I’m writing to you today with a heavy heart. What happened yesterday in Waukesha impacted so many of our students, educators, and families, and many are still hurting due to this tragedy. It is a time to hold our loved ones close, and support all in our schools and communities. Our hearts are with the entire Waukesha community.
We want to do whatever we can to support you as school district leaders at this moment. So let me begin by saying that it is normal to not be ok right now. Please reach out for support when you need it, and encourage your staff to do the same. If your district has an Employee Assistance Program, please use it. If you or your staff need immediate support, call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or see the crisis support information below. Our Student Services Prevention and Wellness (SSPW) Team here at DPI has compiled resources for educator wellness and student support, and I will provide the links to those resources at the end of this email.
We know the need for support and resources go beyond our staff and students. Many children and families either witnessed this trauma firsthand or have seen stories about it in the news. We want to make sure that families across our state have the information they need to help process the trauma and grief that our children are feeling. That is why our team has put together a Resources for Families document on processing traumatic events, along with a template email to families to go along with it. I hope it can help you and your staff provide support to our families in need. The SSPW Team email and phone number is staffed on all work days: (608) 266-8960 and email@example.com. Please contact them as you need assistance or with ideas for further resources.
I wish I didn’t have to send emails like this one, but I am so grateful to you for your dedication to the well-being of our students, their families, and their educators in Wisconsin. I am grateful to how our school communities rally around one of our own, offering personnel and resources to help them through trying times such as this. We truly are stronger together, and I am thankful for your continued partnership and commitment in service to all students.
Resources for Educator Wellness
- Professional Self-Care (video and summary) from Coalition to Support Grieving Students
- Nurturing Yourself While You’re Grieving from Center for Loss and Life Transition
Resources for Student Support
- After a Crisis: How Young Children Heal from the Early Trauma Treatment Network, National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- When Bad Things are Happening from Learning for Justice
- What to say to kids when the news is scary from National Public Radio
Crisis Support Lines
- For support through text message, text HOPELINE to 741741.
- For YouthLine, call 877-968-8491 or text TEEN2TEEN to 839863.
- For the National Parent Hotline, call 1-855- 4A PARENT (1-855-427-2736).
- For Disaster Distress Line, call 1-800-985-5990.
For template language to use in communicating with families, please see below.