Spotlight on International Visitor Leadership Program at Burke School
Burke School recently hosted 11 mental health and education professionals from Iraq through the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program with a focus on Psycho-social Rehabilitation in the Post Da’esh Era. The group included representatives from Iraqi universities, government and community agencies, psychiatrists, and psychologists who work with children who have been repeatedly traumatized by living in a country that has been at war for a significant amount of time.
Objectives for the trip were to examine the social and psychological effects on children who have lived through war, trauma, displacement, and reintegration; understand the chronic vs. acute signs and symptoms of people suffering from post-war trauma and risk factors involved in overcoming trauma; explore treatment and therapies including psychotherapy, exposure therapy, cognitive restructuring, meditation, relaxation, and art therapy (particularly theater); and participate in a volunteer project alongside Americans that involves working with traumatized children. Group members are interested in implementing therapeutic interventions into their community schools and also wanted to learn how our schools provide educational services for students with autism.
Principal Frank Tranfa, assistant principal Latif Abdulalim, art therapist Deni Brancheau, social worker Averlyn Mayers, and music therapist V.J. Hyde provided information about Burke School’s PBIS (positive behavioral interventions and supports) program and Responsive Instruction program. The Burke educators spoke about how they support behavior, the school’s social-emotional learning curriculum, its model for crisis intervention and group counseling, and then offered the visitors the opportunity to participate in experiential activities in art and music classrooms.
The Iraqi visitors happened to be at Burke School on the day it was observing Chalk for Peace, and the visitors participated in the event as part of the presentation.