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Demonstration of a Trauma-Informed Assessment to Intervention Model in a Large Urban School District

Abstract

This manuscript describes an implementation of a new model for integrated school mental health services. By incorporating trauma-informed practices with universal screening and teacher coaching, this study examined the processes and procedures necessary to deliver school-based mental health services across Tier I and Tier II within a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support. Developed through an iterative process, this decision-making framework was designed based on feedback from school-based partners, periodic and planned review of program effectiveness, and collecting of data to inform key decisional cut points. A middle school within a large, urban school district was selected as the demonstration site. Teachers received in-service training on both universal mental health screening and effective classroom management practices. Teachers screened students in the fall, winter and spring to assess class and school-wide risk levels. A group of coaches then conducted weekly observations of teachers and provided visual and written performance feedback facilitate development of teachers’ classroom management skills. Preliminary data suggests a significant reduction in suspensions and disciplinary infractions. Implications for school psychological services will be provided, as well as future implementation plans including data to inform Tier II intervention selection.

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Funding

This study was funded by the Scattergood Foundation and United Way of Philadelphia.

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Correspondence to Nathaniel von der Embse.

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The first author receives a royalty for one of the measures discussed within this manuscript.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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von der Embse, N., Rutherford, L., Mankin, A. et al. Demonstration of a Trauma-Informed Assessment to Intervention Model in a Large Urban School District. School Mental Health 11, 276–289 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-018-9294-z

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Keywords

  • Multi-tiered systems of support
  • Trauma-informed practice
  • Universal screening
  • School mental health