trauma-informed education Certificate

Offered fully online, Hiram’s graduate certificate in trauma-informed education will address foundational knowledge of ACEs and childhood trauma, while looking at short- and long-term impacts of trauma on development and behavior, and the role of brain architecture and development in understanding and responding to trauma.

For more information about the program, please reach out to Roxanne Sorrick, Ed.D., professor of education at

About the Program

Program Summary

The program will explore Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) in promoting relationships and resilience based on emerging research about mitigating the impacts of trauma. Additionally, culturally and individually responsive understandings will guide all readings and discussions. The program recognizes that adults working with children often experience secondary trauma and encourages self-care strategies.

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Student Target

  • Kindergarten through grade 12 teachers
  • Social workers
  • Childcare providers
  • Education-related professionals
Roxanne Sorrick

ROXANNE SORRICK | Professor of Education

“Our certificate in Trauma-Informed Education uses research and best practice to empower professionals with the background knowledge and strategies necessary to meet the needs of children.”

Image: Students in the Kennedy Cetner

additional information

Courses are held online in an asynchronous and 8-week format, with one course offered per semester. If taken in sequential order, students could complete the program in four semesters. Courses may also be taken individually without enrolling in the certificate program. The certificate program may be applied toward the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) degree at Hiram College.

Course Information

Basics of Childhood Trauma

This course introduces participants to the foundational concepts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), childhood trauma and positive childhood experiences (PCEs). The primary age-group focus of this course is birth-18, but many concepts will apply to young adults. Short term and long term impacts will be introduced as they relate to physical, social and emotional well-being. Extensive discussion of possible precipitators of trauma, as well as its prevalence, and the mitigating impact of PCEs will be covered through extensive readings of professional literature.

Childhood Trauma: Brain and Development

This course will delve into the brain’s response to traumatic experiences birth-age 21 and the resulting developmental impacts. The course will begin with a review of child and adolescent development and then progress to brain-specific development. Participants will use this foundational knowledge to learn how traumatic experiences can impact brain development and have short and long term impacts cognitively, physically and emotionally. Discussion of how Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) can mitigate brain and development impacts will be featured.

Relationships and Resilience

Safety, trust, and relationships are critical for supporting students who have experienced trauma. Extensive discussion of these concepts, as well as the developmental aspects of attachment, will provide the foundation for this course. Protective and promotive factors that contribute to resilience will be discussed and connected to the importance of both strong peer and student-adult relationships.

Trauma Responsive: Managing Behaviors

Learning and discussion in this course will focus on what it means to be trauma-informed and how to put that knowledge into action to create trauma-responsive environments. Participants will engage in readings from a range of authors whose work focuses on the importance of trusting and supportive relationships as a means to manage classroom behaviors. Additionally, discussions will emphasize the need to look beyond behaviors to recognize the safety and relational needs of students, especially those who have experienced trauma. Discussion of Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) will be included, but not the primary focus.


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