This article features an adult-focused trauma informed approach that is an integral part of Bank Street’s Emotionally Responsive Practice work in schools. The authors share stories of parallel process work with teachers and administrators in various school settings, giving the reader insight into an approach that supports integration of the teacher’s past and present, and promotes empathy for the children they once were, as well as the children who fill their classrooms. The work is situated within the context of the high prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences that impact our communities of both children and adults, and leave them vulnerable to traumatic reactions during the school day.

Author Biography

Lesley Koplow

Lesley Koplow M.S., L.C.S.W, is the Director of the Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street College. The Center collaborates with early childhood programs and elementary schools to support the social and emotional well being of children, parents and teachers in the school setting. Ms. Koplow is the author of several books on child mental health in schools, including; Unsmiling Faces: How Preschool can Heal, Creating Schools That Heal: Real Life Solutions, Bears, Bear Everywhere: Supporting Children’s Emotional Health in the Classroom and Politics Aside: Our Children and Their Teachers in Score-Driven Times. She was the winner of the 2013 New York Zero-To-Three Emily Fenichel Award for Educational leadership, and the Thomases Award for Leadership from Bank Street College in 2018.

Noelle Dean

Noelle Dean has been a social worker in New York City for over 20 years with more than half of those years working at Bank Street College. At Bank Street she is the “feelings teacher” in the School for Children’s lower school, an adjunct in the Graduate School, and a part of the Emotionally Responsive Practice (ERP) team. She is passionate about social justice issues and believes that emotional wellbeing is a human right.

Margaret Blachly

Margaret Blachly, GSE ’05, is a psycho-educational specialist at the Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street College. She is also an advisor and instructor in the Early Childhood Special Education and Bilingual Programs at the Bank Street Graduate School of Education. Margaret spent 11 years teaching pre-K and kindergarten in dual language and inclusion settings. She is a Learning Specialist at The Children’s Learning Center of Morningside Heights in New York City and is a graduate of Bank Street’s Early Childhood Bilingual General and Special Education Program.



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