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Improving Trauma-Informed Education: Responding to Student Adversity With Equity-Centered, Systemic Support

Today’s youth suffer through challenges on multiple fronts. Alongside the COVID-19 pandemic and its related social and educational fallout, they've experienced trauma from increasingly frequent school and community violence, homelessness, family separation related to immigration, and sustained child poverty. Exposure to these and other traumas triggers health, psychological, social-emotional, behavioral, and educational harms. In response, and as part of efforts to increase holistic support for students, educators and policymakers have sought to implement educational practices that increase awareness of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma while preventing future trauma. This policy brief explores both the promise and challenges of trauma-informed education, suggesting that it may be best designed as a systemwide commitment, rather than an intervention, and that the concept of equity-centered trauma-informed education may offer a productive path to addressing the conceptual and implementation challenges involved.