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Trauma-Skilled Schools Model

713 E Greenville St.
Suite D #108
Anderson, SC 29621
Contact Information
Dr. Sandy Addis
Director, National Dropout Prevention Center

Program Specifications


Prevention, Intervention, Recovery/Reentry

Age/Grade Level:

Early Childhood, Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School, Adult





Target Settings:

Rural, Urban, Suburban, Inner City, Tribal

Target Groups:

School Wide, Clusters/Groups

Other Participation Criteria:



Trauma and stress impact the way individuals learn and behave, presenting a significant issue for educators and learners. Awareness of the issue is not sufficient; educators must become skilled to help students excel in the classroom and life. The Trauma-Skilled Model is broken down into five steps. Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 are the foundations of the NDPC Trauma-Skilled Schools Model. Step 1 is Knowledge, as a Trauma-Skilled School will establish a foundational body of shared knowledge, vocabulary, and concepts among all staff regarding adverse childhood experiences and their impacts on behavior and learning. Step 2 is to Build Resilience. All staff members must understand that the approach to assisting trauma-impacted youth is not rooted in accommodation. The overall goal is to help students develop resiliency so that they can build the capacity to handle difficult circumstances and manage the impact of stress and trauma in their lives. Step 3 is Prevention. All personnel must develop skills in prevention, intervention, recovery, and referral for success with trauma-impacted students. Step 4 and Step 5 of the model establish an implementation framework for school leaders to self-assess, pinpoint areas for improvement, and verify and maintain trauma-skilled status. Step 4 Assessment and Implementing the Model by creating policy, reviewing current practices and school climate, and having leaders reinforce and maintain functional levels of staff knowledge. Step 5 is Maintenance and Validation where schools will create and maintain their Trauma-Skilled plan, document and assess the plan and its effectiveness regularly to create adjustments to the plan, and verify its effectiveness through demonstration, observation, and feedback. Knowing how trauma influences behavior and learning, meeting the resilience needs of traumatized students, and skillfully applying skilled actions are more likely to produce the desired student outcomes than simply knowing about trauma.

Program Descriptors Include:

Academic Improvement, Attendance/Truancy, Bullying/Violence, Community Collaboration, Counseling/Advisors/Coaches, Early Childhood Education, Family/Parental Involvement, Homeless, Mentoring/Tutoring, Professional Development, Students with Disabilities, Alternative Education, Life Skills Training

Program Rating:

Strong Evidence

Starting Year:


Students Served Per Year:


Last Verified:

December 26th, 2018

Strategies for Locating Students:

Collaboration with other schools/districts, Collaboration with social service agencies/community-based organizations, Collaboration with law enforcement, Materials distributed in public venues, Public events focused on dropout recovery, School or district teams to track students
Conferences, Presentations , Speaking

Reenrolled Students with Disabilities:

25% or more

Risk Factors

Program addresses the following:

Individual Factors

  • Has a learning disability or emotional disturbance
  • High number of work hours
  • Parenthood
  • High-risk peer group
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Highly socially active outside of school
  • Low achievement
  • Retention/overage for grade
  • Poor attendance
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school
  • No extracurricular participation
  • Misbehavior
  • Early aggression

Family Factors

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • High family mobility
  • Low education level of parents
  • Large number of siblings
  • Not living with both natural parents
  • Family disruption
  • Low educational expectations
  • Sibling(s) has dropped out
  • Low contact with school
  • Lack of conversations about school

School Factors

  • Limited resources: expenditures per student/ teacher salaries/ student-teacher ratios
  • School size: too small/too large
  • Race/ethnicity
  • School math achievement
  • School policies and practices
  • Student engagement
  • Teacher expectations

Community Factors

  • Family composition/socioeconomic status
  • Youth social attitudes

Protective Factors

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Opportunities and rewards for pro-social involvement
  • Clear social norms
  • Good relationships with parents, peers, and teachers
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers


  • Healthy/conventional beliefs and standards
  • Positive/resilient temperament


  • Social competencies
  • Self efficacy


  • Problem-solving skills
  • Flexibility


  • Personalized instruction and learning
  • Rigorous and relevant instruction
  • Academic support
  • Instruction on behavior and social skills
  • Supportive school climate
  • Encourage family involvement/community supports
  • Help students to address problems that interfere with learning

Program Resources

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is $25,000 - $100,000 or less than $500 per student.

Funding Sources Include:

Organizations/Agencies, Federal, Local/City/County, District

Program Staff Includes:

Career Coaches, Counselors, Graduation Coaches, Mental Health Therapists, Other Employees, Parents, School Administrators, Social Workers, SROs, Teachers, Volunteers
Community Resources

Materials Used:

Instructional Texts/Manuals, Computer/Internet Based

Supporting/Partner Organizations:

National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC), Successful Practices Network (SPN)

Evaluation Information

Description of Program Impact:
Research indicates the efficacy of Trauma-Skilled care based on the model implemented graduation data can increase as much as 25%. To achieve maximum effectiveness, trauma must be addressed not only from an informational level but from an application level as well.

How Evaluation Data Was Collected:
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level

Additional Evaluation Information: