erica said.
She believes this work is really a step forward in lifting each other up. Although the school system struggles with a shortage of teachers, social workers and mentors, Erica says everyone currently involved does whatever they can to make sure every student gets the help they need. “You can tell their hearts are in it. Seeing everyone come together is very inspiring…the need is extremely high, and it really does take a village,” Erica said.
The Best Part
Relationship building is a priority in this position. Erica says connecting with the kids is the most important task when it comes to helping them through a difficult time. “The best part of my job is seeing students and families getting little glimpses of hope and feeling supported by their community and school,” Erica said.
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