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Kolek: Prepared to assist New Canaan school community

Published 11:05 am, Saturday, December 15, 2012
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In a letter to the New Canaan Public Schools community on Friday, Superintendent of Schools Mary Kolek wrote, "Our district is deeply saddened by the unthinkable tragedy that occurred in the Newtown community earlier today. We send our deepest sympathy to families, friends and children of the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the greater Newtown community.

"I thought it would be helpful to provide a brief follow up to the messages sent earlier today by the district and schools: The NCPS leadership team met with our Crisis Advisory Board (CAB) this afternoon to review the status of each school, determine next steps to assist students, families and faculty, and to review our safety plans and procedures. The district crisis response and school security plans, while long standing, are designed to be customized to meet the needs of each unique circumstance. To that end, each school will conduct a staff meeting on Monday morning prior to the start of the school day to remind faculty and staff about ways to care for children, teens and adults during times of great sadness and loss.

"We are aware there will be a range of knowledge of and reactions to this situation and we want to assure you we are taking care to be sensitive to the developmental stages and needs of our students. During this time we will also be reviewing the safety and security procedures in place at each school. As is our practice, we continue to collaborate with the New Canaan Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management to ensure coordinated efforts.

"Additionally, principals will be in direct contact with their respective PTC/PFA presidents to gather input and share communications specific to schools. In order to assist parents in supporting their children, the school administrators and crisis teams will continue to provide information and recommend resources appropriate to specific developmental levels via school communication sites.

"At times such as these I am reminded of the power of a caring community and am certain all of us will do what we can to support one another."

She also provided a listing of available resources in the area for parents to help their children cope with grief and trauma.

In addition to being available in the schools, the district student services team will continue to provide staff and parents with resources that might be of use to families during times of grief.

"While this is only a small sample of materials available, we thought it might be of assistance to have a place to begin any search you may want to undertake for resources that would be of help to your family. Each school and our local family and children agencies also have materials and resource lists available," Kolek wrote.

Local Agencies

The Child Guidance Center will hold a forum for parents/community to consult with child mental health experts on helping children (and families) deal with their reactions.

Monday 5:30 to 6:30 pm, 196 Grey Rock Place, Stamford.

http://www.childguidancect.org/

Family Centers

Parent Forum at Darien Library

Monday morning at 10 am and Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm

http://www.familycenters.org/

Kids in Crisis

Crisis counselors available

203-327-KIDS

New Canaan Youth Services Facebook page

provides resources for parents

http://www.facebook.com/WeCareNC?ref=hl

Online Resources

Forwarded by Connecticut Clearinghouse (a program of Wheeler Clinic ` s Connecticut Center for Prevention, Wellness and Recovery) on 12/14/2012.

The following is a list of Connecticut Clearinghouse resources directly related to traumatic events. The Clearinghouse also has materials on grief and loss, depression, stress, substance use, and other related topics. For additional Information:

Call the Clearinghouse at 800-232-4424

Visit their site at www.ctclearinghouse.org

Fact Sheet:

Young People and Trauma

Brochures:

Traumatic Events - Helping Your Child Cope

Helping Young Children Cope With Trauma

Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism - A Field Guide

When Terrible Things Happen: A Parent's Guide to Talking with Their Children

Why Do I Feel Like This?

Helping Your Children Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting

www.apa.org/helpcenter/aftermath.aspx

Coping with Violence and Traumatic Events

www.samhsa.gov/trauma/

Coping with Crisis - Helping Children With Special Needs

www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/specpop_general.aspx

Managing Strong Emotional Reactions to Traumatic Events:

Tips for Parents and Teachers

www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/angermgmt_general.aspx

Identifying Seriously Traumatized Children: Tips for Parents and Educators

www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/psycht_general.aspx

Talking with Kids About News

www.pbs.org/parents/talkingwithkids/news/