Monday, October 05, 2015

Eckstein Loses a Good Teacher

I post this notice from Eckstein because Ms. Allen was a dedicated employee for Seattle Schools and I know others out there knew her as well.  Her passing is a loss for Eckstein and Seattle Schools. 

Dear Eckstein Families,
It is with great sadness that I share with you that a member of our Eckstein community has passed away suddenly over the weekend.  Ruthann Allen suffered a stroke late Friday night, and passed away.  This is an incredible loss for our community.  As you may know, Ruthann considered the Eckstein community her family.  Her immediate relatives asked that news be shared as soon as possible; knowing students and families will need time to process her loss as school resumes on Monday.

Ruthann has been integral to the Eckstein community for many years.  She worked tirelessly for students in our school and elsewhere and gave decades of her expertise in the area of Language Arts to ensure a right student experience both at Eckstein, but district-wide.  She was currently serving on the district Instructional Materials Adoption Committee for Social Studies materials.  She is well known to many students, staff and families connected to Eckstein, as well as other school communities in the district.  I will be sharing details with you of efforts to honor her memory as I receive them.
Counseling services will be available at Eckstein for students and staff beginning Monday as we cope together with the loss of Ruthann.  Counselor Reema Ziadeh and I will be taking over Ruthann's classes, to provide strong support for her students and others, and closely monitor student behavior.  
In a close-knit school community, what impacts one often also impacts many others.  Families play a crucial role in helping children understand and cope with sudden loss and grief.  Here are some things that families can do to support their child during this period.
  • Talking to students at home about sudden loss and death; this not only helps students practice sharing emotions verbally with parents or guardians, it encourages them to open up about possible feelings they may have about themselves, their family members or others.  
  • Students want the truth and facts as much as adults do. Sharing basic information in a gentle way can help your student feel safe to discuss the subject of loss, and ask questions.  Parents may not need to provide more information than students' request, but children do want honest answers to their questions. For example, "I don't know" may be a truthful answer to a question about the death.
  • Let your child know counselors are available.  We will share that information at school, but hearing from parents can be reassuring that asking for help coping with death is normal and acceptable.
  • If your child expresses interest in participating in an activity to display grief, loss, or support for others, recognize this as a coping activity which may be important for your child in dealing with a situation beyond their control.
  • Please share any concerns you have about how your child is coping with your child's teacher, counselor or me.  This helps us with a full picture of your child which our school staff may not have otherwise. 
I know you join me in sending thoughts and messages of support and condolences to Ruthann's family.  Please know our hearts go out to her family, and to all those affected by her loss, which may include you and your child.  As a community, our staff is prepared as a strong circle of support during this for students and families in the days ahead and I will continue to share updates and details with you as appropriate.
With regards,
Treena Sterk
Principal, Eckstein Middle School


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Our son had Ruthann as a Language Arts teacher ten years ago and I remember her kindness and support very fondly. I am saddened for her family and the Eckstein community of her sudden loss.