• AWSP News for January 12, 2020

    by Xenia Doualle | Jan 12, 2020

    In this first episode of AWSP News for 2020, we discuss:

    • another great monthly school safety newsletter,
    • AWSP’s third annual Future School Leaders Day,
    • a Capturing Kids’ Hearts workshop,
    • the AWSP Advocacy Advisory Council,
    • a message from Roz Thompson,
    • a call for presenters at this May’s Annual Equity Conference,
    • some new Fact or Fiction videos for you about the new Graduation Pathways,
    • the Xicanx Institute for Teaching and Organizing (XITO) at the Cispus Learning Center,
    • an opportunity to serve a two-year term on the AWSL Student Voice & Advocacy Board, and
    • a reminder about the powerful and impactful role you have as a school leader.

    Prefer to read the news? Check out our script.

  • Resources for Combatting Domestic Violence

    by David Morrill | Jan 10, 2020

    Image result for wscadv logo"

    Over Christmas break, the Bellingham School District lost Sunnyland Elementary School principal Lynn Heimsoth and her therapy dog to a senseless and tragic act of domestic violence. Our hearts are with the entire community. The response team in Bellingham has done an amazing job of supporting their schools and community through tough times. We can't do much, but we can offer some resources to support school leaders across the state.

    If you're a principal or assistant principal, you almost definitely have some staff members who at one point or another, have encountered domestic violence. According to data from the US Center for Disease Control, one in four women (and one in 10 men) have been victims of domestic violence. One in three teens have experienced dating violence. Help and resources are out there. Check out this great list of resources provided by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and while you're at it, make sure you know how to find your local support center. 

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  • OSPI School Safety Tips for January

    by Xenia Doualle | Jan 09, 2020

    Happy New Year!  Welcome back!

    There has been a lot of conversation about drills lately – the whats, the whys, the hows and the whens. Old requirements; new requirements. Muscle memory, option-based responses, and more.

    So what do we need to know and know how to do? What else should be consider when planning our drills?

    Schools are required to have at least one drill per month, including summer sessions, when students are present. Our WA required drills practice four basic functional threat or hazard responses: earthquake response, evacuation, lockdown, and shelter-in-place. For schools in mapped tsunami or lahar zones, a pedestrian evacuation drill is also required.  (More on that requirement at a later time.) Finally, at least one drill per year must incorporate the school mapping system. Schools may choose to practice one or more functional drills multiple times during the course of a year, based on the specific threats and hazards which the school faces.

    The drills are intended to practice a single emergency response. Each drill focuses on a single function in order to strengthen skills, build muscle memory, and identify areas of improvement. It is important to note, though, that there are times when drilled functions may be sequential. A drop-cover-hold earthquake drill followed by an evacuation drill is one example of this.

    Drills are frequently scheduled and announced: “We will have an evacuation drill on Wednesday at 10:25.” The question has been raised as whether this is really a useful drill. The answer, “Yes, it is.” Remember muscle memory. Such an announcement will prepare staff and students to practice what they need to do within the context of an evacuation. Less specific drill times can also be useful: “We will have an evacuation drill on Wednesday.” Such a plan may test that muscle memory.

    All of which leads into the conversation around staff and student preparation. Take time to talk with your staff about the practice of drilling. Work through scenarios and mini-table top exercises. Consider option-based responses – “what-if” situations. Develop parallel, age-appropriate lessons for classroom use prior to your actual drills. Include your school’s rules to be followed during a drill. Remember that the drills, themselves, are ultimately meant to teach students and staff to take appropriate action based on specific situations. Prior conversations will also help reduce levels of anxiety during various drills for both staff and for students.

    Finally, remember to involve your local first responders and families in your drill preparations. Depending on the nature and timing of a particular drill, you may want or need to invite them to participate along with your staff and students.

    Plan before your drill. Make it a New Year’s resolution!

    Additional Resources on Drills and Drilling:

  • AWSP TV - Ep. 20 - Choose 180 with Sean Goode

    by Xenia Doualle | Jan 06, 2020
  • AWSP TV - Ep. 18 - Justyn Poulos

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 28, 2019

    Kurt Hatch sits down with OSPI Director of MTSS Justyn Poulos to discuss MTSS.
  • Fact or Fiction? Classroom Exclusions #4

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 28, 2019


    Fact or Fiction?

    A student is directed to leave the classroom in order to have a conversation with the teacher in the hallway.  This action needs to be documented as a Classroom Exclusion.

    It Depends.

    If the student remains under the teacher’s supervision while in the hallway for a brief period of time and the purpose of the conversation is to support the student in meeting behavioral expectations, the teacher’s action would constitute “other forms of discipline” and would not be a Classroom Exclusion. 

    Similarly, if the teacher calls for support so a different adult can work with the student for a brief period of time - for purposes of re-teaching or reviewing classroom expectations - that action would not constitute a Classroom Exclusion.

    However, if a teacher directs the student to go into the hallway and leaves the student there unsupervised—or, for example, with a para-professional for longer than a brief duration of time—those actions would constitute a classroom exclusion. 

    Check out the other Classroom Exclusion Fact or Fiction videos on our Youtube Channel!

    “School Suspensions are an Adult Behavior”

    Supporting and Responding to Behavior: Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers

    What is PBIS?

    Tier I

    Understanding Implicit Bias

  • AWSP News for December 22, 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 22, 2019


    In this final episode of AWSP News for 2019, we discuss:

    • our annual principal workload and compensation survey,
    • our 2020 Legislative Platform,
    • a Capturing Kids’ Hearts workshop,
    • our 3rd annual Future School Leaders Day,
    • next year’s Annual Equity Conference,
    • the 2020 AWSP/WASA Summer Conference,
    • Richard Sherman,
    • new faces at AWSP,
    • the 2020 Census,
    • our AWSL Student Voice and Advocacy Board, and
    • some professional advice for you during your Winter Break.

    Prefer to read the News? Check out the script.

  • Alfonso Lopez's Five Tips for Embracing Diversity

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 21, 2019

    2019 Elementary Principal of the Year Alfonso Lopez shares five tips for embracing diversity in your school.
  • Fact or Fiction? Classroom Exclusions #3

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 21, 2019


    Fact or Fiction?

    A “Brief Duration” is defined by law as 5 minutes or less.


    State regulations actually do not define “brief duration”.  So, there is no set amount of time that defines a Classroom Exclusion. 

    That said...the goal is to keep students in class as much as possible and the intent of the new discipline law is to avoid students being punished by having them out of class or school for extended periods of time.

    Evidence-based behavioral interventions and classroom strategies that include brief durations of time away from instruction typically recommend a duration not to exceed five minutes. 

    For example, Breaks are Better—a tier 2 intervention intended for students who engage in task-avoidance behaviors—provides students explicit opportunities to request breaks from academic activities for approximately 2 to 5 minutes. 

    The key questions in all of this is…”What we are having students do while they are out of class? And how can we develop non-punitive classroom instructional systems for behavior modification that support students as they work to increase behaviors that promote learning?

    Check out the other Classroom Exclusion Fact or Fiction videos on our Youtube Channel!

    “School Suspensions are an Adult Behavior”

    Supporting and Responding to Behavior: Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers

    What is PBIS?

    Tier I

    Understanding Implicit Bias

  • AWSP TV - Ep. 17 - MTSS with Susan Barrett

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 21, 2019

    Kurt Hatch sits down with Director of the Mid-Atlantic PBIS Network Susan Barrett to talk about Multi-tiered Systems of Support.
  • Winter Closure/ Happy Holidays from AWSP

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 19, 2019

    Happy Holidays from AWSP


    As you head into the holiday break and some well deserved quiet time with your families, we will be doing the same.

    Please note that the AWSP office will be closed Monday, December 23, 2019 until Monday, January 6, 2020. If you encounter a professional emergency at this time, you can call us at (360) 464-2968.


    On behalf of all of us here at AWSP and the students and principals in our state, we want to wish you all a happy holiday season, well-deserved winter break and a chance to rest, relax and recharge for the 2020 year.

    We are all in this business together. The business of shaping the future by impacting the kids in our system. Strong partnerships, collaboration and networking is the only way to put hope in the center of our educational system. 

    Thank you for the continued “forever impact” you are having on each and every child in our great state and beyond. Together, we are making a difference.

    Again, we wish you a restful, family-filled holiday season. See you in 2020!

  • 'Twas The Night Before Winter Break

    by David Morrill | Dec 19, 2019

    winter break image

    Please enjoy this clever bit of poetry, courtesy of Omak High School Principal David Kirk.

    ‘Twas the week before break and all through the school

    The students were studying for exams that aren’t cool.

    The students’ work was hung on walls with care,

    With hopes that high scores would soon appear there.


    Technology is working, and the staff is in step

    As the administration is quickly filling out TPEP.

    The end of first semester is coming near

    As we only have three weeks after the New Year.


    I walk through classrooms, seeing great education being taught

    Knowing that my teachers always give all they’ve got.

    As we stress over data and the achievement gap

    It is clear that there is space in the brains left to tap.


    Then came an OSPI bulletin that arose such a clatter

    And I rushed to the website to see what’s the matter?

    What a great surprise to a new assessment name

    As my students are struggling to hit the ‘moving target’ game


    With education changing, and Collections of Evidence not coming back

    The confusion with graduation, is rising high in my stack.

    With no AYP and no support team to blame

    OSPI called all the assessments out by name:


    On WASL – Wait that’s SBAC, on Finals – that was EOC

    Testing MAPS and DIBELS, no one is free

    Smarter Balance confusion is on the rise

    With stress and frustration in students’ eyes.


    As this poem is meant to add joy and smile

    Knowing that education always goes the extra mile

    So many assessments for goodness sake

    Please hug a teacher and have a safe break.

  • Resources for Maximizing Your School Counselor's Role

    by Caroline Brumfield | Dec 19, 2019


    We recently met with representatives from the Washington School Counselor Association (WSCA) and would like to share some information and resources with you for maximizing the role that school counselors play in your building.

    According to a 2008 report by the NASSP, the College Board, and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), when principals and school counselors work together effectively, they can have a huge impact on student achievement.

    Check out these resources to learn more:

    "Finding a Way" tells the stories of principals and school counselors who have formed strong partnerships to overcome challenges and prepare students for college. This publication highlights the activities, skills and behaviors contributing to their success.

    "A Closer Look at the Principal-Counselor Relationship" reports on the results of a national survey of more than 2,300 school counselors and principals. Respondents shared their perceptions about the most important characteristics of a successful relationship and the most significant barriers they face.

  • AWSP TV - Ep. 16 - Cultural Competence with Ben Ibale

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 17, 2019

    WEA's Human and Civil rights Coordinator Ben Ibale joins our executive director Dr. Scott Seaman to talk about cultural competence and the role of the principal.
  • October Principal Leadership Weekend Wrap-Up

    by David Morrill | Dec 16, 2019
    In late October, our Grade Level Committees and Advisory Council's met. Here's a summary of what we was talked about. 

    Grade Level Committee Updates


    The Elementary Grade Level Committee spent time as a committee in break out sessions, collecting good thoughts/ideas and answering questions in relationship to our AWSP governance reconfiguration, advocacy platform, self care & work-life balance, MTSS supports in place at the building level, and celebrations of what’s working in your school.

    Additionally, with new membership to our committee we spent some time completing a “Goose Chase” with the Goose Chase app to get to know our colleagues on the committee better and to have a little fun prior to heading to our dinner social. We encourage you to check out this fun app – it’s easy to do and a fun way to connect in a staff meeting and to laugh together as a team!

    Our second day, we focused our professional learning on using a “Fishbone Diagram” with any problem of practice your school might be facing. We highlighted the importance of “Inquiry vs. Advocacy”, the importance of suspending opinion to guide teams to solutions where they actually had control. We used this critical video to teach the concept to participants.

    Middle Level

    • WIAA Report – New leadership at WIAA. Challenges introducing 6th grade sports (Wrestling, Track, X-country) include space and referee availability.

    • NASSP Report, Region 7 convening report and advocacy – An emphasis on connecting with local legislators – inviting them to your school in order to help them understand how school works. Focusing on the positive and asking for support in order to increase opportunities for more students.

    • Discussion and idea sharing on the new discipline law.

    High School

    Our agenda was full of items relevant to our collective work.

    Special kudos to John Belcher for his expert facilitation skills and having us share some of our collective work through the use of Google Slides and Padlet. Modeling this activity for our group gave us all ideas we can take back and use with our staff.

    As you return to your work remember to take a moment and thank your Superintendent for allowing you to attend and be a representative of your region at the meeting. Feel free to pass a long any documents or information you heard/learned to the rest of your administrative team. Coupled with your own administrative team is the league that you represent. Be sure to update them and other individuals with the details of our work at your next meeting.

    Here are the items from our agenda:

    • ESD - AWSP Alignment Transition: As you report back to your region regarding the governance structure transition some key points are the following:
      • Coordination of stronger regional teams
      • ESD liaisons who will further the work of supporting school leaders across the region
      • Focused AWSP Executive Staff regional support
      • Increased student leadership connection
      • United principal voice from each region
      • Equal and increased representation across the state of Scott Seaman’s presentation to the whole group that shows the of the ESD’s.

    If you would like to review the notes we took during our table discussions, they can be accessed here.

    • EdCamp: This is always an enjoyable time of our work as we take the time to learn from each other. Topics for this meeting were: 9th grade failure rates, inclusion practices, creative discipline ideas, and increasing all student voice.
    • Advocacy Work: The amazing Roz Thompson joined our group and reviewed the upcoming Legislative session. She focused on a couple key bills (notifications and school safety) and walked us through HB 1599 and what the state board was going to rule on.
    • Met in regional ESD teams and adjourned.

    Thanks again for your work and most of all your time. John and I hope you found it valuable, informative, and most of all worthwhile. As always, should you have any questions, thoughts, comments, or things you need me to follow-up with, give me a call or shoot me an email.

    Our next meeting is January 25th and the 26th at the SouthCenter Double Tree. Until then, keep up the great work for kids!

  • Fact or Fiction? Classroom Exclusions #2

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 16, 2019

    Fact or Fiction?

    A “Classroom Exclusion” occurs whenever a student is removed from the classroom.


    A classroom exclusion occurs when a student is removed from a classroom or instructional activity area for behavioral violations. However, it does not include removals that result in missed instruction for a brief duration and when the following two things are happening while the student is out of class:

    1) A teacher or other school personnel are attempting other forms of discipline to support the student in meeting behavioral expectations.

    2) The student remains under the supervision of the teacher or other school personnel during the brief duration.

    Check out the other Classroom Exclusion Fact or Fiction videos on our Youtube Channel!

    “School Suspensions are an Adult Behavior”

    Supporting and Responding to Behavior: Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers

    What is PBIS?

    Tier I

    Understanding Implicit Bias

  • AWSP News for December 8, 2019

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 08, 2019

    In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:

    • two students selected to represent Washington in the United States Senate Youth Scholarship Program,
    • the 2020 Summer Conference,
    • the Visible Learning Plus Institute,
    • a monthly checklist of things you need to be considering in the world of school safety,
    • another edition of Fact or Fiction,
    • a powerful way to use student voice,
    • students who dread the Winter Break,
    • the break as a time to reflect as the lead learner in your school, and
    • a special shout out to 30-year rock star AWSP employee Annalee Braley.

    Prefer to read the News? Check out the script.

  • AWSP TV - Ep. 11 - Discipline Systems

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 07, 2019

    Dr. Dana Anderson, Kim Fry, Abigail Westbrook and Kurt Hatch discuss policy, leadership and practice for positive discipline systems.

    • Click here to access important tools designed to help systems evaluate implementation progress for school-wide PBiS.
    • Policy Alert or For additional information about the new Student Discipline Model Policy see the Policy Alert available here.



  • AWSP TV - Ep. 19 - Ross Hunter

    by Xenia Doualle | Dec 06, 2019

    Ross Hunter, Secretary of the Department of Children, Youth and Families, swings by to talk about his department and how principals can support early learning.
  • OSPI School Safety Tips for December

    by David Morrill | Dec 05, 2019

    It’s hard to believe it’s December already! The holidays are upon us. Where does the time go?

    1. Technology Safety

    No doubt there will be a lot of new technology coming into homes over the holidays. Check out and share the Connect Safely Guides. You’ll find both one-page Quick Guides and longer Parent Guides to help all adults understand many of the apps, sites, and technologies which they may be seeing or hearing about.

    2. National Bullying Prevention Center

    As another gift to educators, the Pacer National Bullying Prevention Center Videos has over 100 short videos available for free. These can be used as staff refreshers. Many can also be used in the classroom with students. This is a resource which keeps on giving as new videos are frequently added.

    3. Suicide Prevention

    Did you realize that the suicide rate is lowest in December. That’s good news! However, those rates rise after the New Year and into the spring. Check out the OSPI Suicide Prevention page. There you will find an excellent Model Plan Template to help build suicide prevention into your district and school comprehensive safety plan.

    4. Threat Assessment

    As we know, Threat Assessment refers to a structured group process to evaluate the risk posed by a student or another person. It is done in response to an actual or perceived threat or concerning behavior. Through our 9 ESDs, WA is implementing the Salem-Keizer Threat Assessment Model. The model includes a site-assessment screening completed by a trained multi-disciplinary Level 1 team. If necessary, more comprehensive in-depth assessment and consultation is completed by a Level 2 multi-agency team. For general background information on threat assessment, checkout this link from the Secret Service.

    Have a safe and happy holiday season! Get ready for a safe and productive new year!