The Nine Facets of a Comprehensive Trauma-Informed School Organization – Part IV – Classroom and School-wide Practices

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Facet Number Nine: Adopt classroom and school-wide practices that

  1. raise awareness of inadvertent triggering by staff and reduce trigger behaviors for students (and adults)
  2. teach students how to understand their own natural brain, body and emotional responses
  3. teach students grounding techniques for self-regulation
  4. proactively foster self-confidence, positive relationships, and empathy
  5. teach social-emotional skills – K-12 curriculum that includes non-violent communication skills for success throughout school years and for life outside and beyond school
  6. model Non-Violent Communication Skills of all school employees with both students as well as with other adults, parents and colleagues
  7. teach healthy interpersonal skills to students in choosing, making, being and keeping friends
  8. teach students social norms in various settings and situations (manners, ethics, work-related qualities)
  9. teach students healthy practices for mitigating stress and anxiety
  10. emphasize respect for students and value a positive relationship with each child
  11. adopt a SEL curriculum to imbed within instruction and that promotes student dialogue and student-led discussion.



Benefits of Trauma-Informed Practices and Whole Organization Awareness


  • Instead of hiring more social workers and counselors because the demand for referrals outstrips the capacity to help children with mental health problems, change your entire existing staff to build better relationships with students.
  • Improving staff interactions not just those in distress, but all students on a day-to-day basis is also a proactive and preventative measure to reduce and mitigate problems from occurring.
  • Hiring more social workers and counselors, while not a bad thing for students, is not only costly, it is also not a long-range solution. In fact, this is much more costly that providing the training I described in this Nine Facet plan to become a Trauma-Informed School.
  • Replace current dysfunctional school climate with system-wide changes that help your staff rethink how best to relate to students and families and return the focus to the business of educating students. An additional benefit is the improved communication throughout your organization and how this will positively affect all your schools other functions that rely on staff to work collaboratively and make decisions.
  • These Nine Facets are a sustainable, long-range, and proactive means to regain your school’s original mission to educate.
  • By teaching social emotional skills, effective and empathetic communication skills, and student (and adult) self-regulation, students themselves are better prepared for dealing with personal adversity, skills they need throughout their development and into their lives as adults.
  • With improved communication, understanding and practices much of the build-up of anxiety and compounded distress in schools can be abated.   Kids can function again in a classroom and turn their attention to their own growth, both academically and emotionally. This reduces the number of disruptions and problem behaviors that impede learning and progress in student performance.
  • The number of disciplinary referrals, suspensions and repeat offenders drops and counselors and principals have more time to focus on preventative measures, positive progress, and social-emotional learning. With a drop in problem behavior comes new opportunities to form positive relationships with parents, families and communities.
  • Strong school performance as a result of becoming a truly trauma-informed school means attracting families to move into your communities. Schools can build positive liaisons with local business leaders for scholarships and leverage the rise in academic performance to increase funds that support your programs and graduates.
  • Even if your district is not interested in the consulting services that I offer, please develop a comprehensive training and action plan to become trauma-informed. There are others out there like me – please don’t wait to get started now. Our students and families cannot do this for themselves without the support of our schools and community leaders. Your school leadership in forging a path to become trauma-informed will bring hope to all involved. Bring hope back to your students, parents, your organization and community.

End of Part IV & Series

Download the complete 4-Part Series in PDF