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Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences

Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences
A Whole-Staff Approach

Foreword by Gary R. Howard

June 2018 | 248 pages | Corwin

Use trauma-informed strategies to give students the skills and support they need to succeed in school and life

Nearly half of all children have been exposed to at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE), such as poverty, divorce, neglect, homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence, or parent incarceration. These students often enter school with behaviors that don’t blend well with the typical school environment. How can a school community come together and work as a whole to establish a healthy social-emotional climate for students and the staff who support them? 

This workbook-style resource shows K-12 educators how to make a whole-school change, where strategies are integrated from curb to classroom. Readers will learn how to integrate trauma-informed strategies into daily instructional practice through expanded focus on:

  • The different experiences and unique challenges of students impacted by ACEs in urban, suburban, and rural schools, including suicidal tendencies, cyberbullying, and drugs
  • Behavior as a form of communication and how to explicitly teach new behaviors
  • How to mitigate trauma and build innate resiliency through a read, reflect, and respond model 

Let this book be the tool that helps your teams move students away from the school-to-prison pipeline and toward a life rich with educational and career choices.

“I cannot think of a book more needed than this one.  It gives us the tools to support our students who have the most need while practicing the self-care necessary to continue to serve them.”

—Lydia Adegbola, Chair of English Department
New Rochelle High School, NY 

“This book highlights the impact of trauma on children and the adults who work with them, while providing relevant and practical strategies to understand and address it through reflective practices.”
—Marine Avagyan, Director, Curriculum and Instruction
Saugus Union School District, Sunland, CA

Transform your school with trauma-informed strategies for teacher and student well-being. Learn more about consulting.
Foreword by Gary R. Howard
About the Authors
Chapter 1 ACEs and the New Normal
ACEs Are an Equal Opportunity Occurrence

Lost in Translation

The New Normal

Chapter 2 Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask Before Helping Others
Burnout or Compassion Fatigue?

The New Normal: A Case Study Intervention

Self-Care Is an Ethical Imperative


Chapter 3 It’s Easy to Have High Expectations—Hard to Grow a New Mindset
Knowing Myself Precedes Teaching Students

Knowing My Students and Knowing Pedagogy-Growing Mindset

Knowing My Strengths, Knowing the Strengths of My Students Fosters Resiliency

“I Can’t Learn From You Because You’re White”

Progress Not Perfection

Knowing Myself and Responding to Change Are About Self-Care

Knowing Myself Matters—Because When Negative Bias Shows Up, Students Are Miseducated

Good Teaching Is Not Enough—The New Normal Warrants Transformationist Teaching

Chapter 4 The Effects of Trauma on the Brain
Acknowledging That Trauma Is Sitting in the Classroom Is Transformational Teaching

ACEs and Learning

ACEs and Behavior

Trauma Has Many Forms

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Chapter 5 Teaching Behaviors, Differentiating Interventions, Changing Pedagogy
Relationships Precede Learning

Talk, Trust, Feel, Repair

Schools and Classrooms Have a Culture and Culture Is Learned

Response to Intervention (RTI)

Looking at Behavior Management Through a Trauma-Informed Lens

Change Is Hard and Leadership Matters

Talk, Trust, Feel, Repair: My Rookie Year

Schools Are Ideal for Social Working

Chapter 6 Plan With the End in Mind: Visioning a Compassionate School
The Innovative School District PreK–12th Grades

SEL Data Team/Self-Assessment Checklist

Case Study: ISD’s Response to Behavior Interventions

Changing Positions to Change Lives

What Does It Mean to Work in a Trauma-Informed School or School District?

Chapter 7 From Theory to Practice: Transformationist Actions Convert ACEs to Aces
Transformationist Schools and School Districts

Transformationist Instructional Staff

Transformationist School Counselors and School-Based Social Workers

Transformationist School Psychologists and School Nurses

Transformationist Support Staff (Office, Cafeteria, Custodial, Bus Drivers)

Chapter 8 The Process, the Plan, the Transformation
The Process

Step 1: Assessing Capacity

Step 2: Building Capacity

Step 3: Implementation

Step 4: Evaluating Program Effectiveness

Where Is Our Sense of Urgency?

The Plan: Implementation Guide to Transformation


Evaluation and Planning

Chapter 9 In Their Own Words
Antwone Fisher

Cleressa Brown

Conor Black

Maria Gonzales

The Salomon Martinez Family

Additional Reading and Resources
Glossary of Terms

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1 - Romero

Victoria Elaine Romero

Victoria Romero is an educator with over 42 years of experience working as a classroom teacher, principal, instructional and leadership coach. A principal in two turnaround schools, she continues to coach administrators, directors, principals, vice principals, and school leadership teams for equity and sustainable school improvement in three school districts in Washington state.   Victoria is a certified consultant for Corwin/Sage Publishers and lead author for two Corwin Press books, Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Whole Staff Approach (2018) and Race Resilience: Achieving Equity... More About Author

Ricky Robertson

Ricky Robertson has had the privilege to work with students from pre-K to 12th grade who have persevered in the face of adversity and trauma. As a consultant and coach, he assists schools in developing trauma-informed systems of support and Restorative Practices that foster resilience and success for staff and students. He is the co-author, “Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Whole-Staff Approach.”  (CORWIN 2018).  Ricky delivers impactful, life-changing and school system-changing workshops through his consultant relationship with CORWIN, based on this timely and important new... More About Author

Amber Nicole Warner

Amber N. Warner is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with over 20 years of experience. She has had the privilege of serving as a community outreach case manager (4 years), school social worker (8 years), medical social worker (5 years) , and behavioral health therapist (3 years). As a School Social Worker, in addition to her work with children and their families, she was part of the school wide Modern Red School House Leadership Team and the Positive Behavior Interventions and Systems Team. She facilitated K-6 monthly classroom discussions utilizing Second Step and Character Counts curriculums. Amber is also a co-author of... More About Author

Also available as a South Asia Edition.

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ISBN: 9781544319414