With help from Trauma Recovery Demonstration Grant funds, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development is implementing a Trauma-Engaged framework to help Alaska schools and communities integrate trauma-engaged practices and policies into their everyday activities to improve the academic outcomes and well-being of all students. Recognizing that it is one thing to be trauma informed or sensitive to the effects of trauma and another to be engaged with and actively implementing promising practices to prevent or alleviate the effects of trauma, the goal of this framework is to build a shared understanding and widespread integration of transformative practices that support the whole student and help break the cycle of trauma. By focusing on direct services to students, the framework stresses the importance of building relationships with students and knowing how to respond to their needs.
The state of Alaska has been doing trauma work in schools since 2008, so the development of the framework fits seamlessly with the state’s previous efforts. The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development partnered with the First Alaskans Institute, Alaska Afterschool Network, Alaska Mental Health Board, Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Alaska Child Trauma Center, and Association of Alaska School Board’s Initiative for Community Engagement to create the framework, and more than 200 community members, school board members, school staff, counselors, nurses, and administrators throughout the state have contributed input and feedback. Over 13,000 copies of the framework have been distributed since its creation in January of 2019, with hopes of reaching even more schools and districts in the coming years.
To learn more about this Trauma-Engaged Framework, listen to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development’s podcast episode of In Session.