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Sandra M. Chafouleas - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Sandra M. Chafouleas Sandra M. Chafouleas

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology | University of Connecticut


Professor Chafouleas is an expert on whole child, school mental health, behavioral assessment, and K12 tiered systems of support.


Based in the Neag School of Education, Chafouleas serves as co-director of the UConn Collaboratory on School and Child Health (CSCH). She is a licensed psychologist in Connecticut. Dr. Chafouleas has demonstrated continued success with extramurally funded research since 2006, and contributes content expertise primarily related to school mental health, integration of health and academics in school-based service coordination, K12 tiered systems of support, and social-emotional-behavioral assessment. Author of more than 150 publications, she regularly serves as a national presenter and invited speaker. She is a fellow in both the American Psychological Association and Association for Psychological Science, and has received numerous university awards for her scholarship and mentorship.

Prior to joining UConn, Dr. Chafouleas worked as a school psychologist and school administrator in a variety of settings dealing with children with behavior disorders.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Multi-Tiered Frameworks Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model Social-Emotional-Behavioral Assessment School Mental Health Trauma-Informed Schools Whole Child Integrated Health and Academics

Education (4)

Syracuse University: Certificate of Advanced Study, Educational Leadership Program 1998

Syracuse University: PhD, Philosophy 1997

Syracuse University: MA, Science 1995

State University of New York at Binghamton: BA, Arts 1993

Affiliations (3)

  • American Psychological Association, fellow
  • Association for Psychological Science, fellow
  • Society for the Study of School Psychology, president-elect

Accomplishments (1)

Scholar Award (professional)

2016 American Psychological Association Division 16 Oakland Mid-Career Scholar Award






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Neag School of Education faculty member Sandra Chafouleas Why is behavior progress monitoring important? CSCH Live Talk - Sandra Chafouleas, PhD NEEDs2 Project Overview


Media Appearances (2)

‘Starbucks classrooms,’ plus six other new approaches in education

The Washington Post  online


“A trauma-informed approach is critical for schools,” says Sandra Chafouleas, a professor of educational psychology at University of Connecticut who has researched the topic. She says the new push helps school staffs identify and provide counseling for the estimated one-half to two-thirds of students who, according to the Education Law Center, probably have experienced trauma. In an all-too-familiar cycle, such students are much more apt to suffer, fail or even lash out at classmates and others, experts say.

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Why Dention Sucks...And Manual Labour Is Better

Ozy  online


On the face of it, this may seem like a regressive approach to addressing behavioral issues. Indeed, most of the recent scholarship in this area advocates for moving away from punishment “in favor of positive behavior support,” says Sandra Chafouleas, professor of educational psychology at the University of Connecticut — methods that focus on preventing misbehavior without resorting to punitive measures. But while prevention is certainly key, says George Bear from the University of Delaware School of Education, “I can’t imagine a school that did not have some form of punishment” when those approaches prove inadequate. If some punishment is necessary, wouldn’t sweeping floors be preferable to enforced silence?

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Event Appearances (6)

Improving Educators’ Use of Data-Driven Problem-Solving to Reduce Disciplinary Infractions for Students with Emotional Disturbance

Spencer Foundation Conference on Reducing Suspensions and Expulsions of Students with Disabilities: Linking Research, Law, Policy and Practice - 2019  Loyola University, Chicago, IL

Exploring the national landscape of behavioral screening in US schools

Symposium at the National Association of School Psychologists Conference - 2019  Atlanta, GA

Defining and Measuring Risk in Special Education and Early Intervention Research: Considerations for Social, Emotional, & Behavioral Domains

Institute of Education Sciences Annual Principal Investigators Meeting - 2018  Arlington, VA

The Whole Child: A Blueprint for Success.

ASCD Empower 18 Conference - 2018  Boston, MA

Best practices in school-based services for addressing trauma.

National Association of School Psychologists Conference - 2018  Chicago, IL

Understanding Successes and Challenges in Caregiver HealthPromoting Self-Care.

National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention - 2017  San Antonio, TX

Research Grants (4)

Exploring the Status and Impact of School-Based Behavior Screening Practices in a National Sample: Implications for Systems, Policy, and Research

US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (R305A140543) $1,600,000

Principal Investigator
7/1/2014 - 6/30/2017

Project VIABLE-II: Unified validation of Direct Behavior Rating (DBR) in a problem-solving model

US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (R324A110017) $2,300,000

Principal Investigator
7/1/2011 - 6/30/2015

Enhancing Ci3T: Building Professional Capacity for High Fidelity Implementation to Support Students’ Educational Outcomes (Project ENHANCE)

US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences $3,999,321

Co-Principal Investigator
7/1/2019 - 6/30/2020

Increasing Capacity for Partnerships Across Education and Health: Developing Guiding Blueprints for Implementation of Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Framework

Research Excellence Program, Office of the Vice President for Research at UConn $24,059

Principal Investigator
7/1/2016 - 6/30/2017

Articles (5)

Methods matter: A multi-trait multi-method analysis of student behavior Journal of School Psychology

Miller, F. G., Johnson, A. H., Yu, H., Chafouleas, S. M., McCoach, D. B., Riley-Tillman, T. C., Fabiano, G. A., & Welsh, M. E.


Reliable and valid data form the foundation for evidence-based practices, yet surprisingly few studies on school-based behavioral assessments have been conducted which implemented one of the most fundamental approaches to construct validation, the multitrait-multimethod matrix (MTMM). To this end, the current study examined the reliability and validity of data derived from three commonly utilized school-based behavioral assessment methods: Direct Behavior Rating – Single Item Scales, systematic direct observations, and behavior rating scales on three common constructs of interest: academically engaged, disruptive, and respectful behavior. Further, this study included data from different sources including student self-report, teacher report, and external observers. A total of 831 students in grades 3–8 and 129 teachers served as participants. Data were analyzed using bivariate correlations of the MTMM, as well as single and multi-level structural equation modeling. Results suggested the presence of strong methods effects for all the assessment methods utilized, as well as significant relations between constructs of interest. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

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A systematic review of trauma screening measures for children and adolescents School Psychology Quarterly

Eklund, K., Rossen, E., Koriakin, T., & Chafouleas, S. M.


Traumatized youth are at an increased risk of a host of negative academic and psychoeducational outcomes. Screening and identification of students who experience potentially traumatic events may help schools provide support to at-risk students. In light of this, the current study examines the availability and use of trauma screening measures to detect early indicators of risk among youth in schools. A systematic review was conducted to identify measures available to screen children and youth for trauma exposure and/or symptoms, as well as the associated psychometric properties to support each instrument’s applied use in schools. Eighteen measures met inclusion criteria, which consisted primarily of student self-report rating scales and clinical interviews. While many instruments measure the symptomology or exposure to trauma among children and youth, very little psychometric evidence was available to support the use of these measures in schools. Additional research is needed to endorse and expand the use of trauma screening measures in schools. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

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Addressing Childhood Trauma in School Settings: A Framework for Evidence‑Based Practice. School Mental Health

Chafouleas, S. M., Koriakin, T. A., Roundfield, K. D., & Overstreet, S.


Supporting evidence and intervention resources for addressing childhood trauma are growing, with schools indicated as a potentially critical system for service delivery. Multiple points for prevention and intervention efforts in schools are possible, but in this manuscript, we review evidence on trauma-specific interventions targeted to students exhibiting negative symptoms. Trauma-specific interventions with evidence and utility for school-based delivery are highlighted, along with key considerations in selection. In addition, we discuss the potential to maximize the impact of trauma-specific interventions for individual students when delivered as part of a school-wide trauma-informed approach that incorporates system-level prevention and intervention strategies. Future directions for research on trauma-specific interventions and trauma-informed approaches in school settings are discussed.

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Accessing Behavioral Health Services: Introduction to a Special Issue of Research, Policy, and Practice School Mental Health

Joni W. Splett, Sandra M. Chafouleas, Melissa W.R. George


There is an urgency to improve accessibility of behavioral health services for children and families given both an increasing need and decreasing support. This special issue aims to advance our understanding of what works to make behavioral health services for children accessible through a collection of articles that examine the issue from research, policy, and practice perspectives.

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Analysis of State-Level Guidance Regarding School-Based, Universal Screening for Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Risk School Mental Health

Amy M. Briesch, Sandra M. Chafouleas, Ruth K. Chaffee


Despite recommendations to extend prevention and early intervention related to behavioral health into school settings, limited research has been directed toward understanding how these recommendations have been translated by states into education policies and initiatives. This macro-level information is important toward understanding the priorities that have influence on the processes and practices occurring in local school settings.

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