Giving Compass' Take:

• Jane Meredith Adams explains how a trauma-informed approach to special education can improve the scores of the poorest performers: emotionally disturbed students.

• How can funders increase support for emotionally disturbed students?

• Learn more about the benefits of addressing trauma in communities

Students diagnosed as emotionally disturbed perform the poorest of all students in special education, although they have no cognitive deficits. More than two out of five students with emotional or behavioral disorders, such as severe depression or aggressive behavior, leave high school before graduating, research has shown, and four years after high school, nearly three out of five have been arrested.

Now a pilot program is hoping it can better help these children by addressing what may be the root cause of many of their behaviors: trauma they’ve endured at home or in their neighborhoods.

The pilot program, which won a $3 million Investing in Innovations grant from the U.S. Department of Education in December, will roll out this fall at seven Oakland and San Francisco schools. The schools are located in neighborhoods where reports to police and Child Protective Services of violence, child abuse, and neglect are high, according to Seneca Family of Agencies.

The three-year pilot program will test the theory that training adults in a school community about the effects of trauma on young minds will help all students at school socially and academically, especially special education students with emotional and behavioral disorders. The program also seeks to provide new systems to coordinate and evaluate academic, behavioral and mental health interventions and create a positive school climate.

Read the source article on trauma-informed approach to behavioral disorders by Jane Meredith Adams at EdSource.