Newsboys Foundation 125 Years 11 The education revolutionary Tom Brunzell brought two educational theories together to create a practical model that inspires teachers and students across Australia to reach their full potential When Tom Brunzell hits the stage to talk about the Berry Street Education Model, he has an amazing energy. It might be in his origins, which are Los Angeles with a smattering of professional experience from his time in the Bronx and Harlem in New York’s education system, but it’s mostly his passion. Tom has a message about the future of educating children who were previously regarded as too difficult to engage, and the world is starting to take notice. Berry Street, a leading charity, was founded in 1877. Tom arrived about a decade ago with some big ideas for the Berry Street School. At the time, education had two new theories. One was that suffering trauma might impact a child’s ability to learn. “Schools around Australia woke up to the idea that we could reframe student misbehaviour and see naughty kids as perhaps being trauma-affected, and… not just the destabilisation of an individual family, but trauma’s impact on systemic communities.” The second was about well-being in children and the need for resilience for good learning. Arriving in Melbourne, Tom discerned connections between the two theories. “The trauma experts were saying that vulnerable kids were traumatised and needed healing capacities, and strategies to build their self-regulation and their relationships. “Conversely, the researchers in well-being were looking at how to make healthy kids healthier and build well-being but they weren’t focussing on our most vulnerable kids, the trauma-affected ones, so my first publications and research integrated these two fields of practice.” It would be fair to say the combined theory, titled the Berry Street Education Model, founded on trauma-informed positive education, took off. It involves training teachers in how to best help challenged students under their care achieve great results, while addressing the student’s need for healing and growth, as well as academic achievements. Tom hoped to find seven Victorian schools to trial the model in its first year of implementation. He ended up with 20. Now only three years in, Tom says 400 schools in any given year and 4000 teachers are embracing the model. It is embedded in every Australian state and was due to debut in Hong Kong in late 2018.  Newsboys Foundation was the first to fund the work. Tom says Newsboys’ belief in the model and the funding has been vital. The first Newsboys funding provided proof of concept, allowing Tom to integrate the new theory into teaching maths to very disadvantaged kids. Extra Newsboys funding every year since has enabled the model to be developed, tested and implemented. Newsboys also encouraged other philanthropic funders to support the Berry Street Education Model and its rollout. The Berry Street Education Model helps teachers and young people to realise their full potential. The model provides a whole-of-school approach based on trauma- informed learning and the science of well-being. An evaluation by the University of Melbourne found that students in the Berry Street Education Model pilot program achieved more than two years academic growth in just one year following the implementation of the model. Berry Street is even moving beyond schools and into entire communities as a framework to rebuild and grow. Newsboys Foundation has supported Berry Street since 1976. Newsboys supported the Berry Street Education Model from the beginning in 2012. Newsboys supported the proof of concept work, development of the model and the pilot, and encouraged other philanthropic organisations to support the model. Newsboys also supports the teacher alumni network and currently supports an evaluation of the model from a student perspective. Visit: