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  • Writer's pictureJerica Knox, PhD

Individual Work on Trauma-Informed Care and Cultural Responsiveness

Jerica Knox, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Summer is an important time for many school personnel to engage in much needed rest and enjoyable activities. It may also be a time to engage in individual reflections around topics often discussed in school professional development, such as trauma responsiveness, school mental health, and culturally responsive, anti-racism, and equitable (CARE) practices. The NCS3 staff has committed to self-reflection and continuous learning related to these topics and have created a list of resources to continue this engagement throughout the summer. Below, we provide a few of our favorite books, podcasts, and other resources to keep you informed over the next month.

On Trauma

  • The Deepest Well by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris provides a riveting account of her research on adverse childhood experiences. She begins by telling the story of her young patient, Diego, who seems to have stopped growing after being sexually assaulted. She then goes on a journey to discovering the influence of adverse childhood experiences on human biology. A powerful story of discovery, perseverance, and dedication to humanity, The Deepest Well is excellent for understanding the consequences of trauma and stress.

  • My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem. In the past two decades, society has expanded its conceptualization of traumatic experiences from war to everyday experiences of abuse and neglect. In My Grandmother’s Hands, Resmaa Menakem calls for society to consider racism as a potentially traumatic experience. The book provides context behind the effects of racism on human biology as well as offers steps for healing based on current research in neuroscience.

On School Mental Health

  • Dear School Psych Sistah Podcast. On the go? No problem! Try out a podcast. The Dear School Psych Sistah Podcast offers listeners authentic dialogue and discussion surrounding school mental health and navigating school systems as a woman of color in the field of school psychology. Topics include culturally affirming assessment of English language learners, rural school mental health, and moving from the teaching to school mental health profession.

  • School Mental Health Quality Guide: Funding and Sustainability. Funding and sustainability are two important topics for promoting comprehensive school mental health. The National Center for School Mental Health created a quality guide that provides readers with strategies to optimize schools’ financial and non-financial assets to improve school mental health systems. The guide also provides best practices and examples for sustaining such practices.


  • The Leading Equity Podcast. This podcast provides educators with the knowledge, tools, and resources necessary to promote equitable practices and policies within schools. Such topics discussed include addressing racial slurs in schools, increasing family and community voice in schools, and creating feelings of belonging in immigrant students.

  • Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond. Struggling to fully grasp culturally responsive teaching? Zaretta Hammond eloquently teaches readers about what culturally responsive teaching is by drawing on neuroscience research. The book includes information on how culture programs the brain and influences the processing of data as well as strategies for preparing students to become independent learners.


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