• New York Life’s Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative

    A bereavement resource for school communities

1 in 15
children in the U.S. will experience the death
of a parent or sibling by age 18


The Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative (GSSI) seeks to better equip educators to care for grieving students by introducing valuable grief resources to local schools.


Only 7%
of teachers have had any amount of
bereavement training.


When it comes to grief support at school, many educators feel under-prepared to help: a survey conducted by the New York Life Foundation and the American Federation of Teachers revealed that only 7% of classroom teachers have received any amount of bereavement training. To address this resource gap, New York Life and its foundation have worked with the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (NCSCB) to extend support to grieving students, their families and school communities for nearly a decade.

As part of this partnership, New York Life and the NCSCB created 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.

Watch this video on the Coalition to Support Grieving Students


of educators say childhood grief is a serious problem that
deserves more attention from schools.


To increase educators’ awareness and use of these bereavement resources, New York Life developed the Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative (GSSI). Through this program, trained New York Life ambassadors connect with schools in their local communities to raise educators’ awareness of the prevalence and impact of grief on students – and direct educators to critical resources designed specifically for education practitioners by the Coalition to Support Grieving Students.

New York Life recognizes schools that commit to enhance their support of grieving students by awarding them the "Grief-Sensitive School" designation, which is accompanied by a grant to help them build a more robust culture of grief support and resiliency at their school.