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Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences - Book Cover Look Inside

Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences

A Whole-Staff Approach

By: Victoria Elaine Romero, Ricky Robertson, Amber Nicole Warner

Discover how to make a whole-school change to establish a healthy social-emotional climate for students impacted by adverse childhood experiences and the staff who support them.

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781544319414
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2018
  • Page Count: 248
  • Publication date: June 11, 2018

Price: $33.95

Price: $33.95
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Use trauma-informed strategies to give students the skills and support they need to succeed in school and life

Nearly half of all children have been exposed to at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE), such as poverty, divorce, neglect, homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence, or parent incarceration. These students often enter school with behaviors that don’t blend well with the typical school environment. How can a school community come together and work as a whole to establish a healthy social-emotional climate for students and the staff who support them? 

This workbook-style resource shows K-12 educators how to make a whole-school change, where strategies are integrated from curb to classroom. Readers will learn how to integrate trauma-informed strategies into daily instructional practice through expanded focus on:

  • The different experiences and unique challenges of students impacted by ACEs in urban, suburban, and rural schools, including suicidal tendencies, cyberbullying, and drugs
  • Behavior as a form of communication and how to explicitly teach new behaviors
  • How to mitigate trauma and build innate resiliency through a read, reflect, and respond model 

Let this book be the tool that helps your teams move students away from the school-to-prison pipeline and toward a life rich with educational and career choices.

“I cannot think of a book more needed than this one.  It gives us the tools to support our students who have the most need while practicing the self-care necessary to continue to serve them.”

—Lydia Adegbola, Chair of English Department
New Rochelle High School, NY 

“This book highlights the impact of trauma on children and the adults who work with them, while providing relevant and practical strategies to understand and address it through reflective practices.”
—Marine Avagyan, Director, Curriculum and Instruction
Saugus Union School District, Sunland, CA

Transform your school with trauma-informed strategies for teacher and student well-being. Learn more about consulting.


Victoria Elaine Romero photo

Victoria Elaine Romero

Victoria Romero is an educator with over 42 years of experience working as a classroom teacher, principal, instructional and leadership coach. A principal in two turnaround schools, she continues to coach administrators, directors, principals, vice principals, and school leadership teams for equity and sustainable school improvement in three school districts in Washington state.

Victoria is a certified consultant for Corwin/Sage Publishers and lead author for two Corwin Press books, Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Whole Staff Approach (2018) and Race Resilience: Achieving Equity Through Self and Systems Transformation (2021). Both these books delve the impact of traumatization as it relates to social-emotional needs of White and students of color and how to create school cultures that foster resilience. In the latter work, she outlines a guide to support school staff in engaging in authentic dialogue about how our racialization and racial positioning influences our perceptions, behaviors, expectations, and decisions. Her guiding conceptual framework is systems will change when the people working in them change.

Ricky Robertson photo

Ricky Robertson

Ricky Robertson has had the privilege to work with students from PreK to 12th grade who have persevered in the face of adversity and trauma. As a consultant and coach, he assists schools in developing trauma-informed systems of support and restorative practices that foster resilience and success for staff and students. His relationship-based approach to teaching resulted in his student passing rates on state math assessments improving from 55% to over 90%. He was featured on PBS's American Graduate in 2013 because of this work. Ricky currently holds a teaching credential (K-12 Special Education) and Washington State school administrator certification. As a teacher, behavior specialist, and coach, he has worked in K-12 traditional and alternative schools. He holds a master’s degree in education from City College of New York and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Western Governors University. Ricky is the co-author of Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Whole-Staff Approach.

Amber Nicole Warner photo

Amber Nicole Warner

Amber N. Warner is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with over 20 years of experience. She has had the privilege of serving as a community outreach case manager (4 years), school social worker (8 years), medical social worker (5 years) , and behavioral health therapist (3 years). As a School Social Worker, in addition to her work with children and their families, she was part of the school wide Modern Red School House Leadership Team and the Positive Behavior Interventions and Systems Team. She facilitated K-6 monthly classroom discussions utilizing Second Step and Character Counts curriculums. Amber is also a co-author of Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Whole Staff Approach.

In 2011 Amber worked in healthcare and part of the organization’s leadership team, she was introduced to the work of Dr. Bryan Sexton on healthcare providers’ staggering burnout rates and the healing proponents of Positive Psychology. A new passion and interest developed for her. She became a Certified Duke Patient Safety Officer in 2013 at Duke University’s Patient Safety Center.
Amber has also studied under the direction of Dr. David Burns, leading Psychiatrist, and adjunct professor at Stanford University and the developer of TEAM a new form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the treatment of depression and anxiety. She has achieved Level 2 TEAM certification from the Feeling Good Institute.
She has a certification from the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth in Trauma-Informed Care.

Most of all, Amber has a passion for people, their wellness, and quality of life. She currently resides in California. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, Inferno Pilates, learning new things, traveling, community service, attending church, and an occasional new pair of shoes.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Gary R. Howard



About the Authors

Chapter 1 ACEs and the New Normal

     ACEs Are an Equal Opportunity Occurrence

     Lost in Translation

     The New Normal

Chapter 2 Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask Before Helping Others

     Burnout or Compassion Fatigue?

     The New Normal: A Case Study Intervention

     Self-Care Is an Ethical Imperative


Chapter 3 It’s Easy to Have High Expectations—Hard to Grow a New Mindset

     Knowing Myself Precedes Teaching Students

     Knowing My Students and Knowing Pedagogy-Growing Mindset

     Knowing My Strengths, Knowing the Strengths of My Students Fosters Resiliency

     “I Can’t Learn From You Because You’re White”

     Progress Not Perfection

     Knowing Myself and Responding to Change Are About Self-Care

     Knowing Myself Matters—Because When Negative Bias Shows Up, Students Are Miseducated

     Good Teaching Is Not Enough—The New Normal Warrants Transformationist Teaching

Chapter 4 The Effects of Trauma on the Brain

     Acknowledging That Trauma Is Sitting in the Classroom Is Transformational Teaching

     ACEs and Learning

     ACEs and Behavior

     Trauma Has Many Forms

     If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Chapter 5 Teaching Behaviors, Differentiating Interventions, Changing Pedagogy

     Relationships Precede Learning

     Talk, Trust, Feel, Repair

     Schools and Classrooms Have a Culture and Culture Is Learned

     Response to Intervention (RTI)

     Looking at Behavior Management Through a Trauma-Informed Lens

     Change Is Hard and Leadership Matters

     Talk, Trust, Feel, Repair: My Rookie Year

     Schools Are Ideal for Social Working

Chapter 6 Plan With the End in Mind: Visioning a Compassionate School

     The Innovative School District PreK–12th Grades

     SEL Data Team/Self-Assessment Checklist

     Case Study: ISD’s Response to Behavior Interventions

     Changing Positions to Change Lives

     What Does It Mean to Work in a Trauma-Informed School or School District?

Chapter 7 From Theory to Practice: Transformationist Actions Convert ACEs to Aces

     Transformationist Schools and School Districts

     Transformationist Instructional Staff

     Transformationist School Counselors and School-Based Social Workers

     Transformationist School Psychologists and School Nurses

     Transformationist Support Staff (Office, Cafeteria, Custodial, Bus Drivers)

Chapter 8 The Process, the Plan, the Transformation

     The Process

     Step 1: Assessing Capacity

     Step 2: Building Capacity

     Step 3: Implementation

     Step 4: Evaluating Program Effectiveness

     Where Is Our Sense of Urgency?

     The Plan: Implementation Guide to Transformation


     Evaluation and Planning

Chapter 9 In Their Own Words

     Antwone Fisher

     Cleressa Brown

     Conor Black

     Maria Gonzales

     The Salomon Martinez Family

Additional Reading and Resources

Glossary of Terms