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Supporting Students in High Poverty Schools Systems: The Power of CARDS Method and TIPS Framework

Published On: December 4, 2023|


In high poverty schools, students who come from diverse backgrounds and situations, often face unique challenges that impact their educational experience. To address these complexities effectively, educators need a multifaceted approach. The CARDS Method, combined with the TIPS (Trauma Informed, Person Specific) Framework, offers a comprehensive strategy for supporting students by serving as counselors, advocates, role models, disciplinarians, and surrogate parents. 

  1. Understanding the CARDS Method:

The CARDS Method encompasses five key roles that educators can play in the lives of their students: 

a) Counselors: By providing emotional support and guidance, educators create a safe space for students to express themselves and process their experiences.

b) Advocates: Educators act as advocates, ensuring that students’ voices are heard and their needs are met within the school system and broader community.

c) Role Models: As role models, educators inspire and motivate students, demonstrating positive behaviors and values that guide their personal and academic growth.

d) Disciplinarians: Maintaining a structured environment is crucial in high poverty Educators act as fair and consistent disciplinarians to uphold boundaries and promote a sense of order.

e) Surrogate Parents: In some cases, educators become surrogate parents, providing the care and support that students may lack at home. This role requires empathy, compassion, and understanding.

  1. Introducing the TIPS Framework:

To enhance the effectiveness of the CARDS Method, integrating the Trauma Informed, Person Specific (TIPS) Framework is essential. The TIPS Framework recognizes the prevalence of trauma in high poverty schools and tailors interventions to the specific needs of each student. 

 a) Trauma-Informed Approach: Educators with a trauma-informed mindset understand that students’ behaviors and emotions may be influenced by trauma. They create a safe and inclusive environment, avoid re-traumatization, and provide appropriate support to help students heal.

 b) Person-Specific Strategies: Every student is unique, and their responses to trauma vary. The TIPS Framework emphasizes the importance of individualized approaches, taking into account students’ cultural backgrounds, personal experiences, and learning styles. This ensures that interventions are meaningful and effective.

  1. Applying CARDS Method and TIPS Framework in High Poverty Schools:

In underserved schools with diverse populations, the combination of the CARDS Method and TIPS Framework can foster positive outcomes for students. Here are some practical strategies: 

 a) Building Trust: Establishing trust is essential. Educators can achieve this by actively listening, showing empathy, and maintaining Trust creates a foundation for students to open up and seek support.

 b) Cultivating Cultural Competence: Understanding and respecting students’ cultural backgrounds enables educators to develop culturally responsive teaching practices. This promotes inclusivity and ensures that students feel valued and understood.

 c) Providing Trauma-Informed Support: Recognizing signs of trauma and responding appropriately is crucial. Educators can offer resources such as counseling services, support groups, or referrals to community agencies specializing in trauma-informed care.

 d) Collaboration and Partnerships: High underfunded schools often face resource limitations. Educators can establish partnerships with local organizations, businesses, and community members to expand opportunities for students, such as mentoring programs, internships, and / or extracurricular activities.


In high poverty schools where students come from diverse communities and situations, the CARDS Method and TIPS Framework provide a powerful framework for supporting their holistic development. By serving as counselors, advocates, role models, disciplinarians, and surrogate parents, educators can leverage the CARDS Method. Additionally, integrating the trauma-informed and person-specific approaches of the TIPS Framework ensures that interventions are tailored to individual student needs. Together, these strategies enable educators to make a meaningful difference in the lives of students facing unique challenges in high poverty schools. 

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