Key Coverage

One School’s Approach to Bad Behavior and Trauma

In education, initiatives tend to roll down from above. A district buys a new curriculum, or gets funding for a new program, and principals receive their marching orders, which they in turn hand down to teachers below.

That’s not the case at Ohio Avenue Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio. The 19th-century corniced brick building is perhaps an unlikely home for experimental methods of nurturing children’s developing brains. The surrounding streets are lined with abandoned buildings, pawn shops, cash-advance outlets, and dollar stores. A large house with a boarded-up door sits directly across from the school’s playground. In Ohio Avenue’s zip code, half of the families with children under 18 live in poverty, as compared with 25 percent across Columbus and 17 percent nationally, according to census data.