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Supporting Resilience in Schools

Provides information and resources for educators, parents, and communities working with those who have experienced trauma.

In the U.S., nearly two out of every three children experience a potentially traumatic event by age sixteen (Center for Disease Control Adverse Childhood Experience Study External link opens in new window or tab.). Trauma impacts a child’s school performance, impairs learning, and causes physical and emotional distress. In addition, trauma impacts not only the individual child, but also other students, adults who interact and work with the child, and the respective schools and communities. The resources provided on this page are designed to guide and support educators, parents, and communities in establishing more resilient schools.

Overview

Impact of Childhood Trauma Infographic External link opens in new window or tab.

Understanding Trauma and Its Impact E-Resource for Educators External link opens in new window or tab.
Self-paced module that builds shared awareness and understanding of the prevalence of trauma and implications for schools from the National Center for Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) Trauma Sensitive Schools Training Package.

Understanding Traumatic Stress in Children External link opens in new window or tab.
A resource for caregivers working with children who have experienced traumatic stress, including a definition of trauma and a close look at acute traumatic stress and complex trauma, developmental effects on children, ways for caregivers to respond, and the importance of self-care for caregivers. Compiled by the National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH).

Educators

Trauma-Informed Schools

What Is a Trauma-Informed School? External link opens in new window or tab.
Information about the components of a trauma-informed school community that is prepared to recognize and respond to those who have been impacted by traumatic stress. Provided by the Treatment and Services Adaptation (TSA) Center for Resiliency, Hope, and Wellness in Schools.

Creating Trauma-Informed Learning Environments External link opens in new window or tab.
This brief, produced by the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center at WestEd, offers five important actions teachers can take to design trauma-sensitive learning environments. These actions include:

  • Creating trusting, caring, and responsive relationships with students
  • Creating safe and predictable environments
  • Using inquiry to identify patterns of behavior and possible triggers in the classroom
  • Using positive behavior supports and social-emotional learning strategies
  • Engaging in their own self-care

Trauma Responsive Schools Implementation Assessment (TRS-IA) External link opens in new window or tab.
Quality improvement tool developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) TSA Center and Center for School Mental Health. The TRS-IA is an evidence-informed self-assessment that comprises eight key domains of trauma responsive schools and districts:

  • Targeted interventions for trauma
  • Early interventions for trauma
  • Classroom-based strategies
  • Whole school trauma programming
  • Whole school prevention programming
  • Whole school safety planning
  • Community and family supports

Administration time is less than 20 minutes. Automatically generated feedback reports support schools and districts working to enhance their trauma responsiveness.

Educator Training

Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools External link opens in new window or tab.
This online self-paced module introduces the concept of trauma sensitivity and provides examples of trauma-sensitive practices that can be adopted in the classroom and schoolwide. From the NCSSLE Trauma Sensitive Schools Training Package, it also includes downloadable handouts and a facilitation guide.

Leading Trauma-Sensitive Schools External link opens in new window or tab.
This online self-paced module introduces school and district administrators and leadership teams to a roadmap and strategies for adopting a trauma-sensitive approach schoolwide. From the NCSSLE Trauma Sensitive Schools Training Package, it also includes downloadable handouts and a facilitation guide.

Curriculum

Support for Students Exposed to Trauma (SSET) Program External link opens in new window or tab.
An evidence-based intervention focused on managing the distress that results from exposure to trauma. Designed to be implemented by teachers or school counselors with groups of 8-10 students, SSET is a 10-lesson curriculum. The program includes skill-building techniques to reduce current problems with anxiety, worry, and depressed mood and to help students deal with real-life problems and stressors.

Tools and Resources for Educators

Suggestions for Educators External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
NCTSN describes very practical ways school staff can help children who have experienced trauma.

Psychological First Aid—Listen, Protect, Connect (PFA—LPC) External link opens in new window or tab.
This five-step crisis response strategy guides teachers and staff members in helping traumatized students deal with the aftermath of senseless violence including supporting students through the process of recovery, especially when students encounter traumatic reminders of being in danger or of experiencing loss or trauma.

School Crisis Resources External link opens in new window or tab.
TSA Center provides resources for school communities affected by issues such as domestic violence, gang activity, school shootings, and natural disasters such as floods, tornados, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

Staff Self-Care

Secondary Traumatic Stress: A Fact Sheet for Child-Serving Professionals External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
NCTSN provides a concise overview of secondary traumatic stress and its potential impact on child-serving professionals, as well as options for assessment, prevention, and interventions relevant to secondary stress, and the elements necessary for transforming child-serving organizations and agencies into systems that also support worker resiliency.

Self-Care for Educators External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Highlights self-care tips for educators who work with any child who has experienced trauma.

Secondary Traumatic Stress and Self-Care Packet External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
NCSSLE provides information about secondary traumatic stress and related conditions as well as tools and strategies to help create individual and schoolwide plans to promote staff self-care and resilience.

Additional Resources

Trauma in the context of Race External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), Natural Disaster External link opens in new window or tab., Military External link opens in new window or tab., Refugee External link opens in new window or tab., and more available from NCTSN External link opens in new window or tab..

Parents

Trauma-Informed Strategies

Understanding Traumatic Stress in Children External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
A resource for caregivers working with children who have experienced traumatic stress, including a definition of trauma and a close look at acute traumatic stress and complex trauma, developmental effects on children, ways for caregivers to respond, and the importance of self-care for caregivers. Compiled by the NCFH.

Complex Trauma: Facts for Caregivers External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
A NCTSN resource that helps parents and caregivers recognize the signs and symptoms of complex trauma and offers recommendations on how to help children heal.

Caregiver Self-Care

Assess Your Self-Care External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
See page 21 of Understanding Traumatic Stress in Children for the NCFH assessment tool to analyze your physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and workplace well-being.

Local Support

Law requires every district to designate an appropriate staff member as a liaison for students in homeless situations and in foster situations.

Students

Trauma Support

What is Complex Trauma? A Resource Guide for Youth and Those Who Care About Them External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Offers information about complex trauma, how it can impact youth, both good and harmful coping strategies, and ways to improve.

Crisis Support

What is a Crisis?

"Anytime you are feeling misunderstood or overwhelmed and needing to talk to someone about what’s happening, especially before you run away or cause harm to yourselves or others" (CYCL).

California Coalition for Youth Crisis Line (CYCL) External link opens in new window or tab.
A statewide emergency response system for youth and families in crisis. Consists of professionally trained staff and volunteer counselors.

2-1-1 External link opens in new window or tab.
A free, confidential referral and information service that connects people from all communities and of all ages to a specialist who will help them find local health and human services.

Local Support

Law requires every district to designate an appropriate staff member as a liaison for students in homeless situations and in foster situations.

Additional Resources

Toolkits

Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Developed by the NCTSN Schools Committee, this toolkit provides information for educators on the psychological and behavioral impact of trauma on children.

Creating, Supporting, and Sustaining Trauma-Informed Schools: A System Framework External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
NCTSN provides strategic guidance in order to achieve the vision of a trauma-informed school. It includes core areas that will help to focus educational system improvements and organizational changes. These core areas can be applied to three intervention tiers to create a trauma-informed environment within the school system while identifying those who are at risk or might need more intensive support to address their traumatic stress or loss symptoms.

SAMHSA's Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Provides a working concept of trauma and details a trauma-informed approach that can be adapted and used across an array of service systems and stakeholder groups.

Related CDE Web Pages

Organizations

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) External link opens in new window or tab.
Created to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events.

Treatment and Services Adaptation (TSA) Center for Resiliency, Hope, and Wellness in Schools External link opens in new window or tab.
Promotes trauma-informed schools systems that provide prevention and early intervention strategies to create supportive and nurturing school environments.

National Center for Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) External link opens in new window or tab.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students, NCSSLE offers information and technical assistance to states, districts, schools, institutions of higher learning, and communities focused on improving student supports and academic enrichment.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) External link opens in new window or tab.
Agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation.

National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) External link opens in new window or tab.
The U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program.

National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH) External link opens in new window or tab.
Through research, programs, trainings, and partnerships with the homeless service system, NCFH provides accessible trainings, technical assistance, and reports addressing the causes, correlates, and consequences of homelessness to inform local, state, and national efforts to prevent and end homelessness.

Legal Center for Foster Care and Education External link opens in new window or tab.
Partnership between the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, the Education Law Center, and the Juvenile Law Center that provides a strong voice at the national level for the education of children in foster care, a central clearinghouse of information on foster care and education, and training and technical assistance across the country.

Changing Minds External link opens in new window or tab.
Changing Minds, a national campaign, raises awareness of childhood exposure to violence and motivates adults who regularly interact with children to take meaningful action in supporting children who may be affected.
Questions:   Educator Excellence and Equity Division | EEED@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-6440
Last Reviewed: Monday, April 8, 2019
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