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Strategies and Resources to Create a Trauma-Sensitive School

Strategies and Resources

Resources Schools Can Use to Incorporate Trauma-Sensitive Practices

  • Calmer Classrooms: A Guide to Working with Traumatized Children
    Child Safety Commission, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Calmer Classrooms: A Guide to Working with Traumatized Children assists teachers and other educators in understanding and working with children and youth whose lives have been affected by trauma, particularly related to child maltreatment. It explains the effect of abuse on learning and attachment, providing teachers with strategies involving relationship-based practices for challenges and conflicts in the classroom, as well as self-care.

  • Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators
    National Child Traumatic Stress Network
    The Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators provides information for educators, parents and caretakers, including facts, suggestions, psychological and behavioral impact of trauma by grade level, and self-care.

  • Creating Sanctuary in the School
    Sandra Bloom
    Creating Sanctuary in Schools describes the basis for the process of providing a safe and healing environment for children in schools who need to recover from the effects of trauma, as well as for less traumatized children. Basic assumptions, values, goals and the process that must be shared by all members of the system are described.

  • Helping Traumatized Children Learn
    Trauma Learning and Policy Initiative
    Volume 1 – A Report and Policy Agenda summarizes the research from psychology and neurobiology that documents the impact trauma from exposure to violence can have on children’s learning, behavior and relationships in school. The report also introduces the Flexible Framework, a tool organized according to six core operational functions of schools that can help any school create a trauma-sensitive learning environment for all children.
    Volume 2 – Creating and Advocating for Trauma-Sensitive Schools offers a guide to a process for creating trauma-sensitive schools and a policy agenda to provide the support schools need to achieve this goal. Grounded in theory and practice in schools and with families, the guide is intended to be a living document that will grow and change as more schools become trauma-sensitive and add their ideas. The policy agenda calls for changes in laws, policies, and funding streams to support schools in this work. Together, the online learning community and the book are designed to complement each other, helping to build a growing and increasingly visible trauma-sensitive learning community.

  • Making SPACE for Learning: Trauma-Informed Practice in Schools
    Australian Childhood Foundation
    Making SPACE for Learning is a resource guide to assist schools to unlock the potential of traumatized children and young people to grow and develop at school. This publication 1) explains how trauma can impact child development and functioning, including learning; 2) promotes five principles for trauma-informed schools using the acronym SPACE (Staged, Predictable, Adaptive, Connected, and Enabled); and 3) lists many concrete, specific trauma-sensitive strategies schools can implement.

  • Supporting and Educating Traumatized Students: A Guide for School-Based Professionals
    Eric Rossen and Robert Hull, Editors
    Oxford University Press
    Supporting and Educating Traumatized Students: A Guide for School-Based Professionals provides practical, effective, and implementable strategies and resources for adapting and differentiating instruction, modifying the classroom and school environments, and building competency for students affected by trauma. The book offers techniques and strategies designed for different educational environments within the context of multiple potential sources of trauma.

  • The Heart of Learning and Teaching Compassion, Resiliency, and Academic Success
    Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of Washington
    The Heart of Learning: Compassion, Resiliency, and Academic Success is a handbook written and compiled by the State of Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Western Washington University staff. It contains valuable information for educators to help them on a daily basis as they work with students whose learning has been adversely impacted by trauma in their lives.

Websites With Information about Trauma and Trauma-Sensitive Practices For Schools

  • Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network
    The Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network website provides information, videos, and podcasts about traumatized children. The website contains links to documents and other websites that are useful to educators and other professionals working in schools.

  • The Language of Trauma and Loss
    The Language of Trauma and Loss provides teachers with information about the effect of trauma and loss on children, and the teacher’s role in identifying and referring appropriate students. The program also helps teachers establish a safe classroom and improve language arts skills using trauma and loss as a vehicle. Web-streamed videos offer professional development information for teachers, and age-specific lessons for elementary, middle and high school students, and can be used as a vehicle to help students express their concerns.

  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network
    Established by Congress in 2000, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is a unique collaboration of academic and community-based service centers whose mission is to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for traumatized children and their families across the United States. Combining knowledge of child development, expertise in the full range of child traumatic experiences, and attention to cultural perspectives, the NCTSN serves as a national resource for developing and disseminating evidence-based interventions, trauma-informed services, and public and professional education.

  • Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative
    The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative’s mission is to ensure that children traumatized by exposure to family violence and other adverse childhood experiences succeed in school.

  • Treatment and Services Adaptation Center
    The Treatment and Services Adaptation Center for Resiliency, Hope and Wellness in Schools promotes trauma-informed school systems that provide prevention and early intervention strategies to create supportive and nurturing school environments.

  • Professional Quality of Work Life
    Professional quality of life is the quality one feels in relation to their work as a helper. Both the positive and negative aspects of doing one’s job influence professional quality of life. This site covers self-care for secondary stress and trauma and vicarious traumatization that comes from doing your job. The PROQOL Test provides educators with a score meaned to their level of Compassion Satisfaction, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout.

  • Tips for Helping Students Recovering from Traumatic Events
    US Department of Education
    This brochure, which is based on discussions with some three dozen experts who work with students, provides practical information for parents and students who are coping with the aftermath of a natural disaster, as well as teachers, coaches, school administrators and others who are helping those affected.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS)
    The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program is a school-based, group and individual intervention. It is designed to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and behavioral problems, and to improve functioning, grades and attendance, peer and parent support, and coping skills. CBITS has been used with students from 5th grade through 12th grade who have witnessed or experienced traumatic life events such as community and school violence, accidents and injuries, physical abuse and domestic violence, and natural and man-made disasters. CBITS uses cognitive-behavioral techniques (e.g., psychoeducation, relaxation, social problem solving, cognitive restructuring, and exposure).

  • Trauma-Informed Care
    Wisconsin Department of Health Services
    This website provides information about efforts to bring trauma-informed care to Wisconsin organizations.
For questions about this information, contact Elizabeth Cook (608) 266-1999