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Student Well-Being

As schools seek to address intensified student well-being issues and effectively accelerate learning, principals are key to creating effective learning and instructional environments that reach the greatest number of students. Efforts to build the capacity of principals are essential to addressing the negative well-being and academic impacts of the pandemic.

Through IMPACT, principals learn to develop their teachers’ ability to identify and respond to students experiencing trauma. Principals learn to assist teachers in recognizing signs of trauma, such as difficulty engaging and trouble managing emotions. Further, principals need to ensure teachers can respond to student well-being needs with interventions which support students’ in both the short- and long-term. This includes increasing their self-awareness and trauma competency, developing school-wide structures for behavior management that focus on positive reinforcement, establishing identity-safety classrooms, and avoiding bias in the design and delivery of mental health interventions. MLDS enhanced content through IMPACT provides professional development and mentorship for principals specifically target the development of these skills in principals.

Student Well-Being is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change in difficult times ( Supporting student well-being includes the principles, tools and strategies that assist students and educators. The purpose is to develop the self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making and interpersonal skills essential to student and educator success.

Increased focus on student well-being helps establish the capacity to regulate behavior, strengthen school-based relationships, and improve classroom and school climate and culture. Providing principals with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to guide their teachers in enhancing well-being for themselves and their students is key to student and educator success.

Trauma is the response to an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is physically or emotionally harmful and that has lasting adverse effects on an individual. Trauma can have a broad impact on students, including on their behaviors, relationships, and capacity for learning.

Educators are trauma-informed when they understand the impact of trauma, recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma, and respond in an informed manner that provides support and avoids re-traumatization. Educators who become trauma-informed are better equipped to support students that have experienced trauma and facilitate personally and academically beneficial outcomes for the students they serve.

Building principals' capacity to be trauma-informed assists them in expanding both their own and other’s abilities to recognize students experiencing trauma and to develop and respond with classroom-level and school-wide interventions.

Four New Tenets into the MLDS Framework

Student Well-Being and Trauma-Informed materials incorporate four new tenets into the MLDS framework. These four tenets are essential elements of building both educator and student well-being.

Research indicates having at least one trusted school adult can protect against a variety of mental health factors, improve student engagement and academic outcomes (Roorda et. al, 2011). Positive student-teacher relationships have also been tied to higher-quality teaching (Li et. al, 2022). The relationships encourage teacher motivation, effort, and confidence. Moreover, teacher-student relationships may also improve teacher well-being by mitigating certain classroom stressors, demonstrating their impact not just for students but also for school adults (Spilt et. al, 2011). As the pandemic frayed or broke many relationship structures, it is especially important now, for teachers and students, to have the support to rebuild relationships.

Models for student well-being attempt to identify the factors shown to be related to success in the world. Included in these models are skills such as self-management, self-awareness, relationships/engagement with others, and emotional regulation (Greenberg, 2023; Chernyshenko et. al, 2018). Developing these skills in educators and in students is important for student well-being and academic success. For example, students who receive instruction on these skills show improvement in academic performance, decision-making and problem solving skills, and reducing disruptive behavioral problems (Mahoney et. al, 2019; Green et. al, 2021; Greenberg, 2023).

Student well-being at school is intricately tied to school culture and climate. Student well-being efforts both support and build upon a strong school culture and climate (Pennsylvania State University, 2018). Principals are key to building a supportive school climate and developing responses to students’ well-being needs. Moreover, “Principals who build a school climate in which teachers and students feel emotionally supported provide a bedrock on which academic improvement efforts can rest” (Grissom et al., 2021). Principals are critical in organizing schools which help students feel safe and supported (Jacobson et al., 2007).

Trauma is prevalent in our schools, more than two thirds of children report at least one traumatic event by age 16 (SAMSHA, 2019). Trauma is the result from an event or events which is physically or emotionally harmful and has lasting adverse effects (SAMHSA, 2014). One measure, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can help educators understand the types of trauma children may have experienced. Children exposed to adverse childhood experiences, such as many experienced during the pandemic, often exhibit challenges with skills critical for success in school such as executive functioning, social skills, and emotional regulation (Jones et al., 2021). Educators therefore must be equipped with the skills to recognize and respond appropriately to trauma to ensure student well-being and academic success.

Stressed Student in Class


The goal of IMPACT is to provide principals with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to guide their teachers in addressing the needs of students and support the development of productive relationships and personal well-being in both teachers and students.

Complete the form below and an MLDS representative from your region will follow up with you to complete enrollment in the MLDS program or provide you the value of MLDS. There is no cost to you or your district.
You may also leave a message at 617-423-1444 (CTAC) or 573-751-7986 (DESE) and one of our team members will contact you soon.