Bright Spot: Project STRIVE

photo by Anna Samoylova on Unsplash

This bright spot was originally published in the 100 Million Healthier Lives Change Library and is brought to you through partnership with 100 Million Healthier Lives and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.


Detailed Description

Project STRIVE (Supportive Trauma Interventions for Educators) is aimed at helping schools and early education systems of care increase their capacity to identify, respond to, and optimally support the unique needs of young children who have been impacted by trauma exposure. Based on promising strategies used in resilience-building interventions, Project STRIVE optimizes trauma-informed approaches within school systems to build capacity to help promote successful students and contribute to vibrant and thriving schools and communities. Project STRIVE works on several levels to build resiliency of students by supporting educators, improving classroom environments, and developing trauma-sensitive school systems connected to community-based resources.

Expected Outcomes

Project STRIVE has several primary outcomes:

  • To improve social-emotional regulation for elementary school students (ages 5-12 years old) in the classroom.
  • To improve the quality of teacher-student interactions in the classroom, and classroom climate.
  • To increase continuity of classroom instructional hours for students.
  • To improve academic success.
  • To build capacity for trauma-sensitive school systems by developing local leadership within the school through a train-the-trainer model.


Emerging bright spot (emerging evidence)

Failing Forward Moments

We began with a co-design model where educators helped contribute to the development of the curriculum and training. This was essential but not sufficient. We developed teacher champions over time in order to improve the sustainability of the intervention in local schools and increase capacity. Through the SCALE learning community we mapped our assets, resources, and goals. The group process of developing a driver diagram and re-assessing partnerships and assets mid-project was very helpful, particularly for identifying partnerships we had not developed, such as with the school system administration. Setting an ambitious but specific and time-bound goal was very helpful. Ongoing, iterative improvement cycles helped us make corrections over time.

Cost Details

Depends on the number of schools, classrooms, and teachers. On average, tools, resources, and training for each classroom are approximately $150.

Key Steps for Implementation

Increase teachers, administrators, and school personnel understanding and awareness of various kinds of trauma that young children are exposed to and ways this exposure impacts their development and academic functioning/performance through workshops (3-4, 3 hour workshops). Provide teachers with concrete strategies and interventions that they can use in the classroom to support their students and address the behavioral challenges they may exhibit. Improve young children's ability to access the curriculum by providing a supportive school atmosphere where children can feel safe, encouraged, and a sense of agency. Develop leadership capacities of the school to grow in expertise about trauma and learning, and transform the school culture and environment.

Other Key Requirements

A process for ongoing professional development within schools by supporting teacher champions. A commitment from the school to engage in an iterative learning process to improve the intervention locally. Ongoing support through peer learning and coaching.


To be determined

Policies, Laws and Regulations

Ethical conduct of research: Institutional Review Board approval of evaluation. Shared agreement with the school to complete the training, evaluation and implementation

Required Staffing (FTEs)

Varies based on number of schools and scope.

Special Funding

Funding is needed to cover training time for trainers, the classroom toolkits, and the curriculum printing. Funding may be needed to cover the training hours for educators, depending on the school system.

Special Infrastructure

School (preschool, elementary school). The Project STRIVE Curriculum. Project STRIVE Classroom toolkits are are integrated in the training. The curriculum provides guidance for using the toolkit.


Training observers to use the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) measure with a high degree of reliability and validity. Observers should be trained and certified in the CLASS Observer Scoring System. Developed by the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at University of Virginia's Curry School of Education the CLASS tool is a validated measure that assesses classroom environment quality, and the quality of teacher-student interactions.The CLASS has three domains: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support.

Types of Staff

Mental health clinician, school administrator, educators can all participate in the program and training. Evaluators should have been trained and certified in the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS).

Return on Investment Details

Partnerships between the school system, the local schools and educators and administrators within the schools, child mental health agency or program, and caregivers/parents.

Outcome Measures

  • Improved instruction
  • Academic performance indicators
  • Improved classroom climate and teacher-student interactions as measured by CLASS
  • Reduced disciplinary actions
  • Self-efficacy with classroom management for teachers

Process Measures

  • Participation of educators in professional development trainings
  • Use of STRIVE intervention tools in the classroom and introduction of toolkit to students
  • Percent of STRIVE trainings teachers rated highly

 Related Topics

Card image
Adverse Childhood Experiences

Card image
Schools and School Districts

Card image
Children and Youth