The role of school leaders in cultivating a trauma-informed school climate

Antonio Garcia, Ginny Sprang, Tracy Clemans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Schools are in a unique position to offer services aimed at supporting students, thereby mitigating the effects of trauma. However, there is a lack of empirical support regarding the practices necessary for a successful trauma-informed approach. The primary aim of the current study was to examine TIPs among school personnel who participated in a Trauma-Informed Practices for Educators and School Personnel (TIPE) learning collaborative in Kentucky. The secondary aim was to evaluate the impact of leadership engagement on TIPs in school settings. Participants (N = 205) completed surveys at baseline (prior to launch of TIPE) and at the end of TIPE (Time 2). Surveys assessed 1) progress toward becoming a trauma sensitive school via the Trauma Sensitive Schools Checklist (TSSC), and 2) perceptions of how engaged senior leaders are in the TIPE. Generalized Linear Mixed Models were conducted for each of the TSSC subscales and for the TSSC total score. Results showed that TSSC scores remained low over time among those who initially reported at Time 1 that senior leaders were not aware of TIPE. However, significant increases in TSSC subscale scores were conferred to leaders fully implementing TIPE by Time 2. TIPE may cultivate the skills leaders need to increase educators’ 1) awareness of TIPs, 2) implementation of trauma-informed strategies in the classroom, and 3) knowledge of how to navigate service provision, including screening and referral procedures. Future research is needed to 1) replicate training and assess impact in other contexts, and 2) determine why TIPE achieved its intended outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106816
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [ 1H79SM081958 ].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Educators
  • Leadership engagement
  • School leaders
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Trauma-informed practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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