Trauma Informed Schools

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In the 2016 legislative session, the Oregon School-Based Health Alliance (OSBHA), with support from the Defending Childhood InitiativeOregon Health AuthorityGladstone School DistrictTrauma Informed Oregon, Alliance4Kids, the Oregon Education Association, and others, developed and submitted a bill to reduce absenteeism by funding a pilot of trauma-informed schools in Oregon. This bill was combined with another, and the resulting legislation directs the Department of Education and the Chief Education Office to jointly develop a statewide education plan to address chronic absenteeism in public schools. The plan includes funding for a one-year trauma informed school pilot. The purpose of the pilot is to identify successful elements of a high school-based trauma informed approach to education, mental health, and intervention strategies. All of the materials and conclusions from the pilot will be available to the public.
Funding currently allows for two pilot schools in one year; however, a budget note included during the 2016 session requires a plan to fully fund the pilot for an additional two years in the 2017 session and possibly include more schools.

OSBHA has been selected by the Oregon Chief Education Office as the technical assistance provider for this pilot. Tigard High School (Washington County) and Central High School (Polk County) have been selected as the initial pilot schools. School based health centers and other school health providers are recognized as a critical resource for student wellness and for this pilot.

A trauma-informed school:
  • Realizes both the widespread impact of trauma and the role of schools in promoting resiliency
  • Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in students, family, and staff
  • Responds to fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices
  • Resists re-traumatization of students and staff and fosters resiliency
A trauma-informed school creates and maintains a whole-school culture that ensures students and staff members feel safe and supported. OSBHA will give expertise and assistance: (1) to provide professional development and ongoing support for all school employees, assuring they understand effects of trauma and how to mitigate them; (2) to review and modify school policies, practices and environments so they will be trauma informed; and (3) to coordinate services for students within the school and with community partners.