By now, members of state boards of education will have heard the dire statistics about the rise in students’ mental health struggles, which were exacerbated by exposure to added traumatic events during the pandemic. When they are prepared to do so, educators play an important role in helping these students. Applying trauma-informed practices in the classroom can help students build the resilience and emotional intelligence they will need to reduce the impact of trauma on their well-being and learning.

Traumatic events, or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), compound students’ mental health burden. ACEs include abuse, neglect, family mental health crises, violence, and caregiver death. A 2019 study of the impact of ACES on learning found that children’s risk of poor attendance, behavior issues, and failure to reach grade level in math, reading, and writing increases as the number of ACEs they experience increases. These results are statistically significant even when accounting for gender, race, and levels of school poverty. The researchers suggest that students with many ACEs may be at risk for academic or behavioral issues without officially meeting the diagnostic standards for receiving special education services or interventions.

Trauma-Informed Practices: A Whole-School Policy Framework

Also In this Issue

Getting Students Engaged in Learning

By Jennifer A. Fredricks

Targeted interventions and savvy classroom practices, coupled with supportive state policy, can draw disengaged students back in.

Centering School Connectedness

By Robert Balfanz

High schools are creating student success teams that prioritize relationships and leverage actionable data to reconnect students to school.

Chronic Absence: A Call for Deeper Student and Family Engagement

By Hedy Chang

Connecticut's experience underscores the value of a positive, systemic approach to improving attendance.

Understanding Who Is Missing and Why

By Hailly T.N. Korman

The pandemic only magnified chronic absence among students with the greatest needs and made the problem harder to ignore.

How State Leaders Can Stand Up for the COVID Generation of High Schoolers

By Robin Lake and Travis Pillow

Families need better data on students' academic progress; students need meaningful learning experiences and better information on postsecondary options.

Reengaging High School Students through Career Academies

By Edward C. Fletcher Jr.

When built around four key elements, academies deliver rigorous, relevant learning tied to students' career aspirations.

Trauma-Informed Practices: A Whole-School Policy Framework

By Janet VanLone and Nicole Reddig

State leaders can ensure that more school staff are equipped to help children deal with the effects of trauma.

Featured Items

Multiracial group of teachers walking in school hallway. Image credit: iStock i

Strengthening the Principal Pipeline through State Leadership Academies

Missouri, Delaware, and North Carolina have developed evidence-based professional learning for current and prospective school leaders to increase their effectiveness and reduce turnover.
A multi-ethnic group of seven children standing in a row in a school hallway, laughing and smiling at the camera. The little boys and girls are kindergarten or preschool age, 4 to 6 years. i

State Advances in Early Childhood Education Seed Plans for 2024

In 2023, several states made significant strides toward universal pre-K, increased funding and support for early educators, and improved literacy and math instruction.
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Curriculum That Counts

Authors in this issue of the Standard draw lessons from a spectrum of state policies that are being used to increase the adoption of high-quality curriculum.

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