I’m sure all of you are heartbroken over the tragedy of the shooting at Sandy Hook. I’m also sure that you’ve been very busy trying to prepare for your response at school tomorrow and in the following week. I too have been busy trying to make sure that we have all our supports in place at my school, while also supporting the new elementary school counselors in my district as they plan their responses. And also while trying to care for myself as I process this horrible situation and steady myself for the work I need to do.
One of the things I did was to create a script for my colleagues, outlining how and what I will say when I go into the classrooms tomorrow. In case that is also helpful for you, I have linked to it here. It is only an outline of what I will say, and I wrote it with 2nd/3rd graders in mind as a way to give a general sense of what I say, but I will be sharing the same information, using adapted language for the older and younger kids. I also included information about some activities we will do as part of the classroom discussion. Please feel free to use or adapt it if it is at all helpful for you.
There have been many wonderful resources circulating over the past few days to share with staff members and parents. Here are the resources that we shared with parents this weekend. We did not want to overwhelm them, but wanted to make sure that they had good, easy to read information, and these resources from PBS Parents fit our needs most closely. We specifically shared the age-by-age links that you will find on this page.
Please be sure to take very good care of yourself today and in the coming week. Tomorrow will be very difficult. It is a challenge to manage everything, make sure that everyone from the littlest child up through the principal is okay and feeling supported, and hold all of the strong emotions, while simultaneously remembering everything you want to do and say and managing your own emotional and physical well-being.
Yes, it is difficult, but you can do it! Be present, be open-hearted, and be honest with yourself about how you are doing. Make sure to bring a good, easy-to-eat selection of healthy foods and plenty of water. Wear comfy shoes. Plan to leave school as soon as you can after the end of the day. From my experiences on and following 9/11 and in the times that we have had tragic deaths of students and staff members, I predict that I will be extremely tired at the end of the day. Eat dinner out of the freezer, or get take-out, or go out to eat if you feel up to it or if it would feel good to you. Do whatever you find most nurturing and rejuvenating.
I am so grateful that we now have this wonderful support system of school counselors who help and support one another despite our geographic distances. Thank you for everything you offer to all of our school counseling, mental health, and educator colleagues across the country and around the globe, as well as to the students, parents, and staff in your schools. You are a treasure. I am thinking of you, as I know you are thinking of me.
With love and gratitude,