This spring, Rush Elementary School students participated in the school’s 12th annual Young Author’s program. Students worked to write and illustrate a book on the topic of their choice.
Connections - February 20, 2018
Special Safety Edition
A message from Dr. Traci Pierce, Superintendent
Dear Lake Washington Families,
I hope you and your family enjoyed a restful mid-winter break. As staff and students return to school today, safety is at the forefront of our minds. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims of the Florida tragedy, and we return to school this week with a heightened awareness of the importance of doing everything within our power to keep our schools safe.
We have prepared this special, safety-focused edition of our Connections e-newsletter to go out today, as our schools return from the mid-winter break. The safety and security of our staff and students continues to be a top priority. This special edition of Connections highlights our district’s continued efforts toward safety and security, including our active partnerships with law enforcement, safety experts, families, and mental health professionals. Our building administrators and staff are committed to ensuring that established safety protocols are followed, and to helping our students feel safe as they return to school this week.
Dr. Traci Pierce, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District
See something, say something
You may have seen recent news reports about a grandmother in Everett who reported concerns about her grandson. Another potential tragedy was diverted by someone who was not afraid to speak up when something wasn’t right.
Lake Washington School District has a Safe Schools Alert Tipline that anyone can anonymously use to report concerns: 425-529-5763. You can also send a text message to this number to make a report. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, reach out to any principal, associate principal, teacher or other LWSD staff member to report your concerns.
Comprehensive School Safety Plan/Building Safety Protocols
As a district, we are continually assessing our strategy and approach to safety and security. We have a Comprehensive Safety Plan, and each school has a building-level plan that aligns to district plan. Our district Risk and Safety Manager runs a safety committee that regularly brings together local law enforcement, first responders, safety experts, building administrators and PTSA parent representatives to review and recommend safety enhancements.
Through a partnership with our local police agencies, the district has adopted the ALICE program for the response to an intruder. The program includes active shooter training. The acronym “ALICE” stands for:
- A – Alert
- L – Lockdown
- I – Inform
- C – Counter
- E – Evacuate
We conduct regular safety drills practicing ALICE protocols. School Resource Officers (SROs) and local police provide ALICE training to all district building administrators. Building administrators have then partnered with police to provide ALICE training to all staff. Last school year, the District hosted a series of four evening trainings for parents, one in each learning community. School Resource Officers and local police provided the training for parents.
Redmond, Kirkland, and Sammamish Police Departments offer training in other venues to the community such as businesses, churches, and community associations, as ALICE training is not just specific to schools; it is applicable to all public venues.
Building Safety Enhancements
Through the 2014 Capital Projects Levy, LWSD has made many building safety enhancements to our schools and buildings. This includes key card access systems at schools. These access systems allow us to lock all but the main entrance to the building, with students and staff needed access cards to enter the building from outside. Classroom door locks were replaced with locks that can be locked on the inside of the classroom. Before, teachers had to enter the hallway to lock their classroom doors during a lockdown. In addition, lockdown window treatments have been added to all classrooms. These window treatments can quickly be lowered in a lockdown to prevent an intruder from seeing into classes. Security cameras have been added to our high schools. Based on the passage of the 2018 Capital Projects levy, these cameras will be expanded into middle schools and choice high schools.
School Resource Officers (SROs)
School Resource Officers (SROs) are full time police officers who serve in our schools through joint agreements with the cities or county. These officers not only protect our schools, they connect with our students. As they get to know students and gain their trust, the school SRO is often the person who students will confide in about possible safety concerns.
Law enforcement agencies know and prioritize schools in their day-to-day work. In addition to school resource officers, other officers who are not on calls spend time in or near schools, as time permits.
Social Emotional Support for Students
Counselors can help identify students at risk. They provide help to those who might be on their way toward causing harm to themselves or others. The district’s guidance counselors and psychologists play different roles in supporting young people in our schools. The district has two full-time licensed social workers who will work with high school students who need help. The district also partners with local agencies to facilitate access to behavioral health supports for all students.
More information available online
Please be assured that we are continually assessing ways to make our schools safer. As a district, we are continuing to look for ways that we can not only plan for how to respond in an emergency, but for how we can be more proactive in securing our schools and preventing such incidents. You can learn more about our district’s safety efforts on the LWSD website.