Coordinating Services & Supporting Transitions
“It’s important for schools to support the transition from middle school to high school of a grieving child, informing the receiving school about what the child is going through, or what the child went through, to ensure that the emotional support is there as well and continues at the new receiving school.” (Teacher)
Grieving students interact with a large number of school personnel. This module addresses coordination of communication and services among school personnel providing support to a grieving student. This might include sharing strategies for reaching out directly to the student, staying in touch with the family to answer questions or offer guidance, and making plans to support grieving students over time. This type of planning can be especially important during times of transition to a new grade, a new school or after high school graduation.
School personnel can have a powerful impact on a grieving student and family when they coordinate their outreach. Each provider brings unique insights. Working together as a team, they can identify strategies most likely to be helpful. They can also avoid overwhelming the family with too many contacts from different people. School staff are also less likely to miss an opportunity to be supportive by assuming “someone else will take care of this.”
Each member of the team can take on a unique role. For example, the English teacher might help with planning the student’s return to school. The math teacher might monitor and balance the student’s cumulative workload across all classes. The counselor might meet with the family to see how they are coping. An administrator could update school records to make sure future communications are not addressed to a parent who has died.
Similar coordination can be helpful in times of transition to a new grade level, school, or college. School personnel, with the student’s and family’s permission, can communicate with staff at a new school about the student’s experiences and offer insights about steps likely to best support the student’s success.
View the video by chapters:
Communicating and coordinating services among school team members and family members
Supporting grieving students as they transition to new grades or schools