Applying a Trauma-Sensitive Approach to a District-Wide Model


By Lisa Riggs

With burgeoning awareness of the profound and life-long impacts of childhood trauma, districts across the country are becoming more proactive about caring for students who have suffered trauma and improving their learning environments. It is the intent to provide professional learning and support to teachers to address their students’ emotional challenges and corresponding academic struggles. The Gresham-Barlow School District in Oregon is prioritizing the development of trauma-sensitive learning environments that boost overall student well-being, while also supporting self-regulation and coping skills.

Educators are not therapists or counselors, but they can help ensure that learning environments are safe and not affected by secondary issues. Gresham-Barlow has undertaken training to help educators understand what trauma looks like and how to address trauma in a classroom.

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