Creating Trauma Informed Schools

Creating Trauma Informed Schools and Districts:
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Across the state of Missouri, we are providing training, technical assistance, and intensive coaching to educators on the trauma-informed journey. Schools are trying innovative techniques to support their staff, students, and community, including: 

  • Universal Trauma Training: Several school districts have or are in the process of completing baseline training with all staff in the district, including teachers, support staff, transportation, food service, administrators, board, etc.

  • Community Building Practices: Schools are spending more time on proactively building community through morning meetings, community circles, and intentional culture building. This helps students increase their feelings of safety and belonging.

  • Prioritizing Staff Needs: Schools are working to create changes big and small to support the health and well-being of staff. Some examples include creating a quiet or cool down space just for staff members; allowing teachers to take a break as needed throughout the day to meet biological needs or cool-down through the help of support staff; and providing education about and referrals to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).

  • Changing Discipline: Schools are trying several things to change their discipline approach to better align with the science of trauma, including the use of restorative practices, reducing suspensions, and changing ISS programs to focus on reflection and social and behavioral skill building rather than punitive responses.

  • Creating Space to Regulate: Many schools are creating sensory, calming, or cool-down spaces that students can opt into to allow them to regulate their emotions and behaviors and return to the classroom ready to learn.

  • Connecting Community: Schools on the trauma-informed journey are also working to better engage parents by providing them with education about trauma and self-care, involving them in decision-making processes, and addressing their approaches to parent engagement to create more opportunities for positive relationship building.