To illustrate her point, Brown referenced a student survey she conducted with a colleague. The survey asked 4,000 students in various grade levels across several districts and three states what they thought about school climate, school safety, student-teacher relationships and other variables.
“When we analyzed the data, the first item that jumped out on the student-teacher relationship response was ‘My school is a safe place,’” Brown said. “When we saw that, we were like, ‘What is this item doing under student-teacher relationship?’ It doesn’t belong there. We had it under school safety.”
But, the message the educators took from the responses was that students linked their sense of safety at school to the relationship they felt with their teachers. “Isn’t that powerful?” asked Brown.
Puglisi, who spent more than 40 years in education, nodded her head along with most everyone else. At Metropolitan Business Academy, a trauma-informed high school and a Quinnipiac School of Education partnership school, Puglisi saw firsthand the value of meeting the social, emotional and educational needs of students.