School systems are pressured to raise the level of academic achievement, but children who are exposed to trauma often bring a complicated set of needs to the classroom that can impact their willingness to learn, their cognitive function, their ability to form lasting relationships, and even their physical health.

For school mental health providers, it can be overwhelming to find the best ways to support students who have experienced trauma and stress.

School-based programs can minimize the effects trauma has on learning and help students who may otherwise not have access to such support to develop the coping skills to manage ongoing and future stress.

In this volume, Catherine DeCarlo Santiago, Tali Raviv, and Lisa H. Jaycox provide the necessary "trauma‑informed" tools to help struggling students and create a beneficial educational environment. The authors take a holistic approach to trauma‑informed practices, and provide a practical overview of evidence‑based interventions using the Multi‑Tiered System of Supports model.

With examples of core treatment components and engaging case studies, this book illustrates how effective school‑based interventions ensure that students have the opportunity to heal from trauma and excel in the classroom and in life.

Table of Contents


Series Foreword
Ann T. Chu and Anne P. DePrince

Maurice R. Swinney and Ellen Kennedy



  1. Trauma Exposure Among School-Aged Youth
  2. Impact of Trauma Exposure on Children
  3. The Rationale for School-Based Interventions
  4. Universal and Schoolwide Interventions for Trauma
  5. Preintervention Strategies for School Mental Health Providers
  6. Common Evidence-Based Treatment Components
  7. Targeted and Intensive Interventions for Trauma in Schools
  8. Special Considerations for Implementing Interventions in Schools





About the Authors

Author Bios

Catherine DeCarlo Santiago, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and an assistant professor in clinical psychology at Loyola University Chicago.

Dr. Santiago specializes in community intervention research with children and families. She studies how children and families respond to stress and trauma and evaluates interventions designed to improve functioning and promote resilience. She has worked directly with the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) team, conducting school-based intervention research, designing evaluations, and supervising clinicians who are implementing CBITS.

Dr. Santiago has partnered with school-based clinicians, school administrators, and community parents to inform school-based interventions and improve their implementation and sustainability. She provides supervision and implementation support to graduate students and school-based clinicians.

She received her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Notre Dame and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Denver. Dr. Santiago completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

Tali Raviv, PhD, is a clinical psychologist at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and an assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

She is part of the Center for Childhood Resilience at Lurie Children's whose mission is to increase access to high quality mental health services for youth affected by poverty, trauma, and violence by providing training and technical assistance to school- and community-based clinicians as well as educators and other youth-serving organizations.

Dr. Raviv has trained hundreds of clinicians in school-based interventions to trauma, including CBITS and Bounce Back, and hundreds of educators and community members on the impact that trauma has on students' learning and emotional and behavioral health.

She has also worked directly with multiple schools on the creation and implementation of Behavioral Health Teams, school-based teams that meet to address the needs of at-risk students, including those affected by exposure to violence and trauma.

She provides direct clinical services to youth and families exposed to trauma through her work on the Trauma Treatment Service at Lurie Children's Hospital, and participates in advocacy initiatives through membership in the Illinois Child Trauma Coalition and her role on the Steering Committee of the PATHH Collaborative of the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center.

Dr. Raviv received her bachelor of arts degree from Emory University and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Denver.

Lisa H. Jaycox, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation.

Dr. Jaycox's work focuses on the mental health consequences of stress and trauma and on interventions that facilitate recovery.

She has worked on the development and implementation of the CBITS program and related interventions (Support for Students Exposed to Trauma, Bounce Back, Life Improvement for Teens) for more than 15 years, and she has conducted research on stress and a broad range of traumatic events in children and adults. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, she developed a toolkit for schools that described trauma-focused school interventions.

Dr. Jaycox received her bachelor of arts degree from Brown University and her doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Reviews & Awards

Effective student-based trauma services on the part of school districts has been underscored by the recent spate of multiple victim school shootings making Creating Healing School Communities an urgently needed addition to school district, college, and university library collections.
Midwestern Book Review

Every school administrator, educator, and mental health professional who works with students exposed to trauma needs this book. Each chapter is filled with practical guidance for how schools can create safe and supportive learning environments for all students, including those experiencing trauma-related distress.
—Sharon A. Hoover, PhD
Codirector, National Center for School Mental Health, and Associate Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore

This is the first resource to combine trauma-informed interventions in a way that ensures implementation success in schools. From the foreword by two school leaders, to chapters detailing specific considerations within the school context, to the organization of resources schools need to carry out the work, the authors have given the trauma-informed schools movement a powerful tool for creating healing school communities.
—Stacy Overstreet, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Santiago, Raviv, and Jaycox are true scientist–practitioners who have produced an exceptional resource for school leaders and mental health professionals to successfully launch and enrich trauma-sensitive schools. They provide a coherent rationale and specific strategies supported by theory, data, and case examples, to engage multiple audiences and provide a framework and action steps for a successful collaborative process.
—Colleen Cicchetti, MEd, PhD
Executive Director, Center for Childhood Resilience, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, and Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL