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Helping Students Heal: Observations of Trauma-Informed Practices in the Schools


From the city streets of New Haven, Connecticut, the rural mountains of Appalachia, and the heart of San Francisco, students across the nation are coming to school with traumatic histories that are greatly impacting their school performance. Schools are recognizing the impact of trauma and beginning to adopt trauma-informed practices. When school systems approach students through a trauma lens, they are better equipped to provide the educational and social–emotional supports necessary to help students reach their potential. The following commentary reviews the implementation efforts of three different trauma-informed school programs and their use of the multitiered interventions to address the differing needs of trauma-exposed students. Implications for future directions are addressed, including the need for support for more intensive educator professional development.

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We would like to thank Dr. Karen Weston, Ron Hertel, Jeff Reiser for their contributions to this commentary.

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Correspondence to Lisa Weed Phifer.

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Lisa Weed Phifer declares that she has no conflict of interest. Robert Hull declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Phifer, L.W., Hull, R. Helping Students Heal: Observations of Trauma-Informed Practices in the Schools. School Mental Health 8, 201–205 (2016).

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