Become a Trauma-Informed District or School

Elements of a trauma-informed school

There are many avenues to incorporate trauma-informed approaches in a school environment. Trauma-informed approaches can be included as part of the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) and align with the social and emotional programs that are part of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework. Trauma-informed approaches strengthen staff and student connections, promote parent and community partnerships and improve school climate. 

A trauma-informed approach:

  • Uses a holistic lens to explore all domains that impact a student’s growth, development and learning;
  • Prioritizes relationships and focuses on building connections between students and school;
  • Promotes physical, social/emotional and academic safety for students and staff;
  • Proactively addresses trauma by teaching students self-regulation techniques.

Steps districts and schools can take to become trauma informed

  • Establish administrative and staff buy-in for creating a trauma-informed environment;
  • Develop or identify an existing team to plan and coach trauma-informed approaches;
  • Build partnerships with community agencies for training, consultation, resources and services (hospitals, mental and behavioral health agencies, health department, job and family services, law enforcement);
  • Provide ongoing training and professional development on the following topics:
    • Chronic stress and trauma;
    • Instructional techniques for teaching traumatized students;
    • Nurturing relationships with students and creating safe and respectful environments;
    • De-escalation techniques;
    • Restorative practices;
    • Cultural competency. 
  • Review policies and procedures to ensure they reflect an understanding of trauma, remove barriers and prevent re-traumatization (e.g., discipline and restraint and seclusion);
  • Establish a continuum of academic and nonacademic supports and interventions, ranging from promotion of skills to prevention and intervention;
  • Embed social and emotional skill building in learning activities.

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Last Modified: 3/11/2021 1:27:39 PM