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As we transition back into classes, we acknowledge the effects of trauma on learning, and the importance of creating safe, trauma-informed programs and learning opportunities. This hands-on session will focus on the acquisition and application of trauma-informed practices to be used in programs and classrooms. This session combines presentation, facilitated discussion, and small-group scenario work. Participants will leave the session with ideas for implementing safe learning and working spaces.

Note: This session will be similar in content to the session Stacy led at the 2021 Summer Directors' Institute, entitled "Leadership Challenge and Opportunity: Creating Safe Spaces for Staff and Students to Return in the Fall".


    This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • Adult education directors, advisors, teachers, and all staff who want to deepen their understanding of students who have experienced trauma in education settings

This session responds to requests for support in addressing how learner and staff stresses and challenges during the pandemic are influencing programs as they return to classes. We know that learners with trauma are especially prone to experience challenges with self-regulating, trusting, focusing, and persisting when it comes to pursuing their education and career goals. We will explore strategies for creating transformative learning environments, fostering respect and empathy for each person’s current reality, and building trust that leads to more impactful interactions and learning outcomes. To accomplish this, we will:

  • Use a modified case study format to assist advisors, teachers, and administrators in identify trauma-based behaviors and reactions and understand root-cause factors.
  • Review the model from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that explores the four key principals of trauma assumptions: realization, recognition, response, and resisting re-traumatization.
  • Engage in small group discussions to discuss scenarios and begin drafting guidelines for how to create safe spaces for learners and staff.

Follow up:

Please note that all attendees will be invited to an optional follow up sharing and debrief meeting on December 9th, from 2:00-3:00pm. You will receive an invitation to sign up for this after the session. In this follow up session we will review the strategies, discuss how they played out in real interactions, and provide expert and peer support. 

Other offerings on this topic: 

For classroom teachers wanting more support in this area, consider signing up for an additional separate offering The Trauma-Informed Classroom which will take place October 28th, 2021. 

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Identify the impacts of the current and historical trauma and harm on the process of learning and persistence
  • Use skills and strategies for building trust and safety in your programs and classroom
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s)
10/07/2021 - 1:00 pm to 10/07/2021 - 2:30 pm

United States

PD Center
SABES Program Support PD Center - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Topic Area
DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion)