Life After Loss Tables: The Educators Edition
(A joint project of the School Crisis Recovery & Renewal project and The Dinner Party)
How might the experience of student death years ago impact your current practice? How might we make sense of school-based loss and how that informs who we are as administrators, educators, clinicians, and youth advocates? How might we incorporate the losses we experienced as students ourselves, now that we are educators-perhaps even in the same community in which we grew up?
It’s these questions and more that have sparked our new offering, “Life After Loss Tables: The Educators Edition.”
The School Crisis Recovery & Renewal (SCRR) project is partnering with The Dinner Party (more info below) to pilot “Life After Loss Tables: The Educators Edition.” These recurring virtual gatherings (“tables”) are intentional, peer-led spaces for educators to engage in conversation around their experience with death-related, school-based losses as a means towards healing.
What is this?
We’re inviting a select group of educators nationwide to join this pilot program from November 2021-March 2022.
These virtual sessions are spaces for educators to connect and share about what it means to teach, lead school sites or systems, and provide school services after the death of a student or alum.
What these tables offer
- 5 private gatherings at each “table”: “Life After Loss Tables: The Educators Edition” will meet on Zoom monthly for 1.5-hour sessions. Each “table” will be capped at no more than 12-15 participants.
- Peer facilitation: Each “table” will be facilitated by a peer (a fellow educator who has lost a student).
- Warm, inviting, and brave space: We’ve witnessed that educators have their most honest and revelatory conversations with colleagues, family and friends around tables (like a dinner table), not in boardrooms or staff meetings.
- Learning alongside others: We’re inviting participants across age, identity, background, and role to share their stories of student loss and to listen as others share theirs. No two stories are ever the same, just as no two relationships are ever the same: What we share is a hunger for connection around an experience we’ve too often had to keep hidden.
What these tables aren’t
- Therapy or grief support groups: Tables are not traditional or clinical grief support groups. These gatherings may be therapeutic, but they’re not therapy. We’re not interested in professionalizing anything, but in humanizing everything. If you yourself are a counselor or school-based social worker, remember that this is a chance to take off that hat for 90 minutes and to show up as peers, not professionals.
- Trainings or workshops: Conversations will be peer-led, peer-supported, and not structured with workshop elements or activities (e.g., you will never see a PowerPoint!).
- Not everything is going to happen at the table: There is other coaching, support, programming, training outside the “tables”.
Who can join? Who is this for?
This offering is for educators who have experienced the death of a student.
- We define “educators” as anyone tending to the wellbeing of students in school based settings, serving and supporting school-aged youth. You might be an afterschool service provider, a state, district and county school administrator, a school-based clinician, a principal, a teacher, an organizer, a professor who used to teach k-12.
- We define “student” as a young person with whom you knew or had a relationship with in any capacity or at any time. The student could have died as an alumni. You did not need to have been in a direct relationship with the student when they died to be impacted by their death.
- We are defining “student loss” the loss of students to any cause of death (police involved, community based violence, gun involved, school shootings, suicide, overdose, climate-related disaster, COVID, etc).
You do not need to identify as a “griever”: You might not associate the experience of student death with grief. And, that experience might still impact you- in small or big ways- in your current professional role and personal identity.
All geographic and role locations welcome: You do not need to be in/serving/working at the place where you experienced the student death. You can also be in any time zone and attend either the PT or ET table (e.g., if you’re in NY and the PT table works better for you, that’s fine!).
Timeframe doesn’t matter: You may have lost a student recently, decades ago, etc. The losses that bring you to these tables may not be recent. In fact, they may be years ago.
Me or my team? Some of you may want to join as colleagues or whole teams. We’re encouraging you to experience the “tables” as individuals. If you do join and there is another participant who has a shared student-death experience (e.g., the same loss), that’s ok! We only ask that you show up with your own story, not as a team.
Interested in Learning More?
If you are interested in learning more about the Life After Loss Tables, you can:
- Watch our informational video
- check out our information session deck
- fill out an interest form by October 29, 2021
“Life After Loss Tables: The Educators Edition” will meet monthly for 1.5-hour sessions starting November 17th, 2021- March 16th, 2022.
We are offering two tables, one in PT and one in ET. Each table will convene for 5 sessions.
Table #1: Eastern time zone table
- November 17, 2021 @ 3:30-4:45pm ET / 12:30-1:45pm PT
- December 15, 2021 @ 3:30-4:45pm ET / 12:30-1:45pm PT
- January 19, 2022 @ 3:30-4:45pm ET / 12:30-1:45pm PT
- February 16, 2022 @ 3:30-4:45pm ET / 12:30-1:45pm PT
- March 16, 2022 @ 3:30-4:45pm ET / 12:30-1:45pm PT
Table #2: Pacific time zone table
- November 17th @ 3:30-4:45pm PT (6:30-7:45pm ET)
- December 15th @ 3:30-4:45pm PT (6:30-7:45pm ET)
- January 19th @ 3:30-4:45pm PT (6:30-7:45pm ET)
- February 16th @ 3:30-4:45pm PT (6:30-7:45pm ET)
- March 16th @ 3:30-4:45pm PT (6:30-7:45pm ET)
What does it mean if I join a table?
- We ask that you be available to commit (within reason) to minimum 4 out of 5 of the sessions, as we are hoping to create tables where we can go deep with one another and cultivate real relationships.
- Part of your commitment will be to provide feedback and design input to the SCRR & TDP teams to ensure that the future, more comprehensive offering of these tables is informed by the pilot experience.
- We invite you to arrive at the “table” expecting difference rather than sameness; every student loss and the aftermath impact is different.
We will send a confirmation to all final participants and introduce you to your host by Friday, November 5th, 2021. Note: Space is limited; in the event that tables fill, we’ll be opening up more seats in Spring 2022.
For more information
Please contact Alica Forneret, the SCRR Pedagogy of Grief Project Lead, for more information about this offering: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your table hosts (facilitators of each table; one facilitator per table)
Oriana Ides (MA, LPCCI, PPS) is an Oakland-based educator, school founder, clinician, administrator, and facilitator. Oriana is grieving the loss of so many young people and is in constant conversation regarding the role she plays in her student’s survival. As an SCRR Field Coach and School Mental Health Training Specialist at CARS, she approaches healing the wounds of trauma and oppression as core elements of social justice. She has worked with young people across life courses from elementary school to college, and has served as teacher-leader, school counselor, classroom educator and program director. She is committed to generating equity within school structures and policies by focusing on evidence-based mental health techniques and institutional design.
Oriana’s work to forge a more just world is motivated by and dedicated to Brave One, G-One, Waga, Berto, Theo, Red, Eric, Jabrile and all of our children wading through systems never designed to see them thrive.
Yesmina Luchsinger (MS) is an educator, mental health professional, and gun violence survivor. She is recognized for her passion in the areas of equity, resilience, school safety, and campus grief support. She dedicates her learning to the #kiagang, Bulldog Nation, Zakiyyah, Jasmine, Larry, Sean T-Nasty, Matias, and to all the students and educators sitting with the heaviness of an empty desk in the classroom. You are not alone. An Arab-American and daughter of an immigrant, Yesmina is currently living on the ancestral homelands of the Akimel O’odham (Pima), Pee Posh (Maricopa), and Tohono O’odham peoples in downtown Phoenix, AZ. Yesmina is a Health & Equity Technical Assistance Specialist for the Center for Applied Research Solutions and adjunct faculty for the School Crisis Recovery & Renewal Project.
The Dinner Party is a platform for grieving 20-, 30-, and early 40-somethings to find real community and build lasting relationships, whether one-to-one, or in small, peer-led groups. Since 2014, we’ve connected more than 13,000 grieving peers to one another, including 3,000+ since the start of the pandemic. We’ve been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, On Being with Krista Tippett, CNN, NYT, O Magazine, BuzzFeed, and dozens of other publications, and as a case study in various books, including The Upside of Stress, The Power of Ritual, and How We Show Up. https://www.thedinnerparty.org/about