Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mary Trube


Each year, the people of Puerto Rico prepare for hurricane season by attending to their properties and families’ needs, such as food, water, and supplies. Many educators on the island of Puerto Rico were not prepared for the adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) faced by children during and following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. This basic qualitative interview study explored preschool teachers’ perspectives about strategies they used to address the influences of ACEs during and following the hurricanes. Resilience theory and Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological systems theory provided the conceptual framework for the study. The study sought to identify educators’ capacities to address the influences of ACEs in their classrooms following natural disasters. Semi structured interviews were conducted with 16 preschool teachers from 4 different centers in a large metropolitan program that employed teachers during the 2017–2018 academic year; the interviews were designed to reveal strategies that teachers used to support children with ACEs. An inductive data analysis approach was used to analyze the gathered data. A professional development plan was created to address the local problem by providing teachers with tools they need to address the influences of ACEs following a natural disaster. Findings from this study provided prekindergarten teachers in Puerto Rico the ability to share their perspectives from their own lived experiences during and following September 2017. This study may result in professional development that will give teachers the knowledge, skills, tools, and strategies needed to support children in developing resilience and coping skills.