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.