M.A.Ed. Trauma and Resilience Program, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN

Student Spotlight: Cherry Price, M.A.Ed. Trauma and Resilience Program

Currently enrolled in the M.A.Ed. Trauma and Resilience Program, we asked student Cherry Price to tell us about her experience thus far pursuing her graduate education degree at Concordia University St. Paul.

Why did you want to work in education? What inspired you?

In my 25 years of working with marginalized and disadvantaged school populations, I always suspected that complex family and community problems hurt my students. However, the over 1000 hours of online training I had taken on trauma-informed care, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and developing resiliency in children before enrolling in Concordia University, St. Paul (CSP), convinced me that childhood trauma is an education and public health emergency that urgently needs to be addressed.

I know this because, before the pandemic, our student communities were dealing with a host of crippling obstacles to their well-being such as:

  • Racism
  • Inequity issues
  • Poverty
  • Food insecurity
  • Insufficient wages
  • Unemployment
  • Incarceration
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Immigration issues

What prompted you to pursue a graduate degree?

I chose to pursue a graduate degree in Trauma and Resilience in Educational Settings because the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed how I view my work with children. When my school system closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, I was required to take several online trainings per day while working from home.

The first training I took was on ACEs. That training gave me an “aha!” moment, sparked an earnest desire to learn more, and set me on a journey that led me to CSP’s online program(s).

Why did you choose Concordia University, St. Paul for your Trauma and Resilience degree?

I chose CSP for my Trauma and Resilience degree because based on all the reasons I mentioned in my blog for why I wanted to pursue the degree, when I researched programs, CSP’s description was the most appealing and seemed to harmonize most with my beliefs and goals, namely:

“… one in four school-age students has been traumatized to the degree that adversely affects academic achievement. Traumatized youth are in classrooms every day. This program engages professionals to proactively access, reflect and respond to student needs through a trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive lens. Educators learn to think from a perspective of what student behavior may be telling them and respond with strategies, support systems and resources to positively impact student success in their classrooms, organizations, and agencies.”

What skills and/or knowledge do you hope to gain by the end of your program? What career goal are you hoping to accomplish?

Earning my degree in Trauma and Resilience in Educational Settings will give me the knowledge, skills, and credibility to effect groundbreaking change in my school system.

Ideally, I would like to work on these issues in my school system by advocating for and developing a specific program to create trauma-responsive schools that focus on supporting students and staff. At this time, it appears the interest in this is not a priority.

Therefore, I would be willing to pursue my goals in any educational setting that values the benefits of implementing trauma-informed practices. Being involved in such an exciting project would fulfill my desire to use my years of teaching and working with children to help them cope with and recover from trauma to alter the trajectory of their lives from negative emotional, mental, and physical outcomes to healthy, productive, and positive contributions to society.

How will those skills help you with the current climate of education?

The pandemic, with its school closures, lockdowns, quarantines, and business closures, in addition to social isolation and its impact on our children and their families, substantially magnified these issues.

Most recently, the explosion of school and community shootings across our country has increased the stress and anxiety felt by our communities. Therefore, more than ever before, all schools must adopt trauma-informed approaches, policies, and practices that will support children and families in crisis and facilitate healing.