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Healing Centered Engagement




Arts Ed Newark has brought Trauma-Informed Care and Healing-Centered Practices to the City's Arts Educators and Community Leaders since January 2020.

While ensuring delivery of high-quality rigorous arts learning in safe, student-centered spaces, our professional development with youth practitioners focuses on important elements of trauma-informed learning environments such as:

  • creating spaces where students feel culturally, emotionally, and physically safe;

  • building trust;

  • giving students choice and control over participation;

  • creating shared power and relationships through collaboration;

  • empowering youth by building on their strengths; and

  • building cultural humility and responsiveness



Our Professional Development models quality training, positive and effective learning communities, and systemic and organizational collaboration to better serve our students and the broader Newark community.

This work is the culmination of four+ years of partnering, learning, and planning with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), NJ Office of Resilience, Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and Foundation for Educational Administration (NJPSA/FEA), Save the Music Foundation, and the Newark Board of Education.

This is one of the only models for this type of work that is federally supported (via the NEA).

Through our 3-part series, participants gain insight into:


What is the impact of the arts on this work for various audiences and constituents?


Through training, have particpants developed an understanding of what trauma is and how it impacts a young person?


Are high-quality arts experiences a powerful tool for trauma-impacted youth?


How have they implemented trauma-informed practices?


Does the learning team model support the development of trauma-informed arts spaces?


How can they build resilience and prevent retraumatization?

Additionally, we further collaborate to build a cohort of participants who have already gone through our initial training to develop a Professional Learning Community and engage in 5 sessions to allow deepening of their practice, provide space for reflection, deeper and expanded trauma understanding, further interaction with facilitators and their expertise, and guided implementation support.

As the 2022-2023 school year began, AEN initiated efforts to explore the ways that arts-based trauma-informed/ healing-centered engagement can best be implemented as a whole-school model. Building upon the success of the training series, AEN is partnering with the Lincoln School, a PreK- 8th-grade school of approximately 400 students in Newark’s west ward. The school’s faculty has participated in monthly healing centered engagement trainings with our staff and teaching artist facilitators.


We are excited to finalize a school-wide healing centered action plan at the end of the school year.

Arts Ed Newark presents a special opportunity to introduce collaborative, healing-centered/trauma-informed arts education work to the school, strengthen the arts programming, and develop partnerships among students, faculty, staff, and the greater community.




The burden of trauma in Newark youth is very high, largely unaddressed, and bears deep consequences. We seek to provide adults working in youth-led spaces the proven and adaptable tools of arts education to create more trauma-informed and healing-centered spaces.

Attention for this work grows and we have expanded the network to: APLI, NJPAC, Miami Garden, Passaic and Paterson school districts, revealing the critical need for programs like ours.

At the end of SY21, we have trained 300+ educators and community members.

Feedback is strong:


"I've learned the importance of the healing process as a community. I will definitely use my music classes as a place where students can start the process."

- Miyuki Takahashi-Rivera, Music Teacher, JFK School



100% of survey respondents felt that as a result of the workshop series they gained more tools and/or strategies to work with trauma-impacted youth.



93% of survey respondents felt that they have a better understanding of how trauma impacts the brain, the body, and the community."



"This training helped me have a better understanding about how trauma affects us all, and it gave me some tools to start addressing trauma in my arts classroom. I started applying the idea of a 'safety plan' with my students. We are living in difficult times, and have them/us come up with a safety plan has been very helpful to me and my students."

- Claudia Escalante, Music Teacher,
Ann Street School


Enter email info here to receive immediate access to our 5 year Report on Healing Centered Learning for instant access our 5 year anniversary book!

Click here to download our 5 year anniversary book

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As educators, we want our students to be happy, healthy, and prepared to reach their highest potential. These aspirations are most often possible when children are in save environments (physical, social, and psychological), especially given the added impact of COVID-19.

For two years, AEN has developed creative approaches to respond to our youth's ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and understands that arts education can offer both safe spaces/outlets and unique teaching methods.

The Newark Trust for Education and Safe and Supporting Learning Environment Summit 2021 (SSLE) was focused on healing-centered practices in schools to help students and families build resilience.

This video was part of a session on the Arts Ed Newark Trauma Informed Care Initiative promoting arts education and healing-centered practices.

Arts Ed Newark presents a special opportunity!

  • Introduce collaborative, healing-centered/ trauma-informed arts education work to your school

  • Strengthen your arts programming

  • Develop partnerships among students, faculty, staff, and the greater community

Please note: Recipient schools will receive various levels of support over a period of two - three years pending grant funding. 

Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to be notified of the next RFP!

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