Reducing Secondary Traumatic Stress Among Educators

Reducing Secondary Traumatic Stress in the K-12 Workforce

School staff and teachers tend to experience Secondary Traumatic Stress more than other professions. Districts and schools can reduce staff turnover and increase job satisfaction by implementing policy and professional learning.

In 2021, the Washington State Legislature passed SHB1363: Addressing Secondary Traumatic Stress in the K-12 Workforce. WSSDA created a policy and procedure to assist districts with supporting staff’s health and well-being while reducing secondary traumatic stress.

To aid districts’ implementation of this policy and procedure, OSPI and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation partnered to provide free resources and an online assessment.


Model Policy & Procedure 5515

SHB1363 (2021) requires districts to adopt a policy and procedure to support workplace mental health and reduce secondary traumatic stress.

Use WSSDA policy and procedure 5515 to ensure compliance with this state legislation.

Assessment & Action Planning

Districts must assess district and school-level implementation and report to their Board annually. To help districts meet this requirement, the Workforce Secondary Traumatic Stress Assessment consists of two parts: a policy compliance checklist and staff well-being implementation practices.

To complete this assessment, the district’s Workforce Mental Health Committee or similar District Leadership Team will need to provide input.

  • First, staff are encouraged to read through the assessment.
  • Then, the leadership team compiles responses based on current policy and programming.
  • Next, enter your district’s responses in the online assessment.
  • Finally, add items to improve upon to the team’s Action Plan and leverage relevant training and resources.

Also, districts may ask School Leadership Teams to respond to the Thriving Schools Integrated Assessment’s staff well-being questions to gather feedback, collect data, and plan for continuous improvement with school sites.

More Links

Healthier Generation 6 Step Process

Our continuous improvement process helps leadership teams to shape learning environments to support the whole health needs (physical, social, and emotional) of students and staff.

Training & Resources

Districts must establish a Workforce Mental Health Committee to promote a positive workplace climate and provide resources for staff. Start with these evidence-based resources on stress management, preventing burnout, and evaluating job satisfaction. Then, explore more staff well-being resources.

In partnership with: