Resources for Secondary Families

In times of national crisis

Leaders of the West Hartford Public Schools developed this guide to support your conversations with middle and high school students about the recent events in Washington, DC. and other times when our country is faced with national crisis. We welcome your resources and ideas to continue the conversation.

What Middle and High School Students May Need

As West Hartford families and educators, we need to listen to our children. They need a safe space to share their feelings. They are looking to us for facts. They need us to offer hope.

Most adolescents and teens will trust family members more than anyone else to talk about these recent events. Teachers and other adults are a second trusted source of information.


This guide provides resources for how families can support their children at home.

Courageous Conversations Compass

We all enter these conversations from a different place. We all may react differently when faced with news about a crisis. Similarly we enter conversations to process that information in different ways. As a district, we have utilized the Courageous Conversations Compass as a framework to ground our conversations about identity, race, equity and other social justice topics. It is a helpful tool used to support us in understanding different aspects of how we experience our own emotions, empathize and relate to others. The compass allows us to examine where we are in the moment. The compass was developed by Glenn Singleton, founder of Pacific Educational Group.

Each of the resources below support reflection and discussion within each of the courageous conversation frames.

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"This isn’t just a one-time conversation," Janine Domingues (Child Mind Institute). "Start off by asking kids what they know and what they’ve heard, because they’re absorbing it in the background." Our first step is to acknowledge and understand our own adult emotions and responses to the situation. Then we can better listen to our children and respond based on their emotions and needs.

What follows is information that: support conversations at home, provide tips that identify, and ease stress in adolescents and teens, and offers school crisis and community resources.


A 2017 Common Sense Media survey of children age 10 to 18 found 63 percent say the news makes them afraid, angry or depressed.

Video and Article

Pupil Services Resources-

Parenting Through Adversity- Video

Tips For Parenting Through Adversity