Traumatic experiences like a natural disaster and the ongoing stress of living with an abusive or drug-addicted parent exact a high price on both children and schools. Students who experience traumatic stress perform worse academically and cognitively, and their teachers report that they behave worse in the classroom. And teachers themselves can experience secondhand stress as they struggle to deal with their students’ intense emotional and learning needs. Now a growing number of regular schools are adopting trauma-sensitive practices to better serve distressed students. What does a trauma-informed school look like in practice? And how can schools gear up to provide it?
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