Why We Need Trauma Sensitive Schools Video — December 16, 2016

We are pleased to share our new video “Why We Need Trauma-Sensitive Schools”. This video highlights the importance of leadership—superintendents, assistant superintendents-principals, and educators—in creating the understanding and infrastructure that can support the team work among staff needed to support all children to be successful. LEARN MORE

Too Scared to Learn? The Academic Consequences of Feeling Unsafe in the Classroom — December 1, 2016

A study in Urban Education found "Students who reported feeling unsafe in the classroom experience a consistent decrease in math scores." This highlights the importance of a safe school environment as a prerequisite for productive learning and provides insight into the relationship between feelings of safety in the classroom and academic achievement. LEARN MORE

White House Conference on Trauma: MA Delegation Presents — October 14, 2016

During a recent event at the White House focusing on how schools should be addressing the traumatic experiences of girls, and girls of color in particular, Sara Burd, District Leader of Social Emotional Learning in Reading, MA shared the innovative approaches used across the Commonwealth to endeavor to create Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for all students. LEARN MORE

“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

In Trauma-Sensitive Schools Leadership and Staff Anticipate and Adapt to the Ever-Changing Needs of Students — December 6, 2016

Educators and administrators in a trauma-sensitive school do their best to adapt to challenges flexibly and proactively so that the equilibrium of the school is maintained despite inevitable shifts and changes. LEARN MORE

Trauma-Sensitive Schools Embrace Teamwork and Share Responsibility for All Students — November 4, 2016

Trauma-sensitive schools help all staff to feel like they are part of a strong and supportive professional community that shares responsibility for each and every child while working as a team to address the impact of trauma on learning. LEARN MORE

Trauma sensitive schools explicitly connect students to the school community — October 13, 2016

In a trauma-sensitive school, the school explicitly connects students to the school community and provides multiple opportunities to for students to practice newly developing skills. 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


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


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.

The law includes a groundbreaking definition of “safe and supportive schools” as

“… schools that foster a safe, positive, healthy and inclusive whole-school learning environment that (i) enables students to develop positive relationships with adults and peers, regulate their emotions and behavior, achieve academic and non-academic success in school and maintain physical and psychological health and well-being and (ii) integrates services and aligns initiatives that promote students’ behavioral health, including social and emotional learning, bullying prevention, trauma sensitivity, dropout prevention, truancy reduction, children’s mental health, foster care and homeless youth education, inclusion of students with disabilities, positive behavioral approaches that reduce suspensions and expulsions and other similar initiatives.”

For more information about the process of enacting this statute, please see the 2014 article, “Implementing Legal Strategies for Creating Safe and Supportive School Environments”  published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children authored by TLPI Director, Susan Cole.

PDF-downloadClick here to read the full article




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

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