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Trauma-Skilled Schools Model

About This Resource

Trauma and stress impact the way individuals learn and behave, presenting a significant issue for educators and learners. Awareness of the issue is not sufficient; educators must become skilled to help students excel in the classroom and life.

The Trauma-Skilled Model is broken down into five steps.

  • Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 are the foundations of the NDPC Trauma-Skilled Schools Model.
    • Step 1 is Knowledge, as a Trauma-Skilled School will establish a foundational body of shared knowledge, vocabulary, and concepts among all staff regarding adverse childhood experiences and their impacts on behavior and learning.
    • Step 2 is to Build Resilience. All staff members must understand that the approach to assisting trauma-impacted youth is not rooted in accommodation. The overall goal is to help students develop resiliency so that they can build the capacity to handle difficult circumstances and manage the impact of stress and trauma in their lives.
    • Step 3 is Prevention. All personnel must develop skills in prevention, intervention, recovery, and referral for success with trauma-impacted students.
  • Step 4 and Step 5 of the model establish an implementation framework for school leaders to self-assess, pinpoint areas for improvement, and verify and maintain trauma-skilled status.
    • Step 4 Assessment and Implementing the Model by creating policy, reviewing current practices and school climate, and having leaders reinforce and maintain functional levels of staff knowledge.
    • Step 5 is Maintenance and Validation where schools will create and maintain their Trauma-Skilled plan, document and assess the plan and its effectiveness regularly to create adjustments to the plan, and verify its effectiveness through demonstration, observation, and feedback.

Knowing how trauma influences behavior and learning, meeting the resilience needs of traumatized students, and skillfully applying skilled actions are more likely to produce the desired student outcomes than simply knowing about trauma.

National Dropout Prevention Center Registry

Rating: Strong Evidence


Cost Information: 

No cost information available

Who This Resource Is For


  • Academic Support
  • Assessment Tools
  • Behavioral Health
  • Mental Health
  • Trauma
  • Support Tier: 

  • Tier 1
  • Tier 2
  • Tier 3
  • Age Range: 

  • Early Childhood
  • Elementary
  • Middle
  • High
  • Adult
  • Language: 

  • English
  • Ethnicity: 

  • Not Specified / Any
  • Community Type: 

  • Inner City
  • Rural
  • Suburban
  • Tribal
  • Urban