Trauma Tools as Schools Stagger Forward

Trauma Tools as Schools Stagger Forward

Karen Gross 17/08/2020 5
Trauma Tools as Schools Stagger Forward


  1. Consider downloading The Feeling Alphabet Activity Set (co-authored with Dr. Ed Wang). This allows students (and parents/teachers) to identify their negative and positive feelings. The point is that the start of addressing trauma is to name what one is occurring within oneself and recognize what one is feeling. There is no way to tame trauma (and feelings) if you can’t name it (them). This activity set also has a myriad of suggestions for play too — coloring in letters (or copying their design), charades, feeling word searches, feeling thought bubbles. It will be available on Georgia, Cambria, "Times New Roman", at the end of August, and it too will be right priced to make it accessible to many.


  2. There are instructions for completing Trauma Responsive Tool Boxes, which can be filled with a myriad of different items that can be adapted to the age and stage of the user. Use of what’s in the toolbox is beneficial but so is just seeing the tool box and recognizing that others see what is occurring and have a name for it and own it and recognize it. Completed toolbox samples will also be available. These will be


  3. Consider purchasing We See You/Te Vemos. This is a bilingual book (English and Spanish) that is printed on indestructible paper. Perfect for the pandemic — it can be cleaned off and wiped down. It can be read to and with younger children. It can be used with older children to learn a new language. It has suggestions in English and Spanish for games that are keyed into the book. Then, there are multi-racial characters and the theme is object constancy, something that is critical in this time of change and loss and separation. It is available at Amazon and

    We See You

    Spanish Book

  4. For adults who want to learn more about trauma and trauma symptomology and strategies for its amelioration (it never disappears), there is my new adult book: Trauma Doesn’t Stop at the School Door: Strategies and Solutions for Educators PreK-College. It was released on June 22, 2020 by Teachers College Press and is available through them at or at Amazon. There is an ebook version too. The key to the book is that it grounds theory in practice and has concrete suggestions that can be replicated and scaled and adopted or adapted.
    Trauma Doesnt Stop at the School Door

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  • Mike Dean

    Dealing with childhood trauma is so hard.

  • Tom Moore

    Excellent article

  • Andy Kitchman

    It really does make a world of difference.

  • Vicki Hipwell

    You are so wonderful, intelligent, articulate, and relatable.

  • Bob Paterson

    Really refreshing

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Karen Gross

Higher Education Expert

Karen is an educator and an author. Prior to becoming a college president, she was a tenured law professor for two plus decades. Her academic areas of expertise include trauma, toxic stress, consumer finance, overindebtedness and asset building in low income communities. She currently serves as Senior Counsel at Finn Partners Company. From 2011 to 2013, She served (part and full time) as Senior Policy Advisor to the US Department of Education in Washington, DC. She was the Department's representative on the interagency task force charged with redesigning the transition assistance program for returning service members and their families. From 2006 to 2014, she was President of Southern Vermont College, a small, private, affordable, four-year college located in Bennington, VT. In Spring 2016, she was a visiting faculty member at Bennington College in VT. She also teaches part-time st Molly Stark Elementary School, also in Vt. She is also an Affiliate of the Penn Center for MSIs. She is the author of adult and children’s books, the most recent of which are titled Breakaway Learners (adult) and  Lucy’s Dragon Quest. Karen holds a bachelor degree in English and Spanish from Smith College and Juris Doctor degree (JD) in Law from Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law.


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