Mission and Goals
The mission of Hope Academy of Northwest Arkansas is to provide students with a safe, positive, trauma-informed academic environment that will nurture their love for learning and confidence in life.
What is Trauma?
At Hope Academy, trauma is defined as “detrimental events that have occurred in a child’s life that significantly impact the child’s ability to cognitively and behaviorally function in a classroom setting.”
Trauma in the life of a young child can manifest itself in a number of ways. At Hope Academy, our definition of trauma will include the following:
- Physical, sexual, or emotional child abuse
- Physical, emotional, or educational neglect
- Time in foster care
- Witness to domestic violence
- Experience living in a chronically chaotic environment in which housing and/or financial resources are not consistently available
- Experience living with household dysfunction (mental illness, substance abuse, incarcerated relatives, absent parent)
What Does Trauma Look Like in School?
Students experiencing trauma often display specific characteristics. These characteristics can be separated into three main categories: emotion and behavioral self-regulation, social skills, and cognitive functioning. All of these characteristics impact educational outcomes.
Importantly, many students are resilient and respond adaptively to adverse experiences in their lives. Other students may experience severe distress yet demonstrate no overt changes in behavior or disruption to the classroom. In many cases, responses to trauma may look a lot like disobedience, lack of motivation, or other disabilities.
Some “common” reactions to trauma are below. Further reading on the NEA website here.
(may look like a learning disability, ADHD, or an emotional disability)
- Difficulty processing instructions
- Decreased attention, memory, and focus
- Reduced executive functioning
- Difficulty solving problems
- Difficulty understanding consequences of actions
- De-emphasis on skills/tasks that are not directly relevant to survival
(may look like emotional disability or ADHD)
- Heightened vigilance; Inaccurate perception of danger
- Rapid response to perceived threats (e.g., may jump or raise fists from pat on the back)
- Self-protective behaviors (i.e., aggression or withdrawal)
- Social withdrawal, difficulty making friends, untrusting, involvement in bullying
- Easily frustrated, quick to give up, unwilling to try new things, difficulty setting and working toward goals
- Inconsistent moods, easily overwhelmed or upset, hopelessness, confusion, rigidity, perfectionism