[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Stacey Shaw




Research shows that approximately 25%, 1 in 4 students, experiences or witness a major traumatic event by the age of 4 years old (Hydon, et al., 2015). In order to reach and support all students, we must approach everything we do through a trauma-informed lens. This means that we see the whole child, that we take life experience into account when planning instruction, that we understand common responses to trauma and how that can impact our students in a learning environment. In this course, you will learn about how trauma impacts the brain and the nervous system, how these can impact learning and social-emotional well-being, strategies for trauma-informed and trauma-responsive teaching, and tools for teacher self-care. This course is appropriate for K-12 teachers of all grade levels, elementary and secondary.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  • Come to a common understanding of the concept and definition of trauma
  • Attain a basic understanding of how trauma affects the brain and the nervous system
  • Identify common indicators of trauma
  • Understand the implications of these effects on learning and on students in an educational setting
  • Demonstrate understanding of these concepts and how they inform instructional practice
  • Create a plan for self-care using tools for teacher well-being

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom by Kristin Souers and Pete Hall. Text is approximately $15 used on Amazon. ISBN: 9781416621072.

None. All reading is online.





Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators active in the course. Feel free to read and respond to others comments. 

Assignment #1: Introduce Yourself

Introduce yourself in a two-page paper (single-spaced, 400-500 words). Include your background, experience in education, and reasons for taking this course or create a video introduction at You’ll want to set up the grid first and then embed the URL. 

Post your response, or for video responses, upload the URL information for the video in your response box.

Assignment #2: Understanding Trauma & ACES In The Classroom

Read pages 1-38 and watch the TED talk How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime by Nadine Burke Harris. How are adverse childhood experiences related to health over a lifetime and life expectancy?  

Here's the link to the video:


In a 600-750 word (2-3 page) response, please address the following questions:

Use bullet points. They format better.

1) What is a definition of trauma?

2) What does research show us about the prevalence of trauma in school-age children?

3) What is the ACE study and what does it measure? What does research show in terms of impact and outcomes for those with an ACE score of four or above?

4) Please answer #6 in the course text questions on page 24: “Given the information above, how might you shift your approach in working with these vulnerable children.

5) Take (or re-take) the ACES test. Given what you know and have learned about ACES, how might your own ACES score relate to how you approach both your work with students experiencing trauma and your approach to self-care?

Link to ACES test:

Post your response.

Assignment #3: Self Awareness & Self-Care

Read pages 39-54. Answer the questions on page 50 in a personal journal entry. You do not need to share all of your answers to these questions with me or others, but please choose one to share. You may upload a picture of your journal entry or send the typed text of your writing. Complete the mission statement writing exercise and choose any three of the seven reflexive questions on pages 53-54 to answer in a minimum of a paragraph each. Upload your mission statement, and reflexive question answers, along with your journal entry. 

Assignment #4: Upstairs Brain, Downstairs Brain

Read pages 55-75. Create a poster showing ‘upstairs brain’ and ‘downstairs brain’ that show common triggers, thoughts, nervous system responses, and techniques involved in each in a visual representation of the information. Upload a picture of your poster. In a 250-word response (one page), please answer question #7 on pages 65 and 75. What is the goal that you created (for question #7 page 75)?

Assignment #5: Effective Communication

Read pages 76-87. Create a slideshow presentation explaining the six communication steps described in this section. Include why and how each can be used and give at least one example. You may use Google Slides, PowerPoint, Prezi, or Adobe Spark to create this slideshow.

Post your response.

Assignment #6: The Power of Relationships

Read pages 90-112. Reflect on teachers you have had who were willing and able to establish a positive educational relationship with you and reflect on your own willingness and ability to “show up” and be present in your professional relationships with your students. Record a video describing a teacher who had an important impact on you or a student that you believe would say (or perhaps has said) that you had a positive impact on them. Use a pseudonym for any student that you discuss, rather than using any actual names of students.Use  to record your video.  You will also set up the grid for this. 

Once you have created your video response, upload the URL information for the video in your response box.

Assignment #7: Control, Focus, & Power Struggles

Read pages 113-131.  Using a pseudonym rather than any actual student names, complete the reflexive questions on page 122 in a 500 word (two-page) response. If you are not currently teaching, think of a student or other youth that you have worked with as you answer these questions.

Post your response.

Assignment #8: The Power of Belief

Read pages 134-147. Work through the questions on pages 143 and 144, thinking of a student you have had or that you know who has struggled, who may be, or have been impacted by trauma. Record your answers to these questions as a personal journal entry and then create a chart showing the strengths, the lagging skills, and the unmet needs of this student. Use a pseudonym for the student name. 
Post your response.

Assignment #9: Fear & Vulnerability

Read pages 148-167. Watch the following video on fear and vulnerability:

In a 600-750 (2 - 3 page) response, describe how vulnerability is related to trauma and how this may appear in interactions with students, in the ability to learn, and in the school environment. In addition, create a poster or infographic of a “vulnerability shield” that shows several of the common things that may be used to deflect vulnerability (anger, for example). This could be created as something to post in your classroom for reference with students, as mentioned by Dr. Brown in the video.
Post your response.

Assignment #10: Grace, Giving & Commitment to Self-Care

Read pages 170-200.  Create the chart on page 99, fig. 16.1. Complete each task of the Self Care Challenge and upload your completed chart in the response box.



In this section you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators active in the course. Feel free to read and respond to others comments. 


Assignment #11: Lesson Plan

Create a lesson plan to directly teach students about critical social-emotional skills related to self-regulation, resilience, the nervous system (as it relates to trauma response), brain function or another topic covered in this course. Implement this lesson and write a short reflection (250-500 words) on what went well, what you learned, and how you may refine the lesson in the future, if at all.  Post your response. You may use the Heritage Institute Lesson Template or any template of your choosing.

Post your response.

Assignment #12: Additional Resources

Find five resources online that provide additional learning in any of the following areas: trauma-informed teaching, trauma and the brain, and/or self-care for teachers. These may be YouTube videos, articles, studies, and curriculum materials. Create a bibliography of these resources and include 1-2 paragraphs with each resource explaining what you learned from it and how you will use it in your teaching practice.

Post your response.

Assignment #13: Implementation Plan

Identify five things that your current school or district or previous school or district could initiate or change in order to better serve the needs of students experiencing trauma and teachers working with traumatized students. (If you are not associated with a school or district, develop a plan that could be implemented at most schools and districts). Your plan may include professional development, wellness time/activities, specific interventions, supports, curricula, communication plan, etc. You can write this plan (500 to 750 words), or create a slideshow (minimum 8 slides).  
Post your response.

Assignment #14: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete the following assignment AND two (2) additional options below (A, B, and C).

Read the following paper:

Answer the following questions in a 2 to 3 page (600-750 word) reflection paper:

  • What is the relationship between attachment and trauma?
  • What are some of the specific ways that teachers can have a positive effect on the coping strategies of trauma-impacted students?
  • What are some of the implications for teacher stress, Self-care, and boundaries in doing the kind of work suggested in this article?

Complete two of the following:

Option A) Presentation
Prepare a Powerpoint, Keynote or video presentation that you can show to staff or parents that explains common impacts of trauma on students and demonstrates strategies to support trauma-impacted students in the classroom. Slideshows should be a minimum of 8 slides and videos should be a minimum of 2 minutes in length.
Option B) Research Paper

Identify three research studies related to student trauma, trauma-sensitive practices, and/or student motivation at either the elementary, middle school or high school (select the grade level you are teaching or planning on teaching). Write a 250-500 word summary of each of the studies, identifying any common findings and determine how you would apply the findings in your classroom teaching and planning.
Option C) Create an Assignment

Another assignment of your own design with the instructor’s prior approval.


Assignment #15: (Required for 400 and 500 Level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Please indicate by email to the instructor if you would like to receive comments on your assignments.


Stacey Shaw, Ed.D, has years of experience as a principal and instructor at the high school, middle school, and elementary school levels. She has taught all ages, from kindergarten through college, in subjects ranging from English Language Arts and Social Studies to English as a Second Language and Spanish. 

Stacey learned a second language as an adult and understands first-hand the processes involved in second language acquisition. She has a passion for language and a track record of developing highly successful ELL and Spanish literacy programs for second language learners.

Stacey received her Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in 1992. Her undergraduate studies focused on bilingual education, Spanish language, and Latin American Studies. She received her Master of Arts in Education from Prescott College in 2003 and her Doctorate of Educational Leadership at Lewis and Clark College in 2022.



Alexander, J. (2019). Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools: Your Guide to Creating Safe, Supportive Learning Environments for All Students

Craig, S.E. (2015) Trauma-Sensitive Schools: Learning Communities Transforming Children's Lives, K–5

Denton, P. & Bechtel, L. ( 2015). The Power of Our Words: Teacher Language that Helps Children Learn. The Center for Responsive Schools. Turners Falls, MA

Jennings, P. A. (2019). The Trauma Sensitive Classroom: Building Resilience with Compassionate Teaching. W.W. Norton and Co. New York, NY.

Romero, V. E., Robertson, R. & Warner, A. N. (2018) Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Whole-Staff Approach

Souers, K. & Hall, P. (2016). Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom. ASCD. Alexandria, VA.

Souers, K. & Hall, P. (2019). Relationship, responsibility and regulation: Trauma-invested practices for fostering resilient learners. ASCD. Alexandra, VA.

Sorrels, B. (2015) Reaching & Teaching Children Exposed to Trauma

Sporleder, J. & Forbes, H. T. (2016) The Trauma-Informed School: A Step-by-Step Implementation Guide for Administrators and School Personnel

Nadine Burke Harris: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

Brene Brown: Daring Classrooms | SXSWedu 2017

ACES: Take The ACE Quiz — And Learn What It Does And Doesn't Mean

'I Didn't Know It Had a Name': Secondary Traumatic Stress and Educators