While we all hope that a tragedy does not happen in any school community, it is good to be prepared with a communication plan, as well as with strategies to support students and staff members who do experience a tragedy. Student Success staff is available to assist you with crisis planning for your building.
Where to Start in the Event of a Crisis or Tragedy?
Please call or text (503)939-3283 If you call during the night, someone will get back to you by 6:00am the following morning.
The Student Success Team will:
- Serve as the general consultant to all schools and departments in the district for issues pertaining to tragedy, death and grief, and will assist school administrators to assess support needs and the appropriate level of crisis response
- Coordinate the Student Success activities with the principal and senior director, which may include:
- Supporting existing building resources in providing individual and/or group counseling for students
- Assisting in establishing safe rooms for students
- Assisting teachers in having classroom conversations with students
- Assisting principal in facilitating parent and community presentations
- Provide direction and guidance to the principal onsite during crisis response and via phone or email as follow-up
- Provide information about community resources for staff or parent meetings
- Maintain a file of letters, memos, etc., developed to communicate information about the tragedy and share with principals and senior directors.
- Provide resource materials on grief and loss for students and staff
When a tragedy occurs in any of the Portland Public Schools, the Senior Directors, Director of Security Services, Executive Director of Community Involvement and Public Affairs, and Principals immediately begin notifying and supporting school personnel in responding to the tragedy. The appropriate Senior Director and the Director of Student Support keep the Superintendent and Chief of Staff informed. Administrators are advised to have written building-level School Emergency Response Plan Identifying school-level crisis teams and to hold annual reviews of plans with all staff.
Teacher Script and Resources
The following letters are to be used to create your own communication to students, families, and community. Please cut and paste sections to your own letterhead.
Parent/Guardian Letter Communicating a Crisis
Parent/Guardian Letter Followup
Parent/Guardian Letter Concerning Suicide
Parent/Guardian Letter Concerning a Violent Death
Resources for Families, Schools, and Staff
Talking to your child about death (pdf)
The Three Tasks Facing Children in Grief (pdf)
Developmental Stages for Children in Grief (pdf)
When to Refer Grieving Children to a Professional Counselor (pdf)
Resources Regarding Traumatic Experiences
School-wide Management in the Aftermath of Trauma (pdf)
Coping Strategies for Children Following Trauma (pdf)
Some Helpful Strategies Following Trauma (pdf)
If a Loved One has Suffered Trauma (pdf)