Eatontown, NJ – There were 60 Lasallian educators in attendance for the bi-annual Lasallian Association of Elementary and Middle Schools conference from Thursday, January 25, through Saturday, January 27. This formation is an opportunity for these San Miguel and other Middle School communities to come together for professional development and association.
Mr. David Wallace from LaSalle School in Albany, was the primary presenter on Friday. His topic was ACEs in Action: Trauma Informed Education. ACE’s stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences, a science that helps measure the positive and negative experiences young people go through during development that shape their behavior. Wallace, the Associate Executive Director for Program Development at LaSalle, has presented locally, nationally, and internationally, on the subject. Wallace helped Lasallians see how their students’ life experiences may cause them to have significant ACEs scores, how those ACEs can impact student behavior in the classroom, and provided new tools to Lasallians to be more effective in redirecting and educating their students.
“I was extremely fascinated by Mr. Wallace’s presentation,” said Frank Donodeo, Physical Education, Health, and Religion Teacher at The De La Salle School, in Freeport, NY. “I love the way he helped us work new techniques it into our curriculum. Mr. Wallace helped us understand how ACEs effects our students’ brain development, and, for me, how it plays out in my Physical Education classes. It’s a fascinating connection that I found extremely helpful.”
“His [Wallace] presentation was a great reinforcement of things I had learned previously,” said Elise Johnson-Griffin, Social Worker at La Salle Academy in Philadelphia, PA. “It really helped me recognize how some of the things we are doing to help students focus and succeed, can be more widely implemented throughout our school, blending the science and our Lasallian methods.”
Visitor, Br. Dennis Lee, FSC, offered a brief talk and thanks for our Lasallians’ good work. The Executive Director for the NativityMiguel Coalition, Mr. Daniel Perez was invited to speak about the national network, in which some of our San Miguel Schools belong. Our Mission and Ministry team were also on hand at the gathering. Maryann Donohue-Lynch gave some sneak-peeks on the upcoming 300th celebration and Year of Lasallian Vocations, and Educators new to the Lasallian family were given a brief overview of the larger Lasallian world in DENA and beyond by Alan Weyland.
Likely the most beneficial time for Lasallians gathered was the opportunity to network and share their techniques among position peers: Administrators, STEM Teachers, Graduate Support, Development, etc.
“It feels pretty good to know that we are doing many things that other ministries are doing to educate students,” said Johnson-Griffin. “I didn’t know the extent of how far Lasallian Education reached until this workshop. We have schools as far away as Australia, that’s so cool! As a new Lasallian, I appreciate that the more established Lasallians are helping break things down for me.”
“I always love the opportunity to be at this gathering,” said Donodeo. “I love sharing what we do in our school, but more importantly to be reminded that we are all in this Lasallian mission together.”