What is a Trauma Informed School?

  • Trauma Informed Schools foster a school climate where students feel safe and confident in their ability to learn, can differentiate between trauma-induced behavior and other stressors, and connect with adults and peers.  Trauma Informed Schools promotes feelings of physical, social, and emotional safety in students and focuses on building positive and attuned relationships between teachers, peers and among school staff. Schools serve as a critical system of support for children who have experienced trauma. Administrators, teachers, and staff can help reduce the effects of trauma on children by recognizing trauma responses, accommodating and responding to traumatized students within the classroom, and referring children to outside professionals when necessary.

    When schools are trauma-informed, students cultivate lasting resilience, which leads to significant improvements in behavior, fewer suspensions/expulsions and higher academic achievement.  Promoting trauma-informed school approaches has the greatest potential to positively impact all students, regardless of trauma history, in a universal approach.

    All staff at this Trauma Informed School are trained on the following concepts and goals:

    • Understanding trauma in a broad and inclusive way
    • Learning how the brain and body respond to stress and trauma
    • Recognizing the effects of trauma on students, staff, and schools
    • Building and nurturing relationships with students  
    • Learning the core concepts of Trauma Informed Schools, including how to respond to and support students

From the Principal:

  • "It is all about the mindset.  The staff is always cognizant of the fact that many, if not all, of our students have experienced some form of trauma.  This allows our staff to respond and provide students with the emotional/mental support they need in order to address any issues of concern.  Finally, through our understanding of trauma, we are able to create a supportive, encouraging and restorative environment for all students and staff within the school."  

    John A. Williams,  Principal 

    Phoenix Academy High School

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