“Trauma-Informed Approaches in School: Supporting Girls of Color and Rethinking Discipline.” — September 19, 2016

Susan Cole, Director of MAC’s Trauma & Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) presented at a White House Conference entitled: “Trauma-Informed Approaches in School: Supporting Girls of Color and Rethinking Discipline.”
Watch the event live by clilcking the White House Briefing Room Link.
Follow live social media updates at the hashtag: #rethinkdiscipline LEARN MORE

TLPI Director, Susan Cole, Invited to Present at the White House — September 16, 2016

TLPI director, Susan Cole, has been invited to the White House to lead two sessions related to policy reform at the Trauma-Informed Approaches in School: Supporting Girls of Color and Rethinking Discipline meeting. LEARN MORE

ACES Too High News Features the MA Safe and Supportive Schools Framework Law. — September 9, 2016

A new article in the ACEs Connection Network’s ACES Too High News features a discussion on the implementation of the 2014 Massachusetts Safe and Supportive Schools Framework law. LEARN MORE

New Report Highlights Self-Healing Communities Model — September 1, 2016

A critical new report outlines a comprehensive model of building community capacity used in the state of Washington. By increasing the capacity of the community to reduce adversity, the Self-Healing Communities Model (SHCM) helped make dramatic reductions in rates of youth and family problems including suicide and suicide attempts, child head injury hospitalizations, filings for juvenile offenses and drop out rates and developed strong networks that promoted much greater collaboration across the community of Cowlitz County in Washington. LEARN MORE

A Trauma-Sensitive School Addresses Students’ Needs in Holistic Ways — August 30, 2016

A trauma-sensitive school addresses students’ needs in holistic ways, taking into account their relationships, self-regulation, academic competence, and physical and emotional well-being. Within the school, there is recognition that these domains are inextricably linked and an understanding of the critical role they play in helping students succeed. LEARN MORE

Welcome to the Trauma Sensitive Schools Learning Community — July 28, 2016

We have been hard at work updating and improving the format and content of our learning community and we appreciate your patience as we launch this effort. This summer, we are in the beginning phase of establishing our learning community and plan to have more robust content by the fall of 2016. LEARN MORE

Helping All Children Feel Safe — July 28, 2016

The second common attribute of a trauma-sensitive school is that the school supports all students to feel safe-physically, socially, emotionally, and academically. A child’s traumatic response, and the associated difficulty in learning, are often rooted in real or perceived threats to his or her safety, undermining their fundamental sense of well-being. Because of this, it is important to ensure that students feel safe, not just in their classrooms but also on the playground, in the hallway, in the cafeteria, on the bus, in the gym, and on the walk to and from school. LEARN MORE

Leadership and Staff Share a School-Wide Approach — July 26, 2016

The first attribute of a trauma-sensitive school is that leadership and staff share an understanding of trauma’s impacts on learning and the need for a school-wide approach. This awareness is the critical first step in creating a trauma-sensitive school. All staff—educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, and paraprofessionals—should understand that adverse experiences in the lives of children are exceedingly common and that the impact of these experiences on child development can play a major role in the learning, behavioral, and relationship difficulties faced by many students. LEARN MORE


Director Susan Cole describes the work of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative and its vision for creating and advocating for trauma-sensitive schools.


Governor’s Budget includes $400,000 in funding for Safe and Supportive Schools

The budget signed by the Governor on July 8, 2016 includes funding for Safe and Supportive Schools at $400,000, which allots funding for DESE to hire a full time staff person devoted to carrying out the provisions set forth in the law. The language provides for continuation of the Safe and Supportive Schools grant program as well as statewide and regional conferences, expert technological assistance in upgrading the usability of the online self-assessment tool and an evaluation of the grant program.

This critical funding of the Safe and Supportive School line item is a remarkable accomplishment. The work of building safe and supportive school environments for all students in Massachusetts is moving forward!


On August 13, 2014,  The Safe and Supportive Schools Framework (MGL Ch 69 Section 1P) was  enacted into law when the Governor  signed the legislature’s omnibus Act Relative to the Reduction of Gun Violence. These provisions establish a statewide “safe and supportive schools framework” to assist schools to create safe and supportive learning environments. The Safe and Supportive Schools Commission was established in this law to provide recommendations to the legislature and to the state on how best to ensure that all schools have the time and capacity create safe and supportive learning environments.


To contact the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, click here.

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