Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

Delores McNair, Ed.D.

First Committee Member

Laura Hallberg, Ed.D.

Second Committee Member

Nancy Huante-Tzintzun, Ph.D.


Trauma exposure is endemic, and this study seeks to address childhood trauma in a compassionate and restorative manner. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are serious childhood traumas that manifest as toxic stress which can damage the developing brain of a child and affect overall health. The implications are expressed dualistically: academic performance of youth is subdued & diminished, and behavioral interactions can range from unreceptive to erratic and aggressive. Trauma exposure is a predictor of adverse outcomes, which range from higher rates of suspension, expulsion, and incarceration, to dire outcomes, such as lower life expectancy and quality of life. Streamlining trauma-informed curriculum and restorative behavioral responses will ensure that resilient and nurturing classrooms mediate and heal our nation’s youth. Instead of disproven and punitive, zero-tolerance consequences, schools must familiarize themselves with the effects of trauma, anticipate traumatic reactions, and respond accordingly. This study reveals how trauma-informed care informs trauma-informed curriculum and trauma-sensitive schools. A consistent and effective response to childhood trauma exposure is the missing link in our nation’s educational system.