Learn More

Ms. Jen’s trauma-sensitive school presentations and seminars are grounded in neuroscience yet focused on practical suggestions for helping educators, counselors, administrators, as well as other helpers create safe, supportive school environments that utilize a multi-tiered system of support to meet the needs of all learners, including youth who have experienced trauma.

Every summer, Ms. Jen hosts a trauma-sensitive schools training institute at Hartman Reserve in Cedar Falls, IA. Participants learn how to build trauma-sensitive schools and rejuvenate while doing it at this beautiful setting in the woods!

Specifically, educators who train with Ms. Jen gain an understanding of how childhood trauma impacts attendance, behavior, and academic achievement in every single classroom, every day. Teams also learn how to work with colleagues to care for their own well being as well as help all students in both preventive and responsive ways. This includes an emphasis on developing trauma-sensitive discipline practices as well as action plans that prioritize high levels of learning through a commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice for all people.

Ms. Jen helps teams improve school culture, support the development of social and emotional learning competencies, improve academic skills, and foster freedom. A variety of options are offered, ranging from a 45-minute keynote presentation introducing participants to the trauma-sensitive mindset necessary for better understanding and beginning to meet the needs of traumatized students, to multi-day trainings, depending on desired outcomes. Presentations focused on educator self-care or trauma-sensitive school leadership in addition to other topics are available upon request.


Jen Alexander presenting at the Attachment & Trauma Network’s National Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools Conference in Washington DC – February, 2019

For several years, Ms. Jen has been traveling part-time to train educators while also working as a professional school counselor in Iowa. She has facilitated many national conference presentations and onsite professional development seminars for school districts, colleges, and other organizations based on the teachings in her bestselling book Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools: Your Guide to Creating Safe, Supportive Learning Environments for All Students. Reviews from participants are always positive. Below are a few examples of comments from educators who have been in attendance. Each is shared with permission. Contact information for other references is available upon request.

Ten minutes into the training and I knew I was in PD where I would learn something useful about the real struggles of every day teaching and learning! – Lana Wanders, Preschool Teacher, North Mahaska Schools

I learned that 1 in 4 students has had school success negatively impacted by trauma. We should treat everyone as if they have experienced trauma so that we can meet the needs of all kids and no one is overlooked. – Sam Speaker, Grades 6-7 Language Arts Teacher, Starmont Community School District

This training helps educators better understand the impact of trauma and attachment issues on student success. Ms. Jen helps professionals change their perceptions and reactions to behaviors, which results in positive learning outcomes for students. – Jenny Becker, University of Northern Iowa, Social Work


Starting in the summer of 2020, Ms. Jen Alexander will be traveling full time to provide training and consultation to educators and other professionals. Phone or Zoom consultation sessions will be offered as well.

If you’re curious about what these trauma-sensitive school learning opportunities could look like in your community, know that most districts or organizations start with a one, two, or three-day training institute for all staff. These days can be consecutive or spread out and are often followed by team consultation with Ms. Jen as professionals carry out their action plans. Follow-up seminars are scheduled as needed and tailored to each group’s needs based on collaboration with the leadership team.

Generally speaking, each 6.0 hour day of school-wide training addresses one Level of Ms. Jen’s trauma-sensitive schools training institute. Day one is devoted to level I, day two is level II, and day three is level III. Details for each level are described below.

Level I: Exploring What Works & Why

How can you build responsive, trauma-sensitive PreK–12 schools where all students learn and thrive? Get practical answers from trauma expert Jen Alexander in this informative and engaging training session. An experienced teacher, trainer, and author of the bestselling book Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools: Your Guide to Creating Safe, Supportive Learning Environments for All Students, Jen Alexander will introduce you and your team to all the basics you need to know, including what trauma is, how it affects children or teens, and what educators or other helpers can do to mitigate these effects so that every student feels safe and ready to learn.

PARTICIPANTS WILL:

  • Discover the four essentials of trauma-sensitive schools
  • Recognize the complex ways trauma can affect children’s bodies, emotions, behavior, learning, and relationships
  • Develop a trauma-informed mindset
  • Receive guidance on building a trauma-sensitive learning environment within a multi-tier system of support (MTSS)
  • Learn about resilience factors and how to help students develop them
  • Understand why restorative discipline practices are more effective than traditional approaches
  • Strengthen a personal self-care plan to avoid burnout

Level II: Creating a Plan for Change

How can you use trauma-informed response to intervention (RTI) to help meet the needs of all students from PreK to Grade 12 and beyond? In this session, get practical answers from trauma expert Jen Alexander and author of the bestselling book Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools: Your Guide to Creating Safe, Supportive Learning Environments for All Students. Open to educators who have already completed Ms. Jen’s Level 1 training, this informative and engaging seminar dives deeper, showing you how to create an effective trauma-informed RTI plan for your school and develop a personalized self-care plan to help you navigate your own stress.

PARTICIPANTS WILL:

  • Identify Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 trauma-informed interventions that are already in place in your school
  • Create a concrete action plan you can put to work right away to help your students
  • Practice using the innovative “River of Feelings” visual and the accompanying activities to help students improve regulation skills
  • Practice trauma-sensitive mindfulness and create a personalized self-care plan

Level III: Meeting the Needs of Severely Traumatized Youth

How can you build responsive, trauma-sensitive PreK–12 schools where the needs of all students are met, including those who have experienced severe trauma? Get practical answers from trauma expert Jen Alexander in this informative and engaging training session. An experienced teacher, trainer, and author of the bestselling book Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools: Your Guide to Creating Safe, Supportive Learning Environments for All Students, Jen Alexander will introduce you and your team to advanced strategies that will enable you to successfully meet the individual behavioral needs of severely traumatized youth. If you and your team are ready to help both students and educators begin to heal from the high stress states they are experiencing so that everyone is ready for teaching and learning, this is the training you need.

PARTICIPANTS WILL:

  • Understand the signs of secondary traumatic stress and identify ways to prevent burnout
  • Explain the four attachment styles as they relate to relationship patterns in the school setting
  • Apply learnings related to Ms. Jen’s preventive measures to improve traumatized students’ individualized plans or programs
  • Identify Tier 3 interventions appropriate for severely traumatized youth
  • Practice communication marked by playfulness, acceptance, curiosity, and empathy

For more information or to schedule training events, please reach out via email at MsJenAlexander@gmail.com. I look very much look forward to serving you! ~ Ms. Jen

“On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being very important, how important do you think it is it to train all educators in building trauma-sensitive schools?”