Lee University’s Dr. Heather Lewis Quagliana was invited to train local school administrators on psychological reentry for teachers, staff, and students as they return to school in the fall. The training looked at trauma informed approaches to COVID-19 and was a joint project with Dr. Linda Cash, Bradley County Schools superintendent.
The training aimed to explain how the psychological imprint of a humanitarian disaster such as COVID-19 outlasts most other impacts from such trauma. It allowed the administrators to focus on the importance of emotional and mental well-being in the adjustment back to school by offering ways to improve both their own mental health and that of their students.
“I have been so impressed by Dr. Cash’s intentionality in addressing the emotional and psychological needs of her administrators, teachers, staff, students, and parents during COVID-19,” said Dr. Quagliana, professor of psychology at Lee. “Over the years, I have worked with Dr. Cash and Bradley County Schools, and her proactive approach to the emotional needs of her students is a hallmark of her leadership. I am honored to work alongside leaders in my community to help aid in best practices of trauma informed care in the reopening of schools.”
Dr. Quagliana’s training, “Psychological Reentry to Schools: A Trauma Informed Approach to COVID-19,” concentrated on four key points: supporting self-care for administrators and faculty, school-wide socioemotional focus, resilience programming, and shared investment in student mental health.
“Dr. Quagliana addressed administrator burnout and self-care to start off the day,” said Brittany Cannon, Bradley County Schools community and communications coordinator. “This was perfect timing because our administrators have worked nonstop and have been forced to make major decisions throughout this unprecedented time.”
Due to COVID-19, schools were forced to shut down in March, bringing an abrupt end to the traditional school year for all students and educators.
“Children are able to learn best when they are emotionally regulated, and the aim of trauma informed approaches is to connect the educational with the psychological to best serve children and families,” said Dr. Quagliana.
Dr. Quagliana joined Lee’s faculty in 2008. She earned her doctorate and master’s degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and her bachelor’s degree from Lee. Her clinical work and research focuses on children and families. Her specializations include childhood trauma, ADHD, international trauma consultation, and expressive therapies.