Grief Education for Schools & Teachers | New Jersey

Grief Education for Schools

Become a Grief-Informed School or District

In schools around the country, children are grieving due to divorce, death, illness, deportation, incarceration, deployment of a family member, and so much more. 

Grieving children and teens are at risk for poor school performance, absenteeism, mental health issues, addiction, behavior problems and depression. In October 2020, the American Federation of Teachers released a survey in which 95% of educators say they would like to do more to help grieving students and 91% of educators say they would be interested in participating in bereavement training.

Imagine University logo of elephant wearing a graduation capThrough Imagine University, we offer that training. Our vision is to create communities where students who have experienced a painful loss grow up emotionally healthy and able to live up to their unique potential. We do this by training school staff and parents on how to support grieving children and youth and by providing grief education directly to students.

You can elect one or more of the following options or choose all four to become an Imagine University grief-informed school:

  • Supporting Peers Coping with Loss (for Students)

Part One: This workshop is presented in homeroom, health or guidance classes.
(Available for grades 3-12)

This training helps students:

      • recognize many different types of loss their fellow students might be experiencing;
      • recognize the impact losses have on students;
      • understand that grief is a natural and necessary response to loss, so they feel comfortable reaching out for support when they are grieving;
      • learn that mourning, or expressing their grief, fosters coping skills that lead to resilience and learn what happens when mourning doesn’t occur; and
      • learn how to support their fellow students, friends and family members when they are grieving.

Part Two: This workshop is presented in health or guidance classes.
(Available for grades 3-12)

This training teaches five power tools that are needed to cope with any type of loss. The overall goal is to help students develop an internal locus of control to remind them that, even in times of loss and when they’re feeling powerlessness, they still have power.

Optional: Training for student mentors
(Available for grades 9-12)

Student mentors are leaders who help create a grief-informed school community by sharing their stories of loss with their fellow students as a part of the grief education described above.

Student mentors receive a two-and-a-half-hour training which gives an in-depth training and discussion of the above learning objectives, provides a one-time grief support group and offers the option of sharing their story during the grief education presentation.

  • Supporting Students Coping with Loss (for Teachers and School Staff)

This training provides information on grief and loss along with strategies for how to support grieving students and coworkers. This workshop can be anywhere from an hour to a full day of training.

Our friends at The Dougy Center compiled extensive research on the values of becoming a grief-informed district. You can view their findings here.

  • Supporting Children Coping with Loss (for Parents)

This training teaches parents how to support their child when they encounter a loss and how to help their child learn coping skills for dealing with loss. This workshop can be an hour and a half to two hours in length.

  • Grief and Loss Specialist Training (for Counseling Staff, Child Study Team, Nurses, Teachers or Administrators) 

This comprehensive training equips districts to have a grief and loss specialist in each school building who can oversee the ongoing creation of a grief-informed school and who will be the point of contact in the aftermath of any loss that impacts the school community.  This training can be anywhere from a half-day to three full days.

Cannot Say 

Imagine is such a blessing to all those who love and grieve. I cannot say enough about Connie Palmer (Imagine Clinical Training Director) and Imagine’s programs for high school students.”

– Joanne Scarano Jakubik, School Counselor at Union Catholic High