Facilitator from Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, speaks to seated staff members during  professional learning on grief-informed education on September 6.

In the wake of several challenging years of COVID-19, teachers and other educators in the Westfield Public School District received valuable professional development this fall focused on grief-informed education and the many definitions of loss.

The sessions, provided by Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, were made possible by a generous donation of $6,000 from the Westfield Education Fund (WEF).  The donation was gratefully accepted and approved by the Board of Education on July 25, 2022.

“We were interested in providing training for an initiative focusing on student and staff wellness,” says former WEF president Lee Schaefer.  “Given the varied types of loss brought on by the pandemic, the district suggested partnering with Imagine to share the tools needed to better support students and staff who are grieving, whether from the loss of a loved one, an economic or academic loss, or simply, a loss of innocence during these formative school years.”

Imagine facilitators held two-hour sessions for educators during a full-day of professional learning on September 6.  A separate session for district administrators was held on July 28.  Additional opportunities will be scheduled for counselors, Child Study Team members, and other related services staff, as well as for parents and guardians.

“We look forward to our continued partnership with the Westfield Public Schools,” says WEF president Anjulika Saini. “We hope to be able to extend these sessions to the students as well.”

Superintendent Dr. Raymond González thanked the Westfield Education Fund for their generous support. “These well-received Imagine sessions are an important step in addressing the effects of all forms of grief on the emotional and academic well-being of our students and staff.”