AASA Among Coalition to Support Grieving Students; Group Releases First-Ever Bereavement Resource

In a groundbreaking initiative to reach the millions of grieving students in classrooms across the nation, the Coalition to Support Grieving Students this week launched grievingstudents.org, an innovative multimedia website designed to empower educators and school professionals in their efforts to support grieving students.

AASA, The School Superintendents Association, is one of the founding members of the Coalition to Support Grieving Students, a collaboration among the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement and ten of the leading professional organizations in the K-12 education space.

“Throughout its history, AASA has championed efforts to improve the lives of children in public schools,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “The need to educate the total child is a belief that we not only preach but practice as well. That’s why we are proud to be a founding member of the Coalition to Support Grieving Students. Schools and school systems have a critical role to play when a student experiences a loss. We know that the recovery can be a long process. We look forward to working with the Coalition as a way to enhance, improve, build, increase and strengthen the support these students receive from school in their time of need.”

The Coalition is comprised of organizations whose members play an important role in reaching grieving children at school, including teachers, administrators, principals, school psychologists, school social workers, school counselors, and school nurses. It is a lynchpin in the New York Life Foundation’s longstanding efforts to fund initiatives and organizations supporting grieving children and their families. Total commitments since 2007 have exceeded $20 million.

“The immense need for schools to deliver better support to their grieving students is reflected in the Coalition members’ impressive commitment to this initiative,” said New York Life Foundation President Heather Nesle. “Although school professionals have long confronted the issue of student grief, for the first time, all of the right stakeholders are formally working together to address this issue in a concerted, interdisciplinary way.”

The Coalition unveiled its new website – a first-of-its-kind, industry-endorsed set of resources for school professionals – earlier this week in a special briefing at George Washington University.

“Educators are in a unique position to provide support to grieving students,” said David Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement and a leading childhood bereavement expert. “At home, a child may be reluctant to upset family members who are also grieving. Schools are a place for bereaved children to receive support from trusted adults who have a safe emotional distance from their loss.”

The founding member organizations of the Coalition to Support Grieving Students are AASA, American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), American School Counselor Association (ASCA), National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association of School Nurses (NASN), National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), National Education Association Health Information Network (NEA-HIN), and the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA). The lead founding members are the National Center for School Crisis & Bereavement and the New York Life Foundation. 

Coalition to Support Grieving Students