NYS-TEACHS › Info by Topic: Trauma-Sensitive Strategies for School Success

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Trauma-Sensitive Strategies
for School Success

When it comes to success in school, students living in temporary housing have immediate needs that range from transportation to supplies. However, many students also have other unique needs that stem from stress and/or trauma that need to be addressed in order for them to thrive academically and socially. There is much evidence to suggest that creating a safe and supportive school environment, building secure attachments, and developing a student's non-cognitive skills can lead to student stability and success. This page includes information and resources that will help you both understand and address the impact of toxic stress and trauma as well as implement trauma-sensitive strategies that will ultimately lead to school success.

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Articles and Research

Trauma-Sensitive Schools Are Better Schools: Part 1 and Part 2 - Huffington Post

This two part series explains the need for trauma-sensitive schools and highlights the positive results seen in one WA State High School after implementing a trauma-sensitive approach.

Resilience and At-Risk Children and Youth - National Center for Homeless Education

This 13-page research summary outlines trauma's impact on a student's ability to succeed in school. It offers effective approaches for building resilience, coping skills, and healthy relationships in school.

Teaching and Classroom Strategies for Homeless and Highly Mobile Students - National Center for Homeless Education

This 13-page research summary makes a case for building upon on a student's strengths rather than starting from a place of deficit when working with homeless or highly mobile students.

Helping Traumatized Children Learn; A Report and Policy Agenda - Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (a partnership of Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Harvard Law School)

This 60+ page report outlines the impact of trauma on a student's ability to learn and self-regulate. It provides strategies for creating a trauma-sensitive school that builds secure attachments, self-regulation skills, and academic competencies.

Understanding Traumatic Stress in Children - The National Center on Family Homelessness

This 23-page report outlines the behavioral manifestations of trauma, discusses factors that can affect a child's ability to recover from trauma, and makes the case for caregivers needing to practice self-care.

Academic Achievement Trajectories of Homeless and Highly Mobile Students: Resilience in the Context of Chronic and Acute Risk - Journal of Child Development

This research article uses data to make a case for why academic achievement amongst temporarily housed students is lower than permanently housed students. It also discusses factors that positively influence academic resilience.

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire: Trauma in the Lives of Homeless Youth Prior to and During Homelessness - John Coates and Sue McKenzie-Mohr

This research article examines the negative effect that trauma has on homeless youth. It also makes the case for harm reduction policies rather than "zero tolerance" or punishment.

External Organizations

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL):

CASEL is a non-profit organization working to advance the development of academic and social-emotional competence for all students. CASEL provides resources for SEL implementation, policy, and research.

National Center for Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NSSLE):

NCSSLE provides training and T.A. on the negative conditions resulting from bullying, harassment, etc. Resources are aimed toward schools, districts, and individuals interested in creating a safe and supportive school environment.

National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE):

NCHE serves as a technical assistance and information center. They provide research, resources, and trainings for schools and communities addressing the educational needs of children experiencing homelessness.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

SAMHSA leads efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation concentrating primarily on mental health and substance abuse. SAMHSA also focusses on families who have experienced trauma such as homelessness.

SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP):

NREPP is a searchable data base of mental health and substance abuse intervention services. If you are looking to connect a student or family to a specific type of supportive service, this may be a good place to start.

TA Resources and Toolkits


Info Brief: Trauma Sensitivity and School Success

This three-page resource provides a written and visual overview of trauma-informed care as it relates to school success for students in temporary housing. It is a great first resource to share with others at meetings or trainings.

Info Brief: A School Success Framework

This two-page resource provides a basic overview of the three trauma-sensitive elements of the School Success Framework, which is the basis for all other school success related NYS-TEACHS resources.

Introductory Toolkit: The School Success Framework

This in-depth toolkit provides recommended trauma-sensitive strategies for implementing each of the three elements of the School Success Framework in order to improve academic outcomes for students in temporary housing.

Matrix of School Success Framework Strategies

This two-page resource summarizes the recommended School Success Framework strategies and subsequent actions from the Introductory Toolkit.


Educating Homeless Children and Youth: Conducting Needs Assessments and Evaluating Services; A guide for SEAs, LEAs, and Local Schools - National Center for Homeless Education

This "how-to" guide for conducting a local needs assessment of students in temporary housing includes information on establishing a committee, collecting and analyzing information, and creating a plan of action.

Helping Traumatized Children Learn; Creating and Advocating for Trauma-Sensitive Schools - Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (a partnership of Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Harvard Law School)

This detailed guide outlines the four key domains a school needs to address in order to become better equipped to take action and respond to traumatized children.

Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs - Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

This guide from CASEL provides an overview of various SEL programs as well as strategies for selecting the "right one" for your specific needs.

"Belly Breathe" Video - Sesame Street

This Sesame Street music video features Common and Colbie Caillet. It is a fun way to teach children how to breathe deeply in order to calm down and regain control of their "big feelings."

Archive of "School Success Resource of the Month"

Feb. 2018:Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers [website]

Helping students build resilience and manage their emotions during times of severe stress (like homelessness) is a key component to helping them succeed in school. From the American Psychological Association, this webpage offers easy to implement strategies (sorted by age range) for building resilience in children.

March 2018:Montefiore Medical in Bronx screens 12,000+ kids for adverse childhood experiences [website]

This article, posted on the "ACES Too High" website, discusses the trauma screenings that Montefiore Medical is doing as a routine practice. The hospital developed and implemented an ACE survey (Adverse Childhood Experience) in collaboration with the Harvard Center for the Developing Child in order to help intervene early with supports for both the child and parent.


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04/17/18 Liaison Responsibilities (NYC)

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04/25/18 Trauma Sensitivity (NYS & NYC)

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