Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Brydon-Miller, Mary

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Johnson, Detra D.

Committee Member

Johnson, Detra D.

Committee Member

Rivers, Ishwanzya

Committee Member

Buecker, Harrie

Author's Keywords

Trauma; trauma-informed care; urban school district; school principals


This qualitative phenomenological study attempts to add to the literature by shedding light on the best practices for fostering and applying effective trauma-informed care (TIC) in schools and the educational practices and policies through human experience elements. Creating trauma-sensitive, safe, and supportive schools requires a new discernment among principals. It also requires holistic changes to transform school, culture, build supporting infrastructure, and alter curriculum content and intervention (McInerney & McKlindon, 2014). TIC refers to treating the whole person mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically. This study interview 14 principals' perspectives in a large urban school district to discover what practices, procedures, and policies were implemented to address student traumas and TIC within their buildings. TIC considers past trauma and the resulting coping mechanisms when attempting to understand behaviors and treat the students. By not addressing this matter, more children will more than likely continue to walk into schools in which educators may mistake trauma for misbehavior, specifically for students of color (Mader, 2019).