Trauma-Informed Schools Initiative
Pursuant to Missouri Senate Bill 638, Section 161.1050, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has established the “Trauma-Informed Schools Initiative.”
For the purposes of this initiative, the following terms are defined as follows:
- “Trauma-informed approach” - an approach that involves understanding and responding to the symptoms of chronic interpersonal trauma and traumatic stress across the lifespan
- “Trauma-informed school” - a school that:
a. realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery
b. recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in students, teachers and staff
c. responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into its policies, procedures and practices; and
d. seeks to actively resist re-traumatization
DESE recommends The Missouri Model as the developmental framework for the Trauma-Informed Schools Initiative.
The implementation of a trauma-informed approach is an ongoing organizational change process. A “trauma-informed approach” is not a program model that can be implemented and then simply monitored by a fidelity checklist. Rather, it is a profound paradigm shift in knowledge, perspective, attitudes and skills that continues to deepen and unfold over time. Some leaders in the field are beginning to talk about a “continuum” of implementation, where organizations move through stages. The continuum begins with becoming trauma aware and moves to trauma sensitive to responsive to being fully trauma informed.
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