Your Number Story

Educators & School Staff

Understanding the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), childhood adversity, and toxic stress is essential to meeting the needs of children and youth in today’s educational settings.

 

Children and youth who experience high levels of adversity are significantly more likely to experience learning and behavioral problems. Some of the effects of ACEs and toxic stress in schools may include trouble concentrating in class, lack of school engagement, not completing homework, absenteeism, school failure and noncompletion, learning disabilities, impaired executive and relational functioning, an increased need for special education, increased school violence and victimization, and lower educational attainment.

 

ACEs are not the whole story, and they are not destiny. Educators and school staff have the opportunity to be positive buffering forces that can help prevent or reduce the lasting impacts of early adversities, and can help prevent tolerable stress from becoming toxic. Together, we can create school climates and systems that help prevent and address childhood adversity and toxic stress. There are many professionals, parents, young people, and community members working to create school systems that are trauma-informed and trauma-responsive, and we want to help increase the demand and support that change.

 

The resources on this page provide information on strategies for prevention, implementing change in your classroom, school, or district, and opportunities for engaging consultants and specialists to help guide this work. To request an introduction to Number Story as a resource for your school or district’s educators or staff, please contact Joy Thomas at Joy@ACEResourceNetwork.org.

Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health

Part II: The Public Health Approach for Cutting ACEs and Toxic Stress in Half within a Generation:
Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Prevention Strategies in Education (PDF)

According to the Roadmap for Resilience, “Among the most direct and profound effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress is their impact on learning and school success.” This sector-specific guide includes strategies for preventing and addressing ACEs and toxic stress in educational settings, along with research, case studies, and information on the impacts of COVID-19 on learning.

Number Story’s partnership with Get Lit – a Los Angeles based arts education non-profit that works to increase literacy, empower youth, and inspire communities through spoken word poetry – features young poets using their powerful, unique voices to raise awareness about the impacts of early adversity. These creative pieces demonstrate the power of personal storytelling, and are amazing inspiration for using creative expression to build resilience among students, staff, or families.

Building Resilience

  • Book: Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Whole-Staff Approach written by educational consultant Victoria E. Romero, behavior specialist Ricky Robertson, and social worker Amber Warner

    Nearly half of all children have been exposed to at least one ACE. 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.

  • Webinar: Adverse Childhood Experiences
    Author and behavior specialist Ricky Robertson focuses on a whole-staff approach to foster resilience both in students living with ACEs and the educational professionals who work with them.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has developed a library of resources on schools, including:

This site hosts a community group to share ideas on mitigating the effects of adverse childhood experiences in the K-12 environment, including a resource list of guides and toolkits.

In December 2021, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory highlighting the urgent need to address the nation’s youth mental health crisis. The advisory outlines the pandemic’s impacts on youth mental health, as well as the mental health challenges that existed before the pandemic. The advisory followed the declaration of a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health by a coalition of the nation’s leading experts in pediatric health. The Surgeon General’s advisory provides recommendations to improve the mental health of children, adolescents and young adults, including a section titled “What Educators, School Staff, and School Districts Can Do.”

This page features highlights of school mental health resources from the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network, funded by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

  • Classroom WISE: Well-Being Information and Strategies for Educators
    Classroom WISE is a FREE 3-part training package that assists K-12 educators in supporting the mental health of students in the classroom. Developed by the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network in partnership with the National Center for School Mental Health, this package offers evidence-based strategies and skills to engage and support students with mental health concerns in the classroom. In addition to a free online course on mental health literacy for educators and school personnel, a video library and resource collection are also available.
  • Supporting Student Mental Health: Resources to Prepare Educators
    Educators and school staff play a vital role in promoting mental health and well-being and identifying and responding to emerging mental illness in young people. However, they often have not received the education, training, and/or ongoing support needed to respond. The MHTTC Network and the National Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine collaborated on an environmental scan and needs assessment of available educator mental health literacy training and resources. This document describes the role of educators in supporting student mental health, explains the core components of mental health literacy, and provides an annotated list of existing resources and trainings that instruct educators on mental health literacy.

Learn simple tools for lifelong well-being with evidence-based programs for school communities. Yoga Ed.’s programs support social and emotional learning and mental health through mindful movement. Through their trauma-informed, equity-centered approach, you’ll learn how to help your students feel safe, engaged, and supported as they explore yoga and mindfulness that is accessible by, relatable to, and available for all. Yoga Ed. offers a wide range of training options, classes, and resources to support physical and mental health – from certificate programs and streaming classes, to brain breaks and downloadable lesson plans.

Hanna Institute equips and empowers individuals and organizations with the trauma-informed tools they need to help people in their community. From comprehensive trauma-informed care training and certifications for individuals and organizations to large-scale program partnerships, the Institute works alongside youth and community to break the cycle of trauma and create a healthier and more hopeful future. For more information on the Hanna Institute – and on trainings specifically for educators, please contact Christine Feenstra, Partnership Development Manager at cfeenstra@hannacenter.org.

Explore the principles and building blocks of HOPE (Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences), the positive experiences that support children’s growth and development into healthy, resilient adults.

Learning for Justice strives to be a catalyst for racial justice, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. Their free educational resources – articles, guides, lessons, films, webinars, frameworks and more – help foster shared learning and reflection for educators, young people, caregivers and all community members. Resources are available on topics including race and ethnicity, religion, ability, class, immigration, gender and sexual identity, bullying and bias, rights and activism, COVID-19, and teaching honest history.