International Synergy and Dialogos
ISPA Networking Series Initiative

Dear ISPA colleagues,

I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well!

Following our ISPA position statement and a call to action to support school communities worldwide during the global pandemic, we continue our efforts for promoting children’s well-being and resilience.
Uniting our efforts to address current and emerging challenges at the local, national, and international level can help our communities grow and heal.

I am so excited to invite you to our first webinar of this year!

Title: “Social Justice and Trauma Informed Work during a Pandemic”
Date: Saturday, December.11th, 2021
Time:  11.00 AM -12.30 EST (6.00 PM -7.30 PM Athens, Greece time)

Presenters: Prof. Kris Varjas, Carrie Lorig, Ph.D Candidate and Aleksandra Krupina,PhD Candidate, Center for School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management, Georgia State University


Trauma-informed care (TIC) is a strengths-based framework that aims to  recognize and respond to the impacts of traumatic stress. This work emphasizes the physical, psychological, and emotional safety of students, teachers, caregivers and other educational professionals by infusing trauma awareness, knowledge, and skills into a school’s organizational culture, policies, and practices. Addressing and preventing trauma in youth populations encourages recognition of the particular and disproportionate ways trauma affects marginalized groups, especially in schools. We view trauma-informed work as a crucial partner in social justice. Social justice is defined as the elimination of systemic oppression and institutional barriers with the goal of ensuring equitable access to opportunities and resources for all. We will consider the intersections of trauma-informed work and the aims of social justice so schools might recognize trauma as both individual and systemic and make their trauma-informed frameworks inclusive of diverse experiences. We will address how to support students, teachers, school psychologists and professional development providers in mediating potential traumatic impact of the pandemic. We also will discuss ways in which a continued commitment to trauma-informed work is beneficial for schools and their partners for service delivery post-pandemic.

   Dr. Kristen Varjas is a Professor in School Psychology and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University. She also is the Director of the Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management. Dr. Varjas’ research efforts include school- and community-based projects investigating staff and teacher wellbeing, mental health, trauma-informed practices, creating safe and affirming classrooms, bullying, homophobic bullying, social emotional learning, school safety, and school climate. She has worked on collaborative interdisciplinary research efforts in China, India, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

  Carrie Lorig is an advanced doctoral student in School Psychology at Georgia State University. She is a graduate research assistant in The Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management, working on a federally funded project called The Network for Urban and Rural Teachers United for Residency Engagement (Project NURTURE). Her research interests include trauma and trauma-informed care, LGBTQ+ students, and international school psychology. She is a member of the National Association of School Psychologists LGBTIQ2-S Committee. She previously taught high school students in international settings and college undergraduates as an adjunct professor of creative writing and literature. As a psychological intern in Coweta County Schools, she conducts psychological evaluations, provides counseling support to students, consults with staff regrading academic and socio-emotional prevention and intervention, and has provided resources and professional development to teachers and psychologists regarding trauma and the use of trauma-informed strategies in the classroom.

  Aleksandra Krupina is a 3rd year doctoral student in the School Psychology Program at Georgia State University. Before joining the School Psychology Department, Krupina served children and families as a behavioral therapist at Marcus Autism Center, providing direct services and behavioral therapy as a part of a multi-disciplinary treatment team. Presently, she works as a graduate research assistant for Center for School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management and Project NURTURE. She also serves students of Gwinnet County School District in Georgia as a school psychology intern engaged in student support, evaluation, special education, intervention and consultation. Professional interests include trauma intervention and prevention, trauma informed care, youth suicide prevention and resilience.

I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Varjas, a long standing ISPA member and her team members, for providing this webinar and contributing to ISPA’s goals and mission.

Please join us in this webinar by completing the following preregistration form till December 9th, 2021:
Click here to register

The webinar will be free of charge for ISPA members and certificates of attendance will be send to participants.


Dr. Chryse (Sissy) Hatzichristou
ISPA President