Sample Crew Plan
This is a sample Crew lesson for dealing with loss and grief. This lesson was adapted from Leaders High School’s Crew plan.
- To compassionately share the news of someone’s death
- To provide students an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings
- To inform students of the supports that will be provided
- To identify students who may need counseling support
Revisit Any Norms that You Hold in Crew
- Name norms below
- Introduce any guest counselors and social workers. Share that they will be with our school for today (and any additional days you are able to have them with you) to support the school community.
- Provide the Crew leader with a script. During a crisis, it is hard to learn, recall and communicate information. If the family has preferences for some information to be withheld, provide a clear way for the Crew leader to communicate facts that can be shared.
- Sample Script:
- Welcome to Crew today. Before we get started, I am going to take time to share sad news with you. __________ who was in/worked with ____ grade died on ______ . We want to take time today to remember __________. As a school community, we want to give you time to reflect on your feelings and to share them.
- If appropriate, you can share how the person died.
Tips: Navigating Student Reactions
- Some students might want to share that they had already heard the news and may wonder if others already knew. You can explain that everyone learned of the death at different times and that we want to support each other now that everyone knows today.
- Answer questions honestly with information you know. If you do not know an answer, it is okay to tell students that you do not know and that you can get back to them.
- Limit details to what you understand students can manage. If students share gruesome/harsh anecdotals, you can acknowledge that some of the details are hard to hear and redirect the group.
- Redirect conversations that turn from concerns to complaints.
- If the group is becoming more upset, you can ask them to pause and take a deep breath and redirect the group to caring for one another.
- Focus students on keeping a supportive group for one another.
- Direct students to the next activity when the group is ready.
Reference: Psychological First Aid for Schools
Tips: Possible Reactions & How to Respond
Student: “I don’t know who that is, it doesn’t affect me.”
Crew Leader: “I understand that you may not have known him, however our school community is mourning the loss of a young person that had a promising future. Remember we don’t have to know a person to feel the family and/or friends’ pain.
Student: “Why are we talking about this?!”
Crew Leader: “Death is uncomfortable and something that is difficult for most. We want to provide a space for all of you to share how you may feel about ______ and if you don’t have any current feelings or thoughts that’s okay too. If you feel uncomfortable sharing in this setting, the counseling department has set up counseling clinics with multiple counselors, or you can support your peers by listening.
Reference: Leaders High School Crew Lesson
Activity for Reflecting on Feelings and Coping Strategies: Choose Age-Appropriate Activities
- Journaling: for all ages (can use Google forms for remote learning)
- Sharing Memories: Honoring the relationship and establishing continuing bonds
- Offering moments of silence
Tips: Reflecting on Coping Strategies and Helping One Another
- Provide students with time to think about what they do when they feel sad or have strong feelings. What do they do to comfort themselves? List the people they might talk to.
- Ask students to reflect back on how others have helped them when they were sad.
- You can ask students how they think that they can help one another at this time.
- Remind students that everyone responds differently to grief.
Inform Students of Supports Available:
- Inform students of when, where and how to access counseling.
- Tell students that the best way that they can help friends who are struggling is to reach out to a counselor or come check in with you. They can also meet with the counselor together.
- Let students know how they can reach you in the coming days.
- If journaling, you can ask students to mark off a box or note if they want to see a counselor. If this is a remote session, you can ask students to stay on the session at the end so that you can be sure to take their name down for the counselor to follow up with them.