Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools: Your Guide to Creating Safe, Supportive Learning Environments for All Students

Author: Jen Alexander MA, NCC, SB-RPT

Format: Paperback, 248 pages, 7.0 x 10.0
ISBN: 9781681252452
Price: $29.95

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In the United States, at least one in four youth experiences trauma severe enough to negatively affect their school success.* Give hope and help to these students with this reader-friendly how-to guide, your springboard for building responsive, trauma-sensitive preK–12 schools.

Drawing on her extensive experience as a school counselor, trainer, and mother, trauma expert Jen Alexander delivers a comprehensive framework for building a safe, supportive school environment that helps all students learn and thrive. You'll start with an evidence-based introduction to the profound impact of trauma on a child's development, attachment, and behavior. Then you'll get an effective multi-tier system of support (MTSS) for developing a trauma-sensitive learning environment, including both universal strategies (Tier 1) and more intensive interventions (Tier 2 and Tier 3) for students who need more support. Compelling anecdotes and sample scripts illuminate challenges and solutions, and the included forms and worksheets are valuable tools for helping educators build the mindset and skills necessary for becoming trauma-sensitive. With this engaging, highly practical guide to what works and why, your school team will gain insights and develop action plans that make a real difference in the lives of all kids, including our most vulnerable youth.

  • make five key shifts in the way you view and approach students, so that youre better equipped to support them
  • work together to prioritize resilience by actively putting relationships first in your school
  • implement universal instructional strategies that foster safety, connection, regulation, and learning for all students
  • use special supports, supplemental instruction, and coaching when universal strategies aren't enough
  • collaborate effectively with families and colleagues to meet each student's needs
  • incorporate restorative discipline practices that focus on restitution, not retribution
  • create a personalized self-care plan to promote wellness and reduce the effects of job-related stress

PRACTICAL MATERIALS: Creative activities for teachers, powerful case stories, sample dialogues and scripts for educators and counselors, reflection and brainstorming worksheets, downloadable forms, and templates and handouts for use with students.

Build resilience by helping all students
  • Feel safe
  • Be connected
  • Get regulated
  • Learn
* National Child Traumatic Stress Network Schools Committee, 2008


Review by: Jody McVittie, Executive Director, Sound Discipline
“Are you working with children who struggle because of their history of adverse experiences? You need this book—even if you already have a full shelf. Packed with stories, wisdom, and practical tools, this is a resource you'll come back to over and over again for ideas, support, and encouragement.”

Table of Contents

About the Online Materials
About the Author


Chapter 1: Trauma & Its Effects
  • What is Trauma?
  • Trauma Defined
  • Prevalence of Childhood Trauma
  • The Effects of Trauma on the Body
Chapter 2: The Role of Attachment in Development
  • Healthy Attachment
  • Attachment Issues
  • Attachment-Trauma
Chapter 3: Trauma's Impact on Youth at School
  • Faces of Trauma in the Classroom
  • The Effects of Developmental Trauma in School
  • Triggers in the Classroom
  • Common Approaches to Trauma in the Classroom


Chapter 4: The Trauma-Sensitive School Framework
  • What is a Trauma-Sensitive School?
  • Trauma-Informed Response to Intervention
  • Trauma-Sensitive Educators
Chapter 5: Paradigm Shifts
  • Paradigm Shifts for Trauma-Sensitive Educators
Chapter 6: Essentials for Trauma-Sensitive Schools
  • Essential #1: To Help Students Feel Safe
  • Essential #2: To Help Students Be Connected
  • Essential #3: To Help Students Get Regulated
  • Essential #4: To Help Students Learns


Chapter 7: Universal Strategies for Trauma-Sensitive Classrooms
  • Universal Strategies to Help All Students Feel Safe
  • Universal Strategies to Help All Students Be Connected
  • Universal Strategies to Help All Students Get Regulated
  • Universal Strategies to Help All Students Learn
Chapter 8: Supplemental and Intensive Trauma-Sensitive Interventions
  • Supplemental & Intensive Interventions for Helping Students Feel Safe
  • Supplemental & Intensive Interventions for Helping Students Be Connected
  • Supplemental & Intensive Interventions to Help Students Get Regulated
  • Supplemental & Intensive Interventions to Help Students Learn
  • We are in this Together
Chapter 9: The PACE Approach to Working with Traumatized Students
  • Follow, Lead, Follow
  • Playfulness
  • Acceptance
  • Curiosity
  • Empathy
Chapter 10: Trauma-Sensitive Discipline Practices
  • Restorative Discipline Practices
  • Trauma-Sensitive Consequences
  • Ending on a Positive Note
Chapter 11: Self-Care for Educators
  • Job-Related Stress
  • Final Lifeguarding Lessons
  • Self-care Plans

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