Trauma-Informed Practices for Schools (TIPS)

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Trauma-Informed System Defined

TIPS ModelAccording to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), a trauma-informed system is “one in which all parties involved recognize and respond to the impact of traumatic stress on those who have contact with the system including children, caregivers, staff, and service providers. According to McInerney & McKlindon (2014), by adopting trauma-informed practices, “schools undertake a paradigm shift at the staff and organizational level to recognize, understand and address the learning needs of children impacted by trauma. This requires a commitment to shaping school culture, practices, and policies to be sensitive to the needs of traumatized learners. This effort positively impacts schools and changes the life trajectory of vulnerable students.”


TIPS Components


The SAND (Self-Assessment for North Dakota) is an instrument used to measure school-level implementation of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).

TIPS Needs Assessment

The purpose of the Trauma-Informed Practices for Schools (TIPS) Needs Assessment is to provide educators and schools with a tool to assess their progress towards creating and maintaining trauma-informed learning environments. The TIPS Needs Assessment serves as a framework to enhance a school system’s trauma-informed practices by,

  1. Providing a course of action upon completion of the professional development curriculum: Trauma Sensitive Schools: A New Perspective on Student Behavior and Learning;
  2. Conducting a system-wide gap analysis between the current state and the desired state of a trauma-informed school;
  3. Supporting the guidance, planning, and preparation for professional development in relation to the implementation and sustainability of trauma-informed practices in schools (, page 7);
  4. Providing school districts an information source to utilize when considering the allocation of district support.

The TIPS Needs Assessment is intended to be utilized as a tool to measure the extent to which schools are implementing trauma-informed practices, as well as monitoring implementation progress. It is not intended to be a prescription, checklist or one-size-fits-all approach.

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