Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




Attitudes Related to Trauma-Informed Care (ARTIC) Questionnaire, Critical Lens, Inclusive Leadership, Multi-tiered Approach to Trauma Supports in Schools, Ontario Leadership Framework (OLF), and Trauma.


The organization at the centre of this Improvement Plan is a school board in Ontario. The problem of practice (POP) being addressed is the inadequate integration of trauma-sensitive practices in educator pedagogies and in school policies and procedures. Currently, there is a lack of awareness and understanding of the potential impacts of trauma and toxic stress on student learning and development among educators and decision-makers throughout the school board. Without a thorough understanding of these potential impacts, it is challenging for educators to know how to best support trauma-affected students and help them experience success in their academics. Within her role as a psychoeducational clinician, the author will demonstrate a Trauma-informed Inclusive Leadership framework to drive the change process. This framework is inspired by the structure of the Ontario Leadership Framework (OLF) (Leithwood, 2012; The Institute for Education Leadership, 2013); and is influenced by critical and social justice lenses and the core principles of trauma-informed care (Phifer & Hull, 2016; SAMHSA, 2014). The Trauma-informed Inclusive Leadership framework encourages authentic leadership behaviours from many different school board members, including: administrators, parents, teachers, support staff and students (Hollander, 2009, pp. 3-8; Hitt & Tucker, 2016; Leithwood, 2012; Leithwood & Azah, 2014; The Institute for Education Leadership, 2013). This style of leadership is reciprocal rather than exclusively hierarchical and is exercised through relationships between and among individuals and groups, which aligns well with the school board’s Engagement Model (Organization X, 2019).

The strategy for change is to create a multi-tiered flexible framework for providing education, resources and supports to educators and students so that they can become trauma-informed and implement trauma-sensitive strategies in their school settings (Phifer & Hull, 2016; Reinbergs & Fefer, 2018). As educators learn how a number of the strategies they intuitively demonstrate are already having a positive impact on trauma-affected students and begin to integrate new trauma-sensitive practices into their pedagogies, trusting relationships will continue to form and be reinforced between them and their students. This will positively impact student outcomes, as well as educator job satisfaction (Carello & Butler, 2015; Perry & Daniels, 2016; Phifer & Hull, 2016; Walkley & Cox, 2013). Over time, a sustainable trauma-informed approach to education will be cultivated throughout the school board, helping the school board to achieve its mission of fostering the success of every student, every day (Organization X, 2019).