School Mental Health

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 120–131 | Cite as

Improving Implementation of a School-Based Program for Traumatized Students: Identifying Factors that Promote Teacher Support and Collaboration

  • Shilpa BawejaEmail author
  • Catherine DeCarlo Santiago
  • Pamela Vona
  • Gillian Pears
  • Audra Langley
  • Sheryl Kataoka
Original Paper


The purpose of this study was to delineate the factors that influence teachers’ support and involvement in successful implementation of an early intervention, school-based trauma program, Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS). In schools that had already used the intervention for at least one school year, we interviewed teachers and other stakeholders to understand what factors influence teacher support and clarify the role teachers desire in the implementation process. This paper also illuminates barriers to their support and collaboration and identifies methods to improve future implementation and sustainability. We conducted 40 semi-structured qualitative telephone interviews with school staff across three geographic regions in the USA. Participants were asked about their experiences with CBITS in their schools and asked to share both facilitators and challenges to implementation. Four key themes emerged: Support for CBITS was related to teachers’ perceived need for a trauma program on campus; teachers struggled with the competing priorities of balancing students’ social-emotional needs with their missing class to attend CBITS; teachers desired more direct communication with clinicians; and teachers felt they needed more trauma education. Suggested improvements include acknowledging teacher concerns about lost instructional time for CBITS sessions and offering groups during non-core academic instruction, expanding trauma education for teachers, so they can better respond to and connect traumatized students with intervention services, including regular consultation between teacher and clinicians about participating students, and improvements in academic performance following the intervention should be shared with teachers to improve their support.


Schools Mental health Trauma services Implementation Teacher support Teacher collaboration 



This work was supported by the UCLA Center for Health Services and Society (NIH1P30MH082760) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (SM59285, SM57283). The authors would like to thank Pia Escudero, Douglas Walker, and Mary Sue Roberts for their partnership, guidance, and support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shilpa Baweja
    • 1
    Email author
  • Catherine DeCarlo Santiago
    • 2
  • Pamela Vona
    • 3
  • Gillian Pears
    • 4
  • Audra Langley
    • 5
  • Sheryl Kataoka
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Education and Information StudiesUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.USC Treatment and Services Adaptation Center for Trauma in SchoolsUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.UCLA Center for Health Services and SocietyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  6. 6.Center for Health Services and Society, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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