• We're Changing our Principal of the Year Process. Here's Why.

    by David Morrill | Oct 17, 2019

    Nominate_POY_2019

    AWSP is redesigning our Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year program. Like with all the other changes in education, this is a necessary change for us as we strive to increase the visibility of the important role principals play in our P-16 system. The impact of highly effective principals matters, so let's share that impact with the world.

    In the past, we selected a Principal of the Year (POY) for elementary, middle, and high schools, giving us three different "state" principals of the year. In addition to our three state POYs, we would have one or two Assistant Principals of the Year (APOY) (one elementary, one secondary). While most people around education (policymakers, legislators, reporters, etc) could all tell you the state Teacher of the Year, almost nobody could name one of our potential five winners.

    That's just one reason we're changing the program. We'd love to explain all the reasons we’re changing our (A)POY, but it might be faster for you to read War and Peace. You think we’re kidding…

    Here’s the short version for how we plant to recognize winners and a little about the reasoning.

    • We’ll have one state principal of the year. Just like the Teacher of the Year and the Superintendent of the Year, there’s a single winner. This eliminates a ton of confusion around who really is the state POY. It amplifies and elevates the title.
    • We’ll also have one state Assistant Principal of the Year. Same justification and reasoning.
    • As long as we have enough qualified nominees and applicants, we’ll have a regional (A)POY at every ESD (again, like the other programs for teachers and superintendents). So every year, each ESD should be represented by an AP of the year and a principal of the year.

    By narrowing the number of state level winners, our winner will enjoy the same spotlight and state-level name recognition as  the teacher and superintendent of the year. Having three state-level winners waters down the award a little and creates confusion. At the same time, selecting a regional winner gives more people significant recognition and increases the voice and representation from each region of the state. Now there’s the matter of the national programs, which all have different timelines and deadlines.

    Even though we will recognize fewer state-level winners, we will still send back the same number of principals and assistant principals to Washington, D.C. for recognition.

    • If our state level-winner is an NAESP member (National Association of Elementary School Principals), they will be our state’s representative for the National Distinguished Principal honor.
    • If the state-level winner is an NASSP member (National Association of Secondary School Principals), they will be our state’s representative and eligible to win the National Principal of the Year Award (like Trevor Greene did in 2012).
    • If the state-level winner is a member of NASSP, our judging panel will send the most deserving Regional/ESD Principal of the Year from the elementary level (NAESP member) as our state representative. Vice versa if the state-level winner is at the elementary level.
    • We’ll mirror the process for national recognition for the Assistant Principal of the Year award.

    Still with us? Here’s one more quick recap.

    We have tremendous principals and assistant principals in Washington state. This new award structure preserves our recognition at the national level, increases the presence and recognition at the regional level, and greatly reduces confusion and improves the visibility and voice of our winner at the state level. It might be a little messy at first, but we’re excited about the new process and all the of great byproducts it will bring.

  • AWSP TV: Thriving Schools with Kaiser Permanente WA

    by David Morrill | Oct 16, 2019


    Our Roz Thompson sits down with Jill Patnode, Thriving Schools Program Manager for Kaiser Permanente of Washington, to talk about all the programs and resources KP provides to support schools and the people in them.

    Resources

    For more information, contact: 

    Jill Patnode
    Thriving Schools Program Manager
    Kaiser Permanente, Washington

  • AWSP News for October 16, 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | Oct 16, 2019


    In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:

    • the most trusted professional in all the country,
    • our Facebook giveaway and this week’s winners,
    • your Principal’s Advisory Council,
    • enrollment for the School Employee Benefits Board,
    • our first-ever WELL Summit,
    • a part-time position opening up at AWSP,
    • our Washington Principal Magazine, and
    • next year’s Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year.
    Prefer to read the news. Check out the script.
  • AWSP News for October 2, 2019

    by David Morrill | Oct 02, 2019


    In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:

    • National Principals Month,
    • A special message from Governor Jay Inslee,
    • Our favorite contest of the year and the chance of winning a $25 Amazon gift card,
    • Using social media to tell the story of your school,
    • Our Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year Award,
    • AWSP, WASA and ESD sponsored School Leader Paradigm and Leadership Framework trainings, and
    • Resources provided by OSPI’s Safety Center.

    Prefer to read the news? Check out the script

  • Immigrant Students: WSSDA Model Policies and SB 5497

    by David Morrill | Sep 26, 2019

    immigration_blog_graphic2_policy

    “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.”

    Section I, Washington State Constitution

    Protections for immigrant students, entitling them to a free public education, exist both in the Washington State Constitution and through the 1982 US Supreme Court decision - Plyer v. Doe.

    School districts are charged with the duties of protecting students’ constitutional and statutory rights as well as ensuring a safe and orderly learning environment. Ensuring student safety at school, may require administrators to call upon law enforcement, child protective agencies and/or the county health department. All of these agencies have duties and responsibilities related to student safety and some of their roles and authority overlap. Given this overlap of responsibility, maintaining strong cooperative working relationships with these agencies is critical. 

    In contrast, the work of immigration agents does not overlap with the work or duties of the school district. The immigration status of children or parents does not threaten school safety nor does it diminish the district’s obligation to educate the children residing within its borders.

    WSSDA Model Policy 4310 and Model Policy/Procedure 3226

    In December 2018, WSSDA revised model Policy 4310 – District Relationships with Law Enforcement and other Governmental Agencies and Model Policy and Procedure 3226 – Interviews and Interrogations of Students on School Premises. These policies were revised to help school districts comply with their constitutional duty to provide undocumented children with a free education, while also protecting their constitutional rights. 

    Some school districts have already updated these policies. Regardless, as school leaders, it is important for you and your staff to know the district protocol should an immigration officer request admittance to your school or information on a student.  In other words, school district/building guidelines should be developed for “What to do if ICE shows up at your school.”

    The WSSDA policy revisions also suggest the importance of a written memorandum of understanding (MOU), if a district engages the services of a Student Resource Officer (SRO), to clarify the district’s/school’s relationship with the SRO, including the SRO’s purpose, role, supervisory structure and limitations on access to students. 

    Senate Bill 5497 – Keep Washington Working

    At the close of the 2019 legislative session, Governor Inslee signed the Keep Washington Working Bill into law. The new law enhances public safety, promotes fairness to immigrants and protects the privacy and civil rights of all Washington residents.

    State and local law enforcement agencies, school resource officers and security departments may not provide non-public information to federal immigration authorities for civil immigration enforcement unless required by law.

    The Attorney General’s Office is charged with the responsibility of writing a model policy to address the new law. At this time, the AG’s office is reviewing the policy models developed by WSSDA and gathering input from stakeholders across the state. The model policy will be completed by May 21, 2020. 

    Read the corresponding article, "Feeling the Impact: The Toll of Immigration in Schools" by Debbi Hardy and Gayle Mar Chun.

    Debbi Hardy, Retired Director of Curriculum and Staff Development
    Gayle Mar Chun, Retired Principal. 
    Both are members of Strengthening Sanctuary, Olympia

  • Feeling the Impact: The Toll of Immigration in Schools

    by David Morrill | Sep 26, 2019

    immigration_blog_graphic

    “We wake up every day with the fear of being deported, of being separated from our families or having to leave the kids.”

    In June 1982, the Supreme Court issued Plyler v. Doe, a landmark decision holding that states cannot constitutionally deny students a free public education on account of their immigration status. Federal courts have relied on Plyer v. Doeto prevent practices that would have a “chilling effect” on a student’s right to attend school. 

    The Effect of New and Changing Policies

    However, in the last couple of years, a number of policies and proposals have been implemented on a wide range of immigration enforcement issues such as border security, interior enforcement, tighter vetting on asylum hearings, exclusionary visas to certain groups of people, restricting temporary protected status/DACA, travel bans of certain countries, expansion of family separations, penalties for accessing public assistance, and most recently, proposed family detention centers without time limits. 

    These policies can potentially impact 23 million non-citizens who live in the United States, as well as 12 million children who are predominantly U.S.-born.

    What Research Has Shown Us

    Immigration Research

    Immigrant families including those with lawful status are experiencing resounding levels of fear due to continual changes in immigration policy, media attention to the national rhetoric, recent customs enforcement raids, and senseless mass shootings at targeted populations. One long-time resident explained that there are frequent, conflicting legal changes which create emotional havoc; they feel that at any moment they could be expelled from this country. Undocumented immigrants face the risk of deportation, including long-time residents.  Schools are feeling the impact of immigrant students fearing the worst: family separations. (View more at immigrationresearch.org)

    Migration Policy

    “The raids forced hundreds of Mississippi children to face what they feared most: coming home to an empty house and not knowing if they would ever see their mom or dad again… on their first day of school. Research tells us that children suffer long-term developmental harm to their health and well-being as a result of the trauma and instability caused by large-scale raids that separate them from parents and loved ones. Raids leave schools, childcare centers, and other providers scrambling to deal with the aftermath of these man-made disasters, and the fear created extends far beyond the individuals and families impacted.” (Read more at migrationpolicy.org)

    Although schools, hospitals, and churches are designated as sensitive locations (safe spaces from immigration enforcement), many immigrant families are afraid to leave home to participate in everyday life activities.  Parents report that they stay indoors and rarely go outside. Children listen to the news. Students don’t participate in summer or extra-curricular programs. They often internalize the anxiety and bring it to school.

    Kaiser Family Foundation

    “One of our kindergarten teachers had a little boy who brought a suitcase with him to class for two days. He said, ‘I want to make sure I have my special things when they come to get me.’”  Kaiser Foundation has done extensive research of immigrant children reporting difficulty sleeping or eating, increased headaches or stomach aches, depression or anxiety, or being bullied. When students are fearful that their family is at risk, their learning is impacted. Living in a state of persistent stress leads to physical, psychological and emotional consequences affecting brain function in learning and reasoning. (Read more at kff.org)

    Disturbing Trends

    Within the ESD 113 service area, immigrant families and school personnel have shared these disturbing trends: 

    • Dropping out of Head Start,
    • Declining free/reduced lunch enrollment,
    • Not seeking medical care or getting immunizations,
    • Afraid of losing housing assistance,
    • Not signing up for college bound opportunities,
    • Not participating in afterschool or summer enrichment programs

    The new federal Public Charge ruling widens the scope of impact…even for those with legal green card status.  Teachers, counselors, and administrators report that these fears have led to a form of toxic stress among these students. For many immigrant families, the increased fears are having significant negative effects on the short and long-term health and well-being of children. Fear and anxiety are affecting all immigrants, legal and undocumented. Even non-immigrant friends and peers worry about their classmates who just “move away.”

    How You Can Help

    It may seem overwhelming for one individual or school to make a difference for these students. What immigrant families have said is they want trusting relationships and a welcoming environment from school communities… front office professionals, playground assistants, teachers, counselors, nurses, and administrators.  Families need extra reassurance that their children are safe in this climate. Listed below are some ideas for consideration.  

    • “Everyone Belongs” - Be public about ensuring the well-being of all students… in classrooms, halls, assemblies, staff lounge, even the bus.
    • Show empathy and support. Be an informed advocate. Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advancing policy solutions for low-income people.
    • Take advantage of teachable moments to create compassion among all students
    • K-12 Immigration Booklist available from Olympia Timberland Library.
    • Free Teaching Tolerance Pocket Guide: “Speak Up at School: Respond to Everyday Stereotypes and Bias” (Contact Teaching Tolerance for free print copies)
    • Identify a staff member as a bilingual school/community navigator
    • Share available school forms/letters in represented languages
    • Take advantage of an instant interpreter service such as Language Links
    • Invite families to a “Skyward Overview/Sign Up” (where someone can explain school registration, absences, grading, homework, fees) or “School Website Overview” (bus routes, menu, events calendar, volunteer opportunities)
    • Encourage scholarship opportunities such as WASFA and College Bound scholarship 
    • Partner with community resources that serve immigrant families for “Know Your Rights” or “Family Safety Plan” workshops:
    • Create a schoolwide protocol to protect students if customs officials come to school
    • Access free materials from Teaching Tolerance Project: Booklet “Responding to Hate and Bias at School: A Guide for Administrators, Counselors and Teachers” (Contact Teaching Tolerance for free print copies) \
    • Booklet: “Best Practices for Serving English Language Learners and Their Families”(Contact Teaching Tolerance for free print copies)

    While all children need a physically and emotionally safe school environment with supportive adults, immigrant children also need adults who understand their fears and the toll it takes on their learning. 

    Read more about WSSDA Model Policy and Senate Bill 5497 in this corresponding blog post.

    Article by: Debbi Hardy, Retired Director of Curriculum and Staff Development and Gayle Mar Chun, Retired Principal. (Both are members of Strengthening Sanctuary, Olympia)
  • Bring the Best Enrichment to Every Child

    by Caroline Brumfield | Sep 25, 2019

     

    6crickets

    Most of our school-aged children have parents that work. These schedules can make it challenging for parents to find quality before/after school care for their children. They often look to schools to provide quality programs. In the attached article by Dr. Helen Wang, read how some of our Washington State Elementary schools are providing unique experiences for their students.


    Bring the best enrichment to
    every child

    By Dr. Helen Wang

    CEO and co-founder of 6crickets Inc.

    August 16, 2019


    American parents work 2,000 hours per year, but their children are in school for only 1000 hours [1]. So after-school and summer time is half of K-12 education. This out-of-school-time has been painful for parents. A 2016 report by the Center for American Progress suggests "misaligned school schedules cost the U.S. economy $55 billion in lost productivity annually: First, they result in lower levels of full-time employment among women with elementary-school-age children… Second, the economy loses productivity due to school closings. When school is closed, many parents have to take time off from work in order to care for their children. When parents simply can't miss work to be there after school or on a staff training day, some children are left unsupervised. This puts them at an increased risk for sedentary screen time, poor food choices and high-risk social behavior.” [2] A decade of research and evaluation studies, as well as large-scale, rigorously conducted syntheses looking across many research and evaluation studies, confirms that children and youth who participate in afterschool programs can reap a host of positive benefits in a number of interrelated outcome areas—academic, social/emotional, prevention, and health and wellness [3]. 


    A robust and quality after-school program not only offers extended care and homework help, it should also provide enrichment. Some pioneering schools have brought incredibly creative, fun, and engaging after-school enrichment classes to their students right on campus where students already are. For example, children can access leading-edge technologies, learn 3D modeling and printing, perform creative storytelling using virtual reality, build their confidence and public speaking skills through theatre performances, gain engineering skills and foster creativity from traditional carpentry, learn cooking and sewing, master modern, digital-age engineering like Minecraft programming and robot building, learn life lessons and build character from martial arts, board games, and sports, be immersed in music and art,  learn the dance moves from classical to tap dancing to break dancing, rewalk the history and its impact on technical inventions from the journey of Marco Polo or WWII, and more! 


    Why wouldn’t any school want such vibrant after-school enrichment programs? Surely the schools that provide such access give their children more learning opportunities and advantages. 


    The key hurdles are the complexity of the operations for staffing and curriculum design and the cost of affording these enrichment classes. Indeed, this is an area where we have seen a significant equity gap. Affluent schools and families can afford these enrichment classes, but underprivileged ones cannot. From 6crickets’ school research work, we estimate 70% of American schools not having any enrichment classes offered. With as many as 1000 hours per year of no school and no parents for many students, this is a key contributing factor to the student achievement gap.


    Nevertheless, we have seen a beautiful approach emerging from some pioneering schools in our Washington state like Green Lake Elementary (Seattle), Ridgecrest Elementary (Shoreline), Lockwood Elementary (Woodinville) as well as many throughout the nation, such as  Worthington Schools of Ohio, Del Mar Union School District, and Yu Ming Charter School. To reduce the complexity of operations, these schools tap into local education businesses and invite expert teachers to teach after school enrichment classes right on school campus where students are. This approach creates a win-win-win ecosystem for the local community. Schools win because they no longer need to worry about staffing and curriculum design, but safely outsource them to the topic experts. It boosts education businesses and strengthens the local economy. Families and students win when the best enrichment is brought to them right at school. 


    To help bridge the equity gap, we see a creative approach from these pioneering schools and districts: schools or districts receive revenue through the management process of afters-school enrichment, which can in turn be budgeted for scholarships to support underprivileged students to also access enrichment. This is a particularly effective self-sustaining model at the district level with a larger pool of families where revenue received throughout the district can be redistributed to families in need. Thanks to the support of the scholarships with this approach, Worthington Schools of Ohio has enabled twice as many students with free or reduced-priced lunch to attend summer camps.


    To further simplify the overall management process, there are now software tools like 6crickets that target the exact afterschool enrichment management scenario to significantly streamline operations with online registrations, parent reviews to ensure program quality organically, real-time rosters and attendance for districts, schools, and vendors respectively to ensure student safety, automatic payment to vendors to simplify billing, and revenue collection capabilities to create scholarships. 


    While the out-of-school-time problem of 1000 hours per child per year may be daunting, it is exciting to see the innovative approaches taking place in our school communities. With these new ideas and technological advances, you can start bringing the best enrichment to your students today!


    Bio of the author: 


    Dr. Helen Wang received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 2001 and B.S. in Computer Science from UT Austin in 1995. Helen is a renowned computer scientist. She co-founded 6crickets Inc. in 2014 with the passion and mission of bringing the best enrichment to every child, leveraging the power of technologies. 6crickets Inc. is backed by National Science Foundation to bring advanced technologies, quality, efficiency, safety, and equity to the space of out-of-school-time. Helen has led 6crickets to support hundreds of schools and districts and thousands of activity providers throughout 30 states of the United States with their enrichment programs. Prior to 6crickets, Helen founded and managed Microsoft Research’s security and privacy research group and was a Principal Researcher. She led her team to invent and deploy technologies that have touched every web user and developer’s life. She also mentored more than 30 Ph.D. students for their dissertation research, who have all become professors at top universities or leaders in high-tech companies.
  • October's Safety High Five

    by David Morrill | Sep 23, 2019

    1. National Bullying Prevention Month

      Kick off the year and make a special effort to engage your entire school community in bullying prevention and intervention this month! Wednesday, October 23 is Unity Day – wear orange!


      For more bullying prevention resources, check these links:


    2. The Great Washington ShakeOut

       October 17that 10:17 am. An earthquake drill is now required by law, and the Great ShakeOut is the perfect opportunity to practice ‘drop, cover, and hold on’. Even if you “drop, cover and hold on” on a different day, please register for ShakeOut.  


    3. School Safety Planning Tip

      It’s now officially Fall. As leaves come down, and as you prepare for cooler – colder – days, look around your campus. Do a check of your signage, your sight lines, and other natural or man-made features around your campus which might impact your overall school and campus safety.

      In the meantime, encourage everyone that if they see something, say something!

      Need help developing your plan? Contact the School Safety Center or visit the REMS TA Center web site.


    4. Halloween

      On a fun note, Halloween is coming! The CDC has provided some Halloween Health and Safety Tips for us all.

    5. School Safety Center

      And as a final FYI, as part of the overall OSPI agency website redo, the School Safety Center is also being updated. You will see the changes, but if there are resources you do not see, just let us know.
  • AWSP News for September 18, 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | Sep 18, 2019


    In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:

    • our School Leaders Collaborative,
    • AWSP-hosted WELL Summit,
    • Kaiser Permanente,
    • Washington State’s new Teacher of the Year for 2020,
    • APLN, the 2020 legislative session,
    • our Political Action Committee,
    • and our tribute to the Mariners during this year’s Summer Conference.
    Prefer to read? Check out the script.
  • One Out of Five: Disability History and Pride Project Video Release 2019 with Dates ​

    by Caroline Brumfield | Sep 16, 2019

    disability_pride_1920x1080

    The Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO) and Rooted in Rights have partnered to create 6 student voice videos highlighting students with disabilities’ experiences in Washington’s public K-12 schools, as part of the One Out of Five: Disability History and Pride Project, an educational resource for teachers and students. We will publish the videos to the OEO YouTube Channel and host resources on our webpage. Join the discussion on disability awareness and inclusion on Twitter and use the hashtap #OneOutOfFiveDisabilityProject.


    We encourage you to share this resource with anyone who may be interested.

    Project Overview, Lesson Plans, and Resources are located on the OEO Webpage or Shared Google Drive.

    Student Voice Video Release Dates:

    Sept. 10, 2019

    Sept. 17, 2019

    Sept. 23, 2019

    Oct. 1, 2019

    Oct. 8, 2019

    Oct. 15, 2019

    If you have questions about the videos or outreach plan, please contact Stephanie Palmquist or (206) 639.5067. We welcome your feedback.

  • ASB Answers: Student Councils for Elementary Schools

    by Caroline Brumfield | Sep 16, 2019
    ASB

    Q:
    Are elementaries required to have formal student councils?
     
    A: There is no legal requirement to create a formal student body organization for elementary. The WAC states that if you have 7th grade or above, then you must create a student council structure.

    In lieu of official student decision making, the principal can act as the ASB President and Treasurer if there are ASB needs.
     
    WAC 392-138-011 Formation of associated student bodies required.
    The formation of an associated student body shall be mandatory and a prerequisite whenever one or more students of a school district engage in money-raising activities with the approval and at the direction or under the supervision of the district:  Provided, That the board of directors of a school district may act, or delegate the authority to an employee(s) of the district to act, as the associated student body governing body for any school facility within the district containing no grade higher than the sixth grade.
     
    I am very biased about the idea of including students when we can find proper ways. I think teaching our students to find their voice and to represent the voices of others is an absolutely necessary social-emotional learning opportunity. I would use opportunities for learning how to budget, spending funds, legal requirements putting on event, and reflecting on their success to teach our kids how to work with groups. I think it is an awesome opportunity to work on campus culture and behavioral/emotional safety (tackling bullying).
     
    AWSL has resources available on inclusion of elementary students in a variety of student leader structures that can best meet the culture/climate of the building.
     
  • AWSP TV: Core Plus Aerospace

    by David Morrill | Sep 13, 2019


    In This Episode

    In this episode, Executive Director Scott Seaman is joined by Lindbergh High School's principal, "Q" Hollins, John Turner from Boeing, and Lindbergh student and national skills contest winner "MuMu" Chuol – all to talk about pathways and the opportunities Core Plus Aerospace can provide.

    What is Core Plus Aerospace?

    Core Plus Aerospace instructors teach students in hands-on, engaging classroom settings. The curriculum provides students with a foundation in manufacturing as well as universal skills that are important to any career. Core Plus Aerospace students graduate with more options and a clear advantage when applying for a job in manufacturing, pursuing an apprenticeship, or preparing for college programs in engineering or other related fields.

    Links and Resources

  • SEBB Open Enrollment Materials Available Online

    by David Morrill | Sep 12, 2019

    Health Care Authority's SEBB logo

    You’ve no doubt heard about the new School Employees Benefit Board in your districts but just in case you haven’t yet, here is the latest information about open enrollment in the SEBB. 

    The SEBB Program’s open enrollment webpage is now live, with all the information school employees need to prepare for the first annual open enrollment (October 1–November 15, 2019). The online version of the 2020 School Employee Initial Enrollment Guide is also now available online.

    The page also includes information on benefit fairs, plan comparisons, premiums, and how to enroll.

    The School Employee Initial Enrollment Guide will mail on September 18 to eligible employees using data that was uploaded into SEBB My Account by September 11 at 3 p.m. 

    If you have any feedback about the SEBB program that you think AWSP should know about, please contact me. 

  • AWSP News for September 4, 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | Sep 04, 2019


    In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:

    • Principal Relationships,
    • Chad Prewitt, one of the winners of this year’s Handy Award,
    • another great year of professional learning events designed just for you,
    • Principals of Literacy,
    • Summer Conference 2020,
    • our online resources and videos,
    • our revised Networked Improvement Community Grants,
    • a bill removing the personal and philosophical option to exempt children from the MMR vaccine,
    • the Mental Health Initiative, and
    • The Main Idea.
    Prefer to read the News? Check out the script.
  • MMR Vaccine Exemption Law Change for 2019

    by David Morrill | Sep 03, 2019

    small child getting a vaccine

    In 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that removes the personal and philosophical option to exempt children from the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine required for school and child care entry. It also requires employees and volunteers at child care centers to provide immunization records indicating they have received the MMR vaccine, proof of immunity or a medical exemption. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on May 10, 2019, and goes into effect on July 28, 2019.

    To help answer questions and share the current status, DOH has created an exemption law change webpage. This page contains information and resources on school and child care immunization requirement changes and provides links to sample letters and the revised Certificate of Exemption. The page is being updated as more information becomes available. 

    As of June 10, 2019, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported there have been 1,022 cases of measles in the United States this year, the greatest number since 1992.  Measles is extremely contagious virus that travels through the air.  You can get measles if you go near someone who has the virus because the virus stays for up to two hours in the air of a room where a person with measles has been.

    The recent measles outbreaks in Washington and the ongoing outbreaks across the United States demonstrate why the change to the vaccine exemption law will help keep Washington healthy and safe from three serious diseases. As the new law comes into effect, DOH will continue work in helping parents and the public understand the safety record of vaccines and the critical role they have in saving lives. Learn more or contact Kathy Bay, DNP, RN, CENP (Clinical and Quality Assurance Section Manager at DOH).

  • The September Super Seven – School Safety Starter Suggestions for 2019–2020

    by David Morrill | Aug 16, 2019



    The new school year begins, and planning to ensure that each school is the safest possible continues! Here are our September Super Seven School Safety Starter Suggestions to help kick of the new year.

    1. Comp School Safety Planning

    This is a good time to review your school comprehensive safety plan. Here are some starter suggestions:

    1. pull your safety team together,
    2. meet with your local first responders,
    3. check your school’s emergency supplies,
    4. update your mapping system, and
    5. review your building entry protocols before school starts.

    In the meantime, feel free to visit the School Safety Center website.

    School Safety Center


    2. ICS Requirement

    RCW 28A.320.125 requires building principals be ICS certified. You can do this yourself online. ICS 100, Introduction to the Incident Command System, introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training.

    Get Certified


    3. Heads-up! New Drill Requirements

    The Legislature changed the required safety drill requirements starting in the 2019–2020 school year. Along with the previous required drills, an earthquake ‘drop-cover-hold on’ drill is now also required, as is a walking lahar evacuation for schools in mapped lahar zones. See all the new requirements. More information and guidance around lahars and tsunamis is coming soon!

    Learn More


    4. EQ Drill – Shakeout

    One of the changes is the requirement to have an earthquake drill. Schools are strongly encouraged to participate in the Great Washington ShakeOut on October 17th. Even if you opt to “drop, cover and hold on” on a different day, please register for ShakeOut.

    Register


    5. Threat Assessment Program

    Threat assessment is a structured group process used to evaluate the risk posed by a student or another person, typically as a response to an actual or perceived threat or concerning behavior. Contact your Educational Service District (ESD) for more information on how to engage in Level 1 training.

    Learn More


    6. Stop the Bleed

    Did you know that a person with a life-threatening injury can die from blood loss within 5 minutes? With Stop the Bleed training, bystanders are positioned to provide immediate first aid. Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign intended to encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. There is no Stop the Bleed requirement; however, this is a free program which you might consider for your staff. For more information, see:


    7. Suicide Prevention

    September is suicide prevention month. There is online training coming soon. In the meantime, there are also a lot of valuable resources at these links:

  • Letter to a New Administrator

    by David Morrill | Aug 13, 2019

    young girl writing a letter

    Through the magic of "Twitterverse", I stumbled across this blog post by Chris Lehman from a number of years ago. It is a letter to all young teachers thinking about leaving the profession. As I read the letter, I couldn't help but think what it would read like if I removed the word "teacher" and instead used "school leader".  Applicable? Yes. Moving? Yes. Great read? Heck yes!

    Check out this passage. 

    I don’t remember where I read it, but I was reading another article that mentioned the oft-quoted stat about how many teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and I was thinking about how many really amazing young men and women I’ve known in my career who fell into that category, and I was thinking about a conversation I had with an old colleague at Beacon and how she said, "Yeah… that year three or four mark, that’s a dangerous time, because that’s when you think you know so much more than you actually do." And I was thinking about my own progression as a teacher and how true that was… And I was thinking about some of the things people who stayed with the profession seemed to embody that the ones who left didn’t. I was thinking about what I want to say to all those teachers who, right around year three or four, start to leave the profession…

    Dear Young Teacher Thinking of Leaving,

    You’ve stuck with this job for a few years now. You have made it past the hardest few years, but it’s still a really hard job. And you’re at a point where you know a lot about the job, but there’s still a lot to learn. And the things you haven’t learned yet are the some of the things you need to stay with this job. I don’t know for sure that you should stay; after all, people switch professions these days. But here are some of the things it takes longer than three or four years to really, really learn. Some of these are things I’ve had to learn the hard way, some of these are things I’ve seen others learn the hard way, and a lot of these ideas are things that I keep having to relearn all the time.

    Read the Rest

  • We Need Summer Camp More Than Ever Before

    by Marty Fortin | Aug 13, 2019

    Summer_camp

    We Need Summer Camp More Than Ever Before

    You're just as likely to build a robot as paddle a canoe at summer camp today, but the value of the experience is even more important for our screen-addled youth...

  • AWSP TV - Ep. 10 - Kids at Hope

    by Xenia Doualle | Aug 13, 2019

    Do you view kids at risk or at hope? Is every adult in your building a treasure hunter? Do you have any idea what we're talking about? In this episode of AWSP TV, Scott Seaman sits down with Rick Miller, founder and CEO of Kids at Hope and Professor of Practice and Clinical Director at Arizona State University. Watch our show to learn more about Kids at Hope as a program and about the science of hope. 
  • National Geographic: "For decades, our coverage was racist. To rise above our past, we must acknowledge it."

    by David Morrill | Aug 13, 2019

    This blog’s title comes from a recent National Geographic article describing the magazine’s investigation into its historical arc-of-reporting on people of color in the U.S. and abroad. The patience and time dedicated by the editor-in-chief to curate and dissect how the magazine treated issues of race is a helpful model for school systems. In order to serve our students and facilitate honest and open dialogue, we too must examine and reconcile with our own long-standing cultural narratives and how certain students are adversely impacted by the educational systems we lead.

    By examining our collective past and personal stories, we create space for individuals and communities to grow and begin to say, “I understand things differently now.” Listening with humility to the narratives of those negatively impacted by long-standing racist cultural norms and systems allows us to engage the wisdom of Dr. Jeffery Duncan-Andrade and “get proximal to the pain.” Proximity helps us come to terms with the fact that our current educational system bears a significant level responsibility for producing the inequitable outcomes found in every disaggregated data point.

    Silencing or denying our history does not serve the greater good. As Brené Brown poignantly notes, the irony is we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness – even our whole heartedness - actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the faults.

    Note-to-self: Include the past in order to transcend it.

    Similar to National Geographic, on the landing page of the June edition of In the Loop, an online magazine published by AWSP’s affiliate, the Association of Washington Student Leaders (AWSL), Joe Fenbert, Program Director for AWSL at the Cispus Learning Center, thoughtfully critiques previous systems and collective ways of thinking about developing student leaders, “…we now encourage schools to analyze their systems to lessen barriers so more kids come our way. We also now tie our goals and objectives to…Closing the Gap.”

    With a nationwide reputation of excellence for cultivating student-leaders, AWSL’s action-steps are the product of their collective conviction to serve as a model for disrupting systems that show bias towards particular groups of students. Like National Geographic, AWSL is publicizing how they are including their past in order to transcend it, with the explicit goal of dismantling structural racism.

    Structural racism happens in schools. For example, we’ve fielded several calls from principals seeking advice on how to handle the use of the “N-word.” Students are frequently using the word in nuanced ways that cause uncertainty regarding how to respond. If you’re wondering how deal with students’ use of the “N-word” feel free to contact us and, most importantly, start by getting proximal to the pain. Learn the history of the word, the trauma it surfaces, and the detrimental power it has on the learning environment for all students and staff. Proactively develop an appropriate and rapid disciplinary (teaching and learning) response designed to foster growth and a culture of learning. Lastly, similar to what AWSL is doing, begin to intentionally examine for bias and structural racism within your school by taking two specific steps.

    First, acknowledge; come to terms with and talk about the fact that bias and structural racism exist in every school system. Regardless of how well-intentioned the adults are, no system is immune. As Dr. Caprice Hollins teaches, “Many believe having conversations about race divides us. In actuality, it’s usually our defensiveness and unwillingness to be open to exploring racism that shuts the conversation down and causes a rift between us.”

    Next, find appropriate and thoughtful ways to engage your students of color and their families. Curriculum nights are fine, but authentically structured interactions, such as home-visits, in which you and your staff take a learning stance, are critical for building relationships and gaining important perspectives about the people you serve.

    When we create space and a system for conducting home visits, students of color and their families might feel safe explaining how bias and structural racism manifest in your school. However, it can be risky, traumatic and tiresome for students of color and their families to educate school staff about bias and structural racism and, frankly, it’s not their job. As lead learners in an education system, it is our responsibility to seek out the numerous resources that provide guidance on reducing bias and dismantling structural racism.

    In conjunction with AWSL, AWSP has worked hard to dismantle structural racism. Committed to a strategic plan that compels us to lead for equity, we continue to prioritize time, effort and resources toward our mission, which includes providing professional learning on topics related to equity, the effects of red-lining, equitable school-wide discipline practices, and the psycho-social impacts of structural racism. Additionally, after three years of shedding light on the issue, we are encouraged by the national trend elevating the science of implicit bias as a “thing” to pay attention to. So, for the sake of all students and staff, let’s keep the topic relevant while ensuring we don’t talk about implicit bias without talking about structural racism.

    Grace, understanding, and interactions with people from different backgrounds are pillars for engaging in healthy discourse on emotionally charged topics such as bias and race. We’re all in this together, but time is not ours to waste. It’s important to move forward and rapidly make a visible effort to learn about the experiences of people of color and to understand what it means to be white. Doing so will help us create authentic, life-changing, educational environments for each and every student.

    “It’s hard for an individual – or a country – to evolve past discomfort if the source of anxiety is only discussed in hush tones.” -Susan Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Magazine

    Want to Learn More: