As we prepare to re-open the doors of our Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens, we must remember that our students have been filled with images of the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Teachers should be well aware that many of our students may have experienced loss of life and property in their very own families while other may have barely felt the effects.   Regardless, teachers and students alike will all need time to tell their stories.

The attached PDF documents and websites contain valuable information to review and share with your teachers:

http://preschoolers.about.com/od/parentpotpourri/a/How-To-Talk-To-Young-Children-About-Natural-Disasters.htm

http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/naturaldisaster_ho.aspx

http://learningtogive.org/lessons/unit399/lesson1.html#lesson   (Lesson plan developed for Hurricane Katrina, easily adaptable for older students)

http://www.lessonplanet.com/    (Lesson plans – requires registration)

Natural Disaster PDF

Talking to Children About Natural Disasters

Recommendations:

1.  Meet with your faculty prior to the start of the school day to discuss how you will debrief with your students.  Remember, your teachers themselves will also will need time to debrief and tell their stories.  Some of the attached materials provide information specifically regarding what teachers should be aware of as they speak to students.
2.  Students will need time to process and express their emotions.  This can be done in a formal lesson or through prayer experiences conducted within their own classroom or homeroom.  This is a time for teachers to assess the extent to which their students have been affected.
Note:  A lesson or prayer service could be focused on:
a.  Brainstorming and Defining a Natural Disaster
b. Time for students to express their feelings:  verbally, written form, or through pictures (depending on age)
c.  Essential Question:  How can we, as Christians, respond to a natural disaster?
3.  During this activity, should a student require special attention or intervention, teachers should be directed to alert you, your school counselor or your school nurse.  If you do not have a school counselor or nurse available, it would be prudent to alert Eileen Dwyer and the staff of PDHP and be ready to deal with any situation that may arise.
4.  Students in areas barely affected may wish to assist those in areas that have been highly affected.  Attached is the memo provided to parishes regarding voluntary collections and who to contact at Catholic Charities.  Bishop DiMarzio has asked that relief efforts be coordinated by Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens.
5.  Further research for older students:
*Investigate and research different types of natural disasters?
*Investigate hurricanes?  What made Hurricane Sandy a “super storm?”
*Using a T-chart or Venn Diagram contrast Sandy and Katrina or another natural disaster

Eileen Dwyer and I will continue to monitor resources and post them on DioNet as they become available.

We are very grateful to all of you for the leadership that you have exhibited during this past week as your school’s spiritual and instructional leader.  The road to recovery will be long and tedious for many families in our area, to all those affected, our sincerest best wishes for a speedy recovery.