The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) is pleased to share a video discussion guide companion document to our previously released video, Why We Need Trauma-Sensitive Schools.
Since the release of the video last December, many have contacted us to let us know that they like the video and several learning community members asked for a discussion guide so they could show the video at faculty meetings or other group opportunities. This discussion guide is an invitation to hold a conversation about the video among colleagues, including parents, educators, and providers. We are often asked the question, “How can I start this work in my school/district?” These two tools, the video and the discussion guide, are designed for educators and others who want to consider making their schools safe and supportive for all students by weaving trauma sensitivity across the whole school.
A trauma-sensitive school is a place where an ongoing, inquiry-based process allows for teamwork, coordination, creativity and sharing of responsibility for all students, and where continuous learning is for students as well as educators.
TLPI outlines six core attributes of a trauma-sensitive school. No single attribute of a trauma- sensitive school can be viewed as an isolated fragment; they are all interrelated, adding up to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Together they define ways to empower schools to understand and realize a shared vision.
- Leadership and staff share an understanding of trauma’s impacts on learning and the need for a school-wide approach.
- The school supports all students to feel safe—physically, socially, emotionally and academically.
- The school addresses students’ needs in holistic ways, taking into account their relationships, self-regulation, academic competence, and physical and emotional well-being.
- The school explicitly connects students to the school community and provides multiple opportunities to practice newly developing skills.
- The school embraces teamwork and staff share responsibility for all students.
- Leadership and staff anticipate and adapt to the ever changing needs of students.
There are a growing number of schools throughout Massachusetts and the United States engaged in the work of creating trauma-sensitive schools. The video features one such school, the Baker School in Brockton, MA. The Baker is one of several schools in Brockton that are becoming trauma-sensitive through a concerted, well-supported district-wide effort. The discussion guide draws from the well-articulated and illustrated safe and supportive practices shown in the video to prompt viewers to make connections to the core attributes of a trauma-sensitive school and to consider how this might happen in their own schools districts.
If you have any additional questions about our learning community, please contact TLPI so that we can schedule a time to talk.
Additional Information About Trauma-Sensitive Schools
Prevalence of Trauma. Studies now show that nearly every school has children who have been exposed to overwhelming experiences. Read More…
Impact of Trauma on Learning. Traumatic experiences in childhood can diminish concentration, memory, and the organizational and language abilities children need to succeed in school. Read more…
Our publications Helping Traumatized Children Learn, Volumes 1 and 2 are available for download and/or purchase.