Integrated Student Supports (ISS) are an educational approach that works to improve students' academic outcomes by systematically supporting their academic and non-academic needs.  Schools implementing ISS take a whole-child approach and provide wrap around supports to address students' barriers to learning in a data-driven manner that is authentic to their local needs. 

North Dakota schools can align Integrated Student Supports implementation with other existing frameworks and practices.  For example, many schools and districts are implementing North Dakota Multi-Tiered System of Supports (NDMTSS), Response to Intervention (RTI), Integrated Systems Framework (ISF), trauma sensitive practices, and/or NDPCBL to coordinate and guide suppports for a more effective and efficient system of health and well-being in schools.  Often the frameworks and practices overlap with ISS.  Together, ISS and one or more of these other frameworks and practices can enhance each other's core features, better integrating supports and promoting wellness.  We encourage districts to seek collaborative partnerships and access local and state behavioral health services that are authentic to their local needs.  

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Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR)

BARR transforms school systems to develop healthy and supportive environments by empowering educators and students and supporting schools to realign their existing staff and resources to maximize student, educator, and school strengths. Check out our North Dakota schools; Milnor, North Sargent, and Fargo South as they share their BARR experiences!

Scaling Relationship-Focused Change 
The Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL)’s new report, “Education Equity in Action: Bright Spots” highlights four initiatives, including BARR, that show promising results by focusing on the science of learning and development, centering student experiences, and prioritizing equitable resource allocation. North Sargent School District, North Dakota was highlighted for their work with the BARR system. 

BARR Presents at the North Dakota Governor’s Innovation Summit
State Superintendent, Kirsten Baesler, and Angie Jerabek presented from the Mainstage at the Governor’s Innovation Summit, sharing BARR and the focus the State Superintendent has on education in North Dakota. Alongside were Dr. Chris Larson, Superintendent at Milnor Public Schools and Dr. Todd Bertsch, Principal, Fargo South High School to share their personal experiences and successes in their schools.  They were joined by Dr. Shannon Mortrud, Assistant Principal, Fargo South High School, for a breakout session.

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Harvesting Innovation

Harvesting Innovation encompasses all innovative educational initiatives that support students in graduating Choice Ready. Multiple strategies and levels of involvement exist, and NDDPI is readily available to cultivate ideas and aid along a school’s innovation journey. Schools currently on this journey inspire to grow and continuously improve in areas including improved stakeholder communication and engagement, personalized and/or competency-based learning, meaningful educational opportunities, and overall increased student academic success. 

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ND Full Service Community Schools

North Dakota Full-Service Community Schools are both a place and a set of partnerships that provide coordinated and comprehensive supports to students and families. These supports have been identified to align with eight “pipelines” that are known to improve student, family and community outcomes.

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Trauma Sensitive Schools

The Department of Public Instruction Trauma Sensitive Schools (TSS) training initiative began in 2015. The TSS training was made possible through collaboration with Mid-Dakota Education Cooperative (MDEC) and was developed by Heather Simonich, MA, LPC.

Educators play a crucial role in mitigating both the short and long term effects of trauma. Over 6600 North Dakota educators have trained in, A New Perspective on Student Behaviors and Learning. Awareness of trauma and trauma informed practice is the first step for our schools and educators. TSS training should motivate and guide schools to examine and transform their policy/practice, educational strategies, professional development, and community relationships. The result of this intentional strategic work should be an environment and community that is safe, caring, and respectful and where all children can learn to their capacity.

There are five key modules, which range from creating an awareness of trauma and its effects on learning to exploring trauma informed practices.  The modules are as follows:

  • Module 1:  Introduction to Childhood Trauma
  • Module 2:  Neurobiology of Trauma and Resilience
  • Module 3:  Trauma Sensitive Strategies Part 1
  • Module 4:  Trauma Sensitive Strategies Part 2
  • Module 5:  Taking Care of You and the Flexible Framework


Trauma Sensitive School (TSS) training is designed to be provided over three, 2-hour professional development sessions. However, they can be tailored to fit the varying duration of professional development sessions. For example, it is possible to deliver this curriculum in two, 3-hour professional development sessions, or six, 1-hour sessions. It is often necessary to extend the team to allow for dialogue among staff while they discuss the many topics.

A short video and training information can be found online or contact your Regional Education Association to schedule Trauma Sensitive Schools training for staff in your school.