District Leadership’s Role in Supporting and Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools

How can school districts support creating trauma-sensitive, safe and supportive schools?

This month we share a new TLPI video featuring Dr. Sal Terrasi, Ph.D., former Executive Director for Pupil Personnel Services in the Brockton Public School System, and Director of the Lesley Institute for Trauma-Sensitivity, sharing key ways school district administrators can work to create the infrastructure and culture to promote trauma-sensitive, safe and supportive schools. In this video, Dr. Terrasi shares his thoughts on the School District’s role in supporting the creation of trauma-sensitive schools in four distinct ways:

  1. Advocacy (00:50)
  2. Communication (04:24)
  3. Training and Professional Development (07:32)
  4. Community Connections (10:44)

To view the video, please click here.

Although many schools have successfully worked to become trauma sensitive, the best opportunity for sustained trauma-sensitive safe and supportive culture change comes when multiple schools become trauma sensitive with the support of their district. This allows the schools to learn and build capacity together, strengthens motivation and facilitates the free flow of information and ideas among schools, including the creation of pilot efforts.  District support for creating trauma-sensitive, safe and supportive schools helps minimize interruption when an administrator or other staff members leave or transfer to another school.

There are many benefits to a well-coordinated district-wide commitment to creating safe and supportive schools, and many ways district leadership can support such efforts. Having district support may allow school leaders to frame the work of creating safe and supportive schools more globally—in a way that demonstrates alignment with other district priorities—helping to promote buy-in among school staff. Dr. Terrasi notes that district leadership can also help create conditions for success at the building level by setting trauma-sensitive schools as a district priority and by seeking resources that can be used to promote the work of becoming a safe and supportive school (e.g., through seeking grant funding, creating pilot school programs and linking schools with other departments or community agencies that support the work). To read more about the role of Leadership in creating and sustaining trauma-sensitive schools, please click here 


See More Videos from TLPI

We are currently developing a collection of videos that can be used to help increase awareness and understanding of the prevalence and impacts of trauma on learning. To view our other videos, please visit our website’s video page.

Impact of Trauma on Learning Part 1 - Academic PerformanceImpact of Trauma on Learning Part 2 - Classroom-BehaviorImpact of Trauma on Learning Part 3 - Relationships

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