• The Spark

Hurricane Harvey: Helping Students Through a Natural Disaster

Author:  Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer, HMH  | 08/31/2017

Educators are always on the front line of learning. But when a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey strikes and disrupts the lives of students, they are key figures in restoring a sense of calm and normalcy.

In tough times, teachers need to work on their own preparedness before they can reach out to students. It’s important to have a space to discuss things, and a chance to reflect on how to handle some of the tough questions:

  • How do you make up for lost school time?
  • How can you give students the opportunity to talk about the storm and its effect on their lives?
  • How do you give context for a natural disaster?

In order for teachers to reach out to others, they need resources and support, too. If your school is disrupted or you want to assist a school in need, we’ve curated a list of resources to help:

In addition to these sites, you’ll see other sources of inspiration on the Internet. Kathryn Butler Mills, a teacher in Katy, Texas, started a closed Facebook group called the “Hurricane Harvey Book Club.”

Her page says, “The purpose of this not for profit page is to bring joy and normalcy to so many that are currently dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. It is a community of readers whose sole purpose is to support and encourage one another through storytelling. Teachers tell their students all the time that books can take them on far away adventures. This seems like the perfect time for these sweet kids and their families to get away from the chaos and fall into some really good books. So, what's the page all about? It's about love, community, encouragement, and a big dose of bravery. Happy reading!

Check back on The Spark for an update on teaching resources that can be made available for affected schools in need.

If your district was impacted by Harvey, HMH has a dedicated customer service line: hurricanerelief@hmhco.com. Please contact us to let us know how we can support you and your classroom during this time.

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