National speaker trains Waco ISD principals in neurodevelopment


WACO, Texas – Children experiencing trauma will now have trained leaders in their schools. Waco Independent School District leaders spent the day learning some key principles of neurodevelopment.

Steve Graner is the Project Director for Neurosequential Network, and says he has been equipping leaders with tools to better understand students who deal with trauma for close to ten years.

“One of the key takeaways that I want to share with my staff is the three R’s – Regulate, Relate and to Reason,” says Parkdale Elementary Principal Lena Ortiz.

These were just a few things Waco ISD principals learned Monday as they participated in a neurodevelopment session.

“One thing we’ve learned about regulating students is that a dysregulated teacher can not possibly regulate a dysregulated student,” Graner said. “It’s biologically impossible.”

The session was divided into two parts – morning for elementary leaders and afternoon for secondary leaders.

Waco ISD principals learned how to apply key elements in the classroom for management and curriculum development. Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Support Dr. Rachelle Warren says she will take what she learned and apply it towards this upcoming year.

“Whenever we are talking about social and mental well-being, that in my experience has been particularly true. If we are taking care of the adults, then our students are going to be fine,” Dr. Warren said.

Graner says after a challenging year with the pandemic, the fundamentals he is teaching will enhance behavior and learning outcomes for students – creating a better community everyone can belong to. He says these development sessions help leaders learn the “why” and “how” of how things work and don’t work.

“I think what we hope everybody takes away is the value of their role in creating a therapeutic community,” Graner said.

For the next two days, Waco ISD will be implementing the key elements they have learned as they prepare for the upcoming school year.

“We’ve experienced a level of disrupt in our lives that make it all the more important to understand how the brain works,” Graner said.

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