Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are a concern  in Vermont Schools.  Teachers and ESPs throughout the state are finding classroom management techniques, so useful in the past, are not working with some students.  One reason for this is that classroom management has been associated with students choosing inappropriate behaviors.  Many students (statitics say 25%) come to school with ACEs that lead to behaviors that are a result of some external trigger, which activates the flight/fright/freeze part of the brain (watch Dr. Siegel's videos below).  At that point, teachers need knowledge and skills to communicate with the student in order to move their thinking to the part of the brain that allows for discussion, problem solving, and learning.  This simplistic view of the issue is just the beginning.  Below you will find resources to help you understand trauma, the brain, ACE's and creating trauma-sensitive classrooms and schools.

Trauma Resources

Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2008)

Why Schools Need to Be Trauma Informed - Oehlberg, B. (2008) Trauma and Loss, Reserach and Interventiosn V8N2 Fall/Winter

Unlocking the Door to Learning:  Trauma-Informed Classrooms & Transformational Schools - McInerney, M. and McKlindon, A. (2014)

Helping Traumatized Children Learn 1 - Supportive School Environments for Children Traumatized by Family Violence - Massachusetts Advocates for Children in collaboration with Harvard Law School and teh Task Force on Children Affected by Domestic Violence. (2005)

Healing Traumatized Children Learn 2 -  Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative - a Partnership of Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Harvard Law School (2013)

Trauma Sensitive School Checklist

Dr. Daniel Siegel Presenting a Hand Model of the Brain - This is an excellent video depicting how you could explain the brain to students and adults.  "upstairs and downstairs brain".  Another version by Dr. Siegal, (a little longer) is called "Flipping Your Lid:" A Scientific Explanation.

Bryan Weatherford, from Texas State Teachers Association has created a Google Folder around trauma.  The folder contains the following content:

  • Childhood Traumatic Grief – 
    • A brief information guide to Childhood Traumatic Grief summarizes some of the material from the “In-Depth General Information Guide to Childhood Traumatic Grief,” which can be found at []  This is in English and Spanish.
    • An information sheet summarizes material found in the “In-Depth General Information Guide to Childhood Traumatic
    • Grief” and “In-Depth Information on Childhood Traumatic Grief for School Personnel,” available at []  This is in English and Spanish.
    • NEA Healthy Futures Guide on support children who have lost loved ones.
  • Educators as Caregivers
    • Self-Care for Educators (English and Spanish)
    • What Can be done to Support Traumatized Children at School (English and Spanish)
    • Taking Care of Yourself As a Provider
  • Listen Protect Connect
    • Psychological First Aid for Children, Parents, and Other Caregivers After Natural Disasters
    • Model and Teach:  Psychological First Aid for Students and Teachers
  • Natural Disasters
    • Preparedness (English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean)
    • Natural Disasters and Trauma
    • Recovery
    • Simple Evacuation Activities for Children
    • Teacher Guidelines for Helping Children After a Hurricane
  • Trauma
    • Childhood Trauma (English and Spanish)
      • Elementary Students
      • Middle School Students
      • Parent Guide
      • Pre-School Students
      • Secondary Students
      • Fact About Childhood Trauma (English and Spanish)
    • Trauma-Sensitive Schools

It also contains the following files:

  • Family Guide to Healthier Futures (English and Spanish)
  • Hand Hygiene
  • Helping Children After a Natural Disaster
  • Providing Psychosocial Support to Children
  • Support – Hurricane Harvey
  • Texas Education Agency FAQ on Dealing With Disasters
  • Teaching Children From Poverty and Trauma
  • Trauma Affects Learning (Kentucky EA Presentation)


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