• 111The Valley Day School is proud to be one of the few schools in the nation that have received certification in the Sanctuary Model of trauma-informed care.  The accreditation process lasted over three years.  During that time, VDS redesigned their internal systems to create an organization committed to implementing the best practices for supporting growth and change through trauma-informed care.  

    Overview  The Sanctuary Model is a trauma-informed method for creating or changing an organization’s culture. Sanctuary pulls from a number of different fields and philosophies to facilitate this cultural change. It takes what we know about human nature, how people heal from trauma, about the power of communities, and chaotic nature of change, and applies some essential tools and principles, as well as Seven Commitments to create a shared language. Every employee goes through intense training that introduces trauma theory and addresses ways in which adversity and chronic stress can influence behaviors in the clients we serve. Sanctuary also recognizes how the whole organization is at risk of being affected by the effects of trauma, adversity, and chronic stress.

    S.E.L.F Framework  The S.E.L.F Model provides such a framework in that it offers four categories for focus and intervention with both clients and families and the organization itself. It contains a simple and accessible language for all of the people working together towards change with comprehensive and universal categories.

    S (Safety) means being safe. We must replace self-harm with self-care. Safety is the foundation of healing, but we’ve learned that four domains are imperative to being safe:

          Physical Safety- feeling safe on the outside,

          Emotional Safety- feeling safe on the inside,

          Social Safety- feeling safe with others, and

          Moral Safety- feeling safe enough to do what’s right.

    E (Emotional Management) means recognizing and handling feelings in a non-harmful way, and trading in action for words.

    L (Loss) means acknowledging and grieving past losses or traumas and committing to working against getting stuck in the past while recognizing that all change involves loss.

    F (Future) means re-establishing the capacity for choice and engaging in new behaviors rather than repeating old patterns 

    The Seven Sanctuary Commitments11  There are seven core values that Sanctuary outlines as a way to lead individuals and organizations away from trauma reactive behaviors. These values are integrated into all interactions throughout the school.

    • Commitment to Nonviolence: building and modeling safety skills
    • Commitment to Emotional Intelligence: teaching and modeling affect management skills
    • Commitment to Inquiry & Social Learning: building and modeling cognitive skills
    • Commitment to Shared Governance: creating and modeling civic skills of self-control, self-discipline, and administration of healthy authority
    • Commitment to Open Communication: overcoming barriers to healthy communication reduce acting-out; enhance self-protective and self-correcting skills that teach healthy boundaries
    • Commitment to Social Responsibility: rebuilding social connection skills, establish healthy attachment relationships
    • Commitment to Growth and Change: restoring hope, meaning, purpose 

    Sanctuary Tool Kit  Sanctuary Tool Kit is a set of practical and straightforward interventions that reinforce the language and philosophical underpinnings of the Sanctuary Model. These tools, community meetings, safety plans, SELF-treatment planning conferencing, team meetings, self-care planning, SELF psycho-education are the daily practices for both staff and students that support an organization's creation of a trauma-informed culture.