For School Leaders: Resources for Traumatic Times

As a school leader, supporting your students, teachers and families through the traumatic news of a school shooting is profoundly difficult. In this moment, you may feel like there’s nothing you can say or do to help your school community navigate collective stress, trauma, fear and grief. We’ve gathered a collection of resources to support your approach – but first, we want to remind you that no matter how unequipped you feel for the very hard work you’re doing, you are making a difference for your students, staff and families in the time when they need you most. We hope these resources will provide support, strategies and encouragement for the days ahead. And we hope you know that your compassionate, connected leadership matters so much to everyone around you.

Written by a former school leader, this article offers three key recommendations for leading staff and students through the aftermath of a traumatic event: Supporting Educators to Rise Stronger After a Traumatic Event, by leader Katie Barr via ASCD

This quick resource provides concrete guidance on discussing violent events with students, from answering questions to assessing the need for further support: Talking to Children About Terrorist Attacks and School and Community Shootings in the News, via the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement

This resource offers a former Montessori school leader’s insights on providing strategies and structures for students and staff to process trauma as a community: Guiding Students and Families Through Grief, by leader Sheila Linville via ASCD

This collection provides reflections from educators, students and families on navigating trauma from school shootings and includes mental health resources: Reflections from America’s Litany of School Shootings: What to Say, What to Do, via Chalkbeat

This resource offers a set of simple, supportive guidelines to equip families to help students process this trauma at home: Helping Your Children Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting, via the American Psychological Association

Created by principals who have led their school communities through the aftermath of gun violence, the Principal Recovery Network provides support for leaders navigating this territory, including the resource document The Guide to RecoveryPrincipal Recovery Network Offers Support in the Wake of Gun Violence at School, via NASSP

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