School earns ‘grief sensitive’ designation

Representatives from Walworth Jt. District #1 accept a $500 check from the New York Life Foundation after 13 staff members received training to become a grief-sensitive school. On hand for the presentation are, from the left: (front) Lee Knoble-Janney (school counselor), Jennifer Ott-Wilson (school counselor), Marissa Nor (Sounde Financial Group), Caitlyn Dowden (teacher on special assignment) and Phill Klamm (Interim District Administrator/Principal.) Nor said she is interested in helping other schools qualify for this grant. She can be reached at 262-275-8700 or (Penny Gruetzmacher photo)

Walworth Jt. School District #1 has been designated a “Grief-Sensitive School” by the New York Life Foundation, receiving a $500 grant to help create a bereavement support plan and encourage ongoing staff development as part of the national Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative.

Schools confront issues of grief and loss every day: 1 in 15 U.S. children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by age 18. Studies show that unresolved grief can have a social and emotional impact on children, leading to behavioral issues and poor performance in school. Yet educators often feel under-prepared to help, with the vast majority of teachers reporting they have not received any bereavement training, according to the foundation.

Through the Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative – a pioneering effort to better equip schools to care for the grieving students in their midst – trained New York Life ambassadors connect with educators in their local communities to raise awareness and understanding of grief’s prevalence and impact among school-age children.

The program is an extension of the work of the Coalition to Support Grieving Students, a collaboration among leading K-12 professional organizations, to develop and deliver best-in-class grief support resources to educators. The New York Life Foundation founded the Coalition in 2013, in partnership with the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, as part of its commitment to improving schools’ ability to reach their grieving students.

After hosting a presentation on grief support resources, the local school agreed to strive to become a grief-sensitive school, and received a $500 grant which will be used to help deliver support to bereaved students and their families.

For more information on Walworth Jt. School District #1 visit, follow the district on Facebook or download the smartphone app in the App Store or on Google Play.

About the Foundation

Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided nearly $280 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations.

The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. It also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good and Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative programs.

To learn more, visit

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