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Classroom180: A Framework for Creating, Sustaining, and Assessing the Trauma-Informed Classroom, by Heather T. Forbes, LCSW is a comprehensive roadmap of what it means to fully create, implement, and sustain a trauma-informed classroom from kindergarten through the twelfth grade. Additionally, Classroom180 includes an assessment tool, the Classroom180 Rubric, that can be used by administrators and others specialists who support teachers on the journey of becoming trauma-informed.

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FROM THE                   BEST-SELLING
Heather T. Forbes, LCSW

Creating an effective and life-giving trauma-informed classroom goes far beyond a few fidgets and a calm corner. This comprehensive 360-page book, printed in full color, will move you to the leading edge of being trauma-informed. Forbes has developed a system of five domains with a total of twenty-seven clearly defined components to give you an organizing system of where to start and how to continually create and sustain an effective a classroom designed to meet the needs of all of your students, especially those who have been impacted by trauma.

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Domain 1
Domain 2
Domain 3
Domain 4
Domain 5

The following is a summary of each of the domains and their components:

Domain 1: Relationships and Family Culture​

  • Develop a strong family culture within the classroom

  • Establish and teach hierarchy

  • Set love-based limits and boundaries

  • Develop safe and strong teacher-student relationships

  • Create an inclusive and judgment-free classroom

  • Build and strengthen student-student relationships

  • Involve parents and build teacher-parent relationships

Domain 2: Regulation

  • Build and implement universal proactive regulatory strategies

  • Become more aware, open, and empathic during challenging times

  • Identify your own triggers and develop a greater self-awareness

Domain 3: Language of Trauma

  • Speak "the language of trauma"

  • Implement "right-brain" to "right-brain" de-escalation strategies

  • Improve your affect tolerance

  • Better read nonverbal communication

Domain 4: Safety

  • Establish effective safety protocols

  • Safely respond in a moment of crisis

  • Implement regulatory-based discipline

Domain 5: Discipline and Empowerment

  • Enforce consequences with relational support

  • Help students struggling with developmental deficits

  • Implement SEL with a trauma lens

  • Build up students' self-image and improve their sense of self

  • Find joy amongst the chaos


Not only does Classroom180 give you detailed examples and explanations of what is needed in a trauma-informed classroom, it includes a rubric to gather objective evidence. The Classroom180 Rubric helps you to define classroom characteristics, provide feedback to teachers, and offer practical strategies to build skills one domain at a time. It gives teachers a starting point on a growth continuum and teachers can use it as a self-assessment to reflect on their own. Administrators can conduct classroom walk-throughs and observations focused on specific or all domains. Mentors can assist new teachers by having coaching conversations and recommending new strategies that have been identified on the rubric. Fellow teachers can use the rubric with one another to offer peer support and grow together on their trauma-informed journeys. The Classroom180 Rubric is an excellent tool for curriculum specialists and other support personnel when working with teachers. 

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Using the Classroom180 Rubric during a classroom observation.

who needs
this book?

Classroom180 is designed for: 


Teachers, Classroom180 will give you the roadmap of what it means to fully create, implement, and sustain a trauma-informed classroom. Additionally, it includes assessment tools that you can use on a regular basis to do your own self-assessment. This is a foolproof way to make sure you are not only creating a successful trauma-informed classroom but that you also have a plan for future growth to maintain an ever-expanding and ever-deepening trauma-informed classroom for your students.


Administrators, Classroom180 will deepen your understanding of what components are needed for a trauma-informed classroom so you can support your teachers. But more importantly, it will equip you with a way to objectively assess your teachers, using the Classroom180 Rubric. This field-tested rubric gives you exactly what to look for when doing a classroom observations to determine at what level your teachers are on their journeys to becoming trauma-informed.

Educational Support Staff and School Counselors

Educational support staff and school counselors, Classroom180 will give you a more comprehensive understanding of all the components needed to create a powerful trauma-informed classroom. It will move you to the next level in your expertise and sharpen your insight when you are working with teachers in the classroom. It will also give you an objective and well-organized coaching guide, using the Classroom180 Rubric, for you to use when debriefing with teachers when helping them to shift their classrooms from a traditional platform to a trauma-informed platform.

About the

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, is the owner of the Beyond Consequences Institute and author of Classroom180 and numerous other books on the topic of working with children impacted by trauma. Coming from a family of educators, Heather has a passion for helping children in the classroom. Trauma robs children of their curiosity, and Heather’s passion is to help these students return back to their innate love for learning. She consults and lectures extensively with both general and special education schools around the nation. Her signature style is to bridge the gap between academic research and “when the rubber hits the road” classroom situations, giving teachers and school personnel the understanding and tools they need for even the most challenging of students. Heather has worked in schools with trauma-impacted students and knows firsthand how challenging it can be on a daily basis with these students. Much of her insight on understanding trauma, disruptive behaviors, and developmental delays, comes from her own experience of raising two internationally adopted children and mentoring a severely trauma-impacted young adult.

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW

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Deanna Maki, B.Ed./SPED

Deanna Maki, B.Ed. / SPED, is an education consultant and co-founder of E-Impact Consulting in Kelowna, Canada. She has worked in the field of education since 1994. As a former special education teacher, she is passionate about working with at-risk students, empowering children, and building community. After starting her family, she worked as an education consultant and trainer for numerous curriculum and school software programs where she was able to refine her skills in teacher training. Currently, Deanna serves as the vice president of Educational Impact, an online professional development company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a subject matter expert in special education, teacher evaluation, social and emotional learning, and trauma, Deanna has authored over 200 online courses for educators. Through a collaboration with Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, and the Beyond Consequences Institute, the Trauma-Informed Online Academy was created to provide a step-by-step training program for schools to become trauma-informed. As contributing editor to Classroom180, Deanna’s contribution to the development of the Classroom180 Rubric were invaluable. She helped to shape and develop it into an evaluation tool that is clear, relevant, well organized, and concise.

foreword by
rick Lavoie

In Classroom180, Heather Forbes asks you to make numerous paradigm shifts and provides you with the knowledge and techniques you will need for the journey. A follow-up to her acclaimed Help for Billy series, this book provides detailed, readable, and remarkable advice for teachers of children who have experienced trauma.....


In her Introduction of Classroom180, Heather promises you a “roadmap.” In reality, she provides you with a roadmap as well as a compass, GPS, walking stick, canteen, and some snacks along the way. 


If you are looking for a magical, mystical quick fix, look elsewhere. It is a great deal of hard work to teach in the way that Heather suggests. She is not telling you that it is going to be easy … she is telling you that it is going to be worth it.

Richard D. Lavoie, MA, MEd

More praise for

As an adult still learning skills to navigate the consequences of experiencing severe early developmental childhood trauma, reading Classroom180 touched a wounded place within me. I wept deeply as I acknowledged a childhood lost and what might have been for me had this book been written sooner. I mourned for the unrealized possibilities that the early interventions, resources, and guidance advocated for in Classroom180 would have done for me. But then I wept for joy as I accepted that my past cannot be changed, yet the future of our children today, who are just like I was, can indeed be changed! Classroom180 is a powerful instrument for all who encounter the consequences of trauma. It holds the key to unlocking the full potential of students impacted by trauma and has the ability to change the entire trajectory of their entire lives!

April Griffin, 2019 college graduate, after graduating from a non-trauma-informed high school in 1985


What a powerhouse of a book Heather Forbes has written! I began to mark the most important ideas as I read. Before I was halfway through the book, I had marked over 100 outstanding techniques, charts, or phrases. In my two favorite domains, Heather provides a clear theoretical framework as well as practical ways to develop regulation and emotional/social assets. She moves readers from a behavioral consequence model, which further stresses highly stressed children, to a model that identifies when and how to provide the supports that keep children feeling safe and accepted in their schools. I am anticipating my next school meeting, now equipped with fresh ideas. Thank you, Heather Forbes, for this outstanding book.

Deborah D. Gray MPA, LICSW, author of Promoting Healthy Attachments: Hands-On Techniques to Use with your Clients; Attaching with Love, Hugs, and Play; Nurturing Adoptions; and Attaching in Adoption

Wow! Classroom180 is definitely the next step in implementing trauma-informed practices into our classrooms. This is the perfect guide to the HOW that we have been waiting for. It is helping us put all the pieces together in a systematic way, enabling us to identify strengths and areas for growth as we strive to provide a safe school for everyone. I especially appreciate how Heather addresses student accountability within the framework of trauma-informed practices as well as what it might look like for Billy.

Gina Murphy, Principal, Excel Academy

I started reading Classroom180 and just could not stop. The creation of trauma-informed classrooms is an essential component in supporting the healing, connection, and safety for students to reach their academic and creative potentials. Classroom180 fills a critical gap in the current literature by providing a host of realistic and inexpensive steps that can be taken to create loving classrooms that support ALL students. The student-centered reflective questions and the Classroom180 Rubric will be invaluable for anyone who is ready to take the next step in creating the type of learning environments that our students, families, and communities so desperately need. Classroom180 is a one-stop-shopping experience!

Amber Reid, MSW

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