The Trauma-Skilled Schools Model was developed to address two serious challenges faced by our nation’s schools: The growing negative impact of childhood trauma and the absence of clear and doable action steps to address it. “When it comes to students who’ve experienced childhood trauma, schools have a real solutions gap,” said Dr. Sandy Addis, Director of the National Dropout Prevention Center. “That’s why we combined the resources of two national nonprofit organizations to study this issue and to generate a solution.”
High numbers of students, possibly more than half, have experienced one or more childhood traumas that sometimes distort mindsets and negatively impact behavior and learning. Educators do not know about most of the traumas and are not expected to be mental health professionals. They must, however, deal with trauma’s influence to achieve acceptable school behavior, teach effectively, and help students graduate. Recent research suggests strong links between childhood trauma, school violence, truancy, low grades, and dropping out.
Much of the recent discourse about student mental health, stress, and trauma has focused on helping educators become “trauma informed” and “trauma sensitive”, but knowledge and sensitivity are insufficient to alter the dismal school outcomes of these students on a large scale. The Trauma-Skilled Schools Model provides schools specific steps, tools, and resources to ensure that practices and instruction develop resilience and foster success of trauma-impacted youth.