Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2024

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Counseling


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Taryn Akgul


trauma-informed schools, adverse childhood experiences, student achievement


An increasing amount of research has emerged in the last decade emphasizing and imminent need to better meet the emotional needs of students, not only to be more successful in the classroom academically but to improve overall quality of life for their present and future selves. The average student spends approximately 1,080 hours at school in a 180-day school year, thus giving educators a primary role in recognizing and responding to students who appear to be struggling or showing signs of trauma (Nelson, 2022). Over half the US population has reported facing at least one adverse childhood experience, with a handful experiencing 4 or more (Childhood Domestic Violence Association, 2022)- a detrimental number, statistically speaking, to maintain an overall positive, and successful high school experience. Yet, our current education system does not require schools to become trained in trauma-informed approaches or at minimum, perform basic trauma assessment screening to indicate at-risk students. This literature review and training provides information necessary for recognizing signs of trauma in students, compares similarities of trauma to other popular (and rising) diagnosis, and provides evidence for a new perspective for educators to procure towards students who otherwise appear disengaged and uninterested in learning.

Keywords: Trauma-informed schools, adverse childhood experiences, student achievement



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