Trauma-Informed Education Program in Long Beach Unified School District Expands, Sees Impactful Results

Posted Oct 31, 2018

It’s About T.I.M.E. completes two-year program with Beach High School, collaborates with Addams Elementary and Educare staff, and continues at Poly Academy of Achievers and Leaders High School

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Oct. 31, 2018 – The Guidance Center’s Trauma-Informed Movement in Education pilot program, It’s About T.I.M.E., is gaining momentum in its third year partnering with Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD).

At the start of the 2018-19 academic year, It’s About T.I.M.E. began two additional school collaborations, Jane Addams Elementary and Educare of Los Angeles at Long Beach, marking the program’s first elementary and early childhood development partners, and saw impactful results with existing partner schools, Beach and Poly Academy of Achievers and Leaders (PAAL) High Schools from the previous year.

“As It’s About T.I.M.E. has grown over the past two years, it has been inspiring to see how partnering with influential community members like educators with the sole purpose of creating healing environments for all can be life-changing for everyone involved, even spreading beyond the classroom into our communities,” said Nathan Swaringen, LCSW, Guidance Center clinical therapist and It’s About T.I.M.E. developer and lead. “Now in our third year, we’re thrilled to be partnering with two early childhood learning environments as early intervention and prevention is so critical to healing trauma.”


Launched at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year in partnership with LBUSD and Beach High School, It’s About T.I.M.E. is a training program on the trauma-informed approach based on ChildTrauma Academy’s Neurosequential Model in Education (NME). The program builds on the foundation created by established support systems within LBUSD schools, and brings the trauma-informed approach to educators through formal training at the beginning of the school year and onsite support throughout the year.

The trauma-informed approach involves the understanding that many children have endured ongoing, significant life stressors and traumatic experiences, and that trauma can inhibit students’ ability to succeed in the traditional classroom environment. The goal of the program is to support staff in seeing students and their challenging behaviors through a different or “trauma-informed” lens that promotes healthy bonds, which are scientifically proven to help students’ brains heal and develop academically. It’s About T.I.M.E. is designed to be a two year training model, developing sustainability in the form of a lasting culture shift and trauma-informed lens once the consultant has moved on to another school.

During the program’s two years at Beach, It’s About T.I.M.E. collaborated successfully with Beach High School’s compassionate and motivated staff and its network of student support systems, like Safe and Civil, CCEJ's Restorative Justice, BLAST, Scale High mentors and the Male Academy, among others. During that time, suspensions at Beach saw an overall decrease of approximately 53 percent, while overall attendance increased by approximately 4 percent. In the districtwide CORE survey data collected from student responses, Beach scored in the ninety-ninth percentile on Safety and Climate of Support for Academic Learning. Beach’s Growth-Mindset score increased by 16 percentage points and the school’s Self-Efficacy score increased by 12 percentage points from the previous year.

It’s About T.I.M.E. has also seen impactful results in its first year partnering with PAAL. During the 2017-2018 academic year, suspensions decreased by 64 percent and overall attendance increased by 1 percent, with chronic absenteeism in Special Education decreasing by 45 percent compared with the prior school year. The districtwide CORE survey taken by PAAL students also underscored a positive change in the environment at PAAL citing a 7 percent increase of students who feel that PAAL has a Climate of Support for Academic Learning compared with the previous year. Swaringen will continue providing onsite support to PAAL in addition to new partner schools, Addams Elementary and Educare of Los Angeles at Long Beach.

"Nathan has done some legacy type of work here in our PAAL Community,” said Lloyd Wilson, dean of students at PAAL High School. “The work that he has impressed on the adults and students here will be passed along for years to come." 

Following the same training model, Swaringen trained Jane Addams Elementary School in the trauma-informed approach prior to the start of the current school year, with 48 staff members attending the training. Swaringen, along with two pre-doctoral interns, Marie Gillespie and Courtney Gallagher, will continue to support and serve as collaborators, consultants, models and instructors to Addams staff throughout the year and the 2019-20 academic year.

“It About T.I.M.E. has proven thus far to be an amazing approach in supporting our student population,” said Armando Dueñas, principal at Addams.  “The teaching, recreation, and administrative staff have been eager and willing to implement strategies and suggestions provided by the Nathan, Marie, and Courtney. Most importantly, there has been a shift and an awareness of how students and adults regulate, relate, and reason in an effort to best support students and adults alike. We look forward to the continued collaboration and consultation that will surely impact our learning community for many years to come.”

This summer, Swaringen, along with Guidance Center clinical therapist and It’s About T.I.M.E. staff member Priscilla Gomez, MSW and pre-doctoral intern Erin Yip trained Educare of Los Angeles at Long Beach staff in the trauma-informed approach. In addition to providing onsite support as a trauma-informed collaborator and consultant, Gomez will provide direct mental health services to the children and families attending this school.

Educare is a national early education public-private partnership between organizations committed to ensuring all children receive high-quality care and education from the moment they are born to the day they enter kindergarten. Previously housed on the campus of Clara Barton Elementary School in north Long Beach, Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach recently moved into its own building adjacent to Barton and serves 191 families and children, ages 0 to 5.  It’s About T.I.M.E. complements Educare’s already established student support systems, like its dedicated Family Support staff, and teaching models, such as Conscious Discipline and Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) trainings, which is focused on promoting social emotional development and school readiness of young children birth to age 5.

“On a daily basis, Educare teachers and staff champion for their student’s education and social emotional growth,” said Maria Harris, principal of Educare of Los Angeles at Long Beach. “We are excited to partner with The Guidance Center to provide mental health services to our community and help build capacity with our staff through It’s About T.I.M.E. The work that is happening at Educare is amazing, and it is an investment in our future.”

The Guidance Center is a major community mental health provider offering comprehensive treatment to disadvantaged children and their families. Through The Guidance Center’s School Based Program, therapists, like Swaringen, work onsite at 24 schools within LBUSD and 36 schools in nearby districts through The Guidance Center’s San Pedro and Compton Clinics.


About The Guidance Center

Established in 1946, The Guidance Center provides comprehensive mental health treatment to more than 3,000 children and families in the communities of Long Beach, Lynwood, Compton, Paramount, San Pedro and Avalon annually. The Guidance Center offers individual, group and family therapy, crisis intervention, case management, community education and outreach, and intensive mental health treatment. Headquartered in Long Beach, The Guidance Center also has clinics in Compton and San Pedro. For more information on The Guidance Center, please visit