Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Educational Leadership (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Cathy Meyer-Looze

Academic Year



Educating students is incredibly important life’s work. When done successfully, it requires teachers and staff members to not only find independently successful strategies for each student to learn academics at their own personal highest caliber, but it also requires us to form authentic and caring relationships with each and every student inside our building. Offering students an emotionally safe environment where they know they are valued and supported is oftentimes undervalued in this nation of high stakes testing as the determinant of sole success. However, in order to “get to” the academics, we need to begin by pouring into our students’ social-emotional wellbeing and supporting them through life’s challenges. Too often we underestimate the effects that traumatic events have on our students in grades preK through 12th. We expect them to push their issues aside while at and school and to “just learn”; but this is impossible when the traumatic baggage they carry and/or their lack of social-emotional competencies are not in alignment. Authentic relationships and supporting all students emotionally is where we begin. We must start by imparting this sense of urgency onto our educators and school staff members, by supporting them in their own social-emotional learning and in their ability to understand and empathize with childhood trauma. We must give educators an opportunity to become trauma informed and then to use this new knowledge into creating a school culture and climate that always values our students’ emotional health and does not judge them for the misbehavior that emerges due to that trauma. This project will begin to explain the importance of trauma informed instruction, the way positive behavioral interventions and supports can create an inclusive environment and how to support the professional learning of educational staff members while using a trauma informed lens while handling student misbehavior.