Mary Ellenson has been named the new Student Success Coordinator at the Wadena-Deer Creek elementary school.

The student success coordinator’s job is educating students along with staff, families and surrounding community members about their role in preventing disruptive/negative behaviors and working towards being even more trauma-informed.

Ellenson, who used be in charge of the elementary music department, said she's excited about the new position.

"I'm used to working with students on controlling things like their breathing. Now we'll expand that to help regulate emotions and behaviors," Ellenson said.


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The SSC helps students learn how to regulate emotions and behaviors. Practicing skills and strategies taught in the classrooms, students will learn how to self-regulate to prevent “fires.”

The SSC will work with all WDC elementary students in a large group setting and will facilitate 1:1 and small group activities.

The SSC is not a “fire fighter” yet will tend to a “fire” if one breaks out nearby.


Trauma-informed staff learn how to make simple changes in class structure and interactions with students to have an even larger impact on those who are experiencing trauma.

The SSC will work closely with staff to develop a trauma-informed environment by:

  1. Co-teaching or facilitating a Social/Emotional lesson using MindUp, SecondStep and other curriculum. These lessons will be on a 5-day rotation. This is not a prep time for classroom teachers.
  2. Joining your classrooms during morning meetings. Visits can be scheduled or on a “pop-in” basis. Visits could rotate around student birthdays.
  3. Leading 1:1 and small groups. Most of these visits will be “push-in” similar to the title team. Students involved in these small groups will vary. The SSC will work hard to communicate which students are involved and when.
  4. Providing staff with materials to promote an even better trauma-informed environment.

Families and community members

The SSC will provide opportunities to families and community members for prevention education via email, newsletters, personal contact and special events.

“Let's make the most of our SSC and work together to make a difference for our kiddos and their families,” said WDC elementary principal Louis Rutten.