McDonald community grieves loss of  valued teacher - July 23, 2018

Dear McDonald International School Community,

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I share the tragic news that Ann Brooke, one of our second grade English Language Arts teachers, passed away last Tuesday while on a cruise with her mother and step-sister.

Ms. Brooke was an important part of the McDonald International staff, and her passing is a great loss to the entire school community. Parents and guardians play important roles in helping students cope with loss. We realize that your student might not have known or been close to Ms. Brooke, and therefore might not be as impacted by her passing. Regardless, if you have questions or concerns or suggestions on how else we can support you or your child, please contact me.

I know that Ms. Brooke’s family will be in everyone’s minds as they grieve their loss. As we learn of more ways to support them, I will let the school community know. For starters, we will be compiling cards and remembrances at the school and delivering them to her family.

Below I have listed guidelines provided by Seattle Public Schools for helping students cope with loss. This is a resource that you may use if you feel it is appropriate for you and your family.

If you have any questions, please contact the school.

Sincerely,

Michelle Goldberg

mhsushner@seattleschools.org

206-252-2900

Suggested guidelines for helping children cope with death

  • Tell your children immediately when the death occurs.
  • Explain the death in terms that your children can understand. Use correct terms such as “die”, “died”, “dying” and “dead.” Words and expressions like “sleeping peacefully”, “passed away”, “departed”, “expired”, “lost”, etc. only confuse children.
  • Express your own feelings about the death openly. It is okay for your children to see you angry, upset, crying, relieved etc. This allows them to see what you are really feeling. It also gives them permission to express the same feelings.
  • Do not force feelings of grief. Your children should be allowed to express their feelings naturally in their own way and in their own time.
  • Really listen to what you children are asking or saying. To understand what they are expressing, you may need to ask further questions.
  • Maintain routines as much as possible. It is helpful for your children to remain in familiar places (their rooms, their homes) and with familiar loved ones. Even though a death has occurred, the children’s lives go on.
  • Saying good bye is important for children. Children may wish to do the following:
  • Write a letter or draw a picture
  • Place flowers on the grave at a later date
  • Complete a project that the children were working on with the loved one before the death occurred o Even though a loved one has died, reassure your children that the loved one still remains in your hearts and in your memories.
  • Maintain openness to discussing the loved one who has died and the subject of death in general. There is no inappropriate time or place to talk about death and dying.
  • Be sensitive to your own feelings and needs. Take care of yourself. 

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