Your Impact: How One Teacher Created a Trauma-Informed Classroom



This summer, Mikayla Shuford learned about how to create a trauma-informed classroom.

 As part of the JPEF Teacher Leadership Initiative, she learned about the latest neuroscience of trauma and how simple changes in the classroom can make a big difference for students who have experienced trauma in their lives. Ms. Shuford teaches at Biscayne Elementary School on Jacksonville’s Northside.

 According to JPEF research, more than one in four high school students in Duval County has been exposed to a high level of trauma in childhood – and that was the case before the pandemic. In the classroom, trauma responses often appear like misbehavior, and teachers who respond with a punitive approach may inadvertently work against their students’ need for a feeling of safety. Instead, trauma-informed care helps prevent misbehavior by ensuring students have food, water, and movement.

 This fall, Ms. Shuford was one of 87 teachers at 41 schools who received a classroom grant to purchase trauma-informed tools for her classroom from the Community First Cares Foundation and the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. Through a major matching grant initiative, the partnership provided $50,000 to Duval teachers for classroom projects as they started the 2021-2022 school year. Ms. Shuford received sensory toys like fidget spinners, flexible seating to keep her kids engaged during instruction, and talking pieces to help them learn to take turns when speaking.

 “Creating a trauma-informed classroom is so important right now,” Ms. Shuford said. “I know that with your donations towards my project will allow my students to really reach their full potential despite the traumas that face. Again, thank you again for all the donations towards this wonderful cause here at the Stellar Choice, Biscayne Elementary!”

 “This partnership continues on a long tradition of collaboration between JPEF and Community First to support Duval County educators, and we could not be prouder to support teachers as they head back to school,” said JPEF President Rachael Tutwiler Fortune. “We are so grateful for the vision and generosity of the Community First Cares Foundation.”

 ”As an organization founded by educators, we are proud to support teachers in our community achieve more in the classroom than traditional funding provides,” said Missy Peters, executive director of the Community First Cares Foundation, the charitable giving arm of the Community First Credit Union. “This program is even more critical now as our students recover from the pandemic.”




of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.