At the June 14 special board meeting, the Lake Washington School District Board of Directors screened candidates for first-round interviews for the position of Superintendent.
Keeping students and staff safe is a top priority. One of our strategic goals is to "provide safe and innovative learning environments."
The District and its schools plan and practice safety and emergency preparation, response and recovery. These efforts involve staff, students and parents, as well as local fire departments and law enforcement.
We have an established District Safety Structure and Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). LWSD continually assesses districtwide safety needs, implementation of safety measures and protocols, identifies training needs, and ensures response to changing conditions.
What is a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP)?
A Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) is a documented plan with elements that address all natural and man-made emergencies and disasters to which an entity is vulnerable.
There are five components of a CEMP:
- Prevention - Measures taken to eliminate potential hazards or risks
- Protection - Written plans and changes to the physical environment that reduce the exposure to hazards or risks
- Mitigation - Actions taken to reduce the expected loss due to hazards or risks
- Response - Functional measures in place to ensure proper actions are taken during an emergency
- Recovery - Processes and resources that enable the return to normal activity
- School Culture
Every two years, school districts around the state survey students in grades six, eight, ten, and twelve on a wide variety of health topics. The survey, called the Healthy Youth Survey, is sponsored by the Department of Health, the Family Policy Council, and other state agencies. It asks questions that are related to students' risk of injury, health and alcohol and drug use.
In addition to the Healthy Youth Survey, students are given climate surveys to evaluate how effective specific programs have been in our schools, such as anti-bullying curriculum and more. Learn more about the anti-bullying curriculum used in LWSD.
- See Something, Say Something/SafeSchools Alert System
Every page of the LWSD website, as well as posters all around our schools encourage students, staff and parents to let district staff know if there is a safety concern. If you feel someone is in immediate danger, we encourage you to call 911.
LWSD utilizes the SafeSchools Alert System. Anyone can anonymously contact LWSD 24 hours a day through this system. Here are the important numbers to remember:
- Phone/Text: 425-529-5763
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Social Workers, School Counselors, YES, Counselors, Nurses
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. LWSD contracts with Behavioral Health Social Workers from EvergreenHealth and Youth Eastside Services to provide behavioral health services to students. In addition, on-site mental health counseling is provided by Youth Eastside Services, Sound Mental Health, Consejo and Asian Counseling Referral Service.
- Social Emotional Learning
Social emotional learning (SEL) is the process where students develop the awareness and skills needed to manage emotions, set goals, build relationships, and make responsible decisions. Studies have found that the adoption of SEL supports positive school communities as well as improved academic outcomes.
The Washington State Legislature has commissioned a workgroup to develop benchmarks for the social emotional learning of students across the state. That group has outlined six benchmarks:
A student can identify and name their emotions and influence on their behavior
A student can regulate their emotions, thoughts and behaviors in contexts with other people
A student can motivate themselves, persevere, and sees themselves as capable
- Social awareness
A student can take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures
- Social management
A student can make safe and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions
- Social engagement
A student can consider others and shows a desire to contribute to the well-being of the school and community
Elementary counselors and teachers have been teaching Second Step lessons this year and school leadership teams have begun to integrate the curriculum into their school-wide efforts.
The District is in the early stages of reviewing SEL curriculum to be implemented at the middle level with the aim of building onto the foundation of skills that students learned in elementary.
- Partnerships with local jurisdictions/local law enforcement
In addition to having local jurisdictions on the LWSD Safety Advisory Committee, LWSD also partners with local law enforcement for programs such as the School Resource Officers (SRO) Program.
- Physical Facility/Infrastructure Upgrades and Protocols
LWSD’s goal it to provide two layers of physical protection in our school facilities: Preventing unwanted access to the interior of the school from exterior doors; and preventing unwanted access and limit unwanted visual access to interior school classrooms. The 2014 Capital Projects Levy Funded: Interior classroom door locks, interior classroom window shades and the initial phase of building access controls. The February 2018 Capital Projects Levy will fund expansion of the building access control system. This includes the ability for the system to:
- Schedule door access for student passing
- Have a tool for all door lockdown
- Add a front door “buzz-in” system.
Currently, we have a number of safety protocols in place in our schools to keep students and staff safe. We ask:
- All district staff to wear their district-issues ID badges.
- All visitors to sign-in at the main office.
- All volunteers to be cleared through our Volunteer Application system
- All teachers in portables to lock their portable doors. We are currently in the process of installing peepholes to ensure that staff know who is entering the portables.
- New School Construction Design
The district's Facilities Department regularly reviews the latest industry recommendations regarding security and safety in the design of new school buildings.
- Safety-Related Staff
In addition to the partnerships with local law enforcement that provide School Resource Officers to district schools, LWSD also has campus security monitors in our secondary schools. These campus security monitors support building administrators in providing overall campus supervision. School Guidance Counselors support the social/emotional, academic, and career needs of students
- Discipline and threat/risk assessment protocols
Address in a timely and appropriate manner, in collaboration with law enforcement.
- Initial assessment to determine nature and degree of threat
- Initial action to counter or mitigate threat
- Police contact
- Emergency expulsion
- Notice to subjects of threat
- Risk Assessment
- Safety Plan
- Visitor/Volunteer Program
LWSD recognizes the value of volunteers in our schools. Nearly 16,000 parents and community members have gone through the volunteer application and criminal background check and have been cleared to volunteer in our schools. We ask all visitors to sign in at the main office as soon as they arrive in our schools.
- Emergency Drills
Regular practice for staff and students helps ensure that best practices are followed automatically in an actual emergency. State law requires one drill per month, including one for summer school. Drills must teach students three responses: lockdown, shelter in place and evacuation. The drills may incorporate an earthquake drill using drop, cover and hold. All LWSD buildings participate in the October statewide earthquake drill "Great Washington Shake Out." The district also conducts a district-wide Emergency Communications Drill as part of the earthquake drill. In addition, buildings conduct at least one A.L.I.C.E. drill during the year.
- A.L.I.C.E. Training
LWSD uses the A.L.I.C.E. method to prepare staff and students to react in an emergency. A.L.I.C.E. stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. These five actions are not to be done in order, rather, they should be considered like tools in a toolbox. Staff members and students should utilize whichever tool would work best given the current situation.
- PTSA Emergency Preparedness Committee
The Lake Washington School District PTSA Council’s emergency preparedness committee consists of parent representatives from every school. It meets five times each year to coordinate the school level committees. These groups procure and store emergency supplies for their school and support the school in drills and emergency planning. Contact your school’s emergency preparedness committee if you are interested in helping in these efforts.
- Incident Command System
The Incident Command System (ICS) is an organizational system developed to respond to emergencies and incidents. It is a national system that all public agencies use in the creation of emergency plans. The written plan includes specific task-driven job descriptions and an organizational chart to ensure all aspects of the emergency response are addressed. The district’s CEMP and each school’s emergency plan includes the Incident Command System.
- Rapid Responder System
All drills are entered into the Rapid Responder system. This statewide online system tracks safety efforts. It also documents school building information for use by first responders. Each school is carefully mapped, including information such as safety shutoffs for power and water.
- Incident Command System
The Incident Command System is activated during an emergency as the response tool to organize staff and ensure all aspects of the response are covered.
- School Resource Officer (SRO) Program
School Resource Officers are fully-trained, uniformed police officers who work in our schools. The goal of the SRO program is to enable rapid emergency response, establish a working relationship with schools and serve as a resource and support for building administrators, students, and families. 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. In partnership with our local jurisdictions, SROs work in all four of the district’s comprehensive high schools, part-time in our choice schools and middle schools, and are available to assist at middle and elementary schools as needed.
In addition to school resource officers, other officers who are not on calls, spend time in or near schools, as time permits.
- Crisis Response Plan
Crisis Response Plans are in place to assist in the immediate and long-term response to the sudden death of a school staff or student. These plans include providing counseling service, communication tools and other support as needed to the school(s) affected.
- Communication Tools
In an emergency, the staff at your child(ren)’s school will primarily be concerned with the safety of the students and staff. As they are able, they will work to communicate as quickly and accurately as possible with parents/guardians. LWSD uses a system called SchoolMessenger to send emergency messages to families. This system can send phone calls, emails and text messages to families.
To verify the phone numbers and email addresses on file with LWSD, visit Skyward Family Access, then go to “Skylert.” You can then edit what phone numbers or email addresses are contacted in an emergency.
The district will also use social media as a means to distribute accurate messaging about what is happening at specific schools.
- Emergency Communication System connects schools, headquarters
The district has a radio communications system in place to ensure schools can communicate with the district headquarters and each other if an emergency knocks out other communications systems.
- Incident Command System
The Incident Command System also provides structure and tools that last into the recovery after an incident or emergency. Some of the key tools are student care and sheltering in the event of long-term needs, family reunification plans, communication plans, and partnerships with local emergency management professionals.
Executive Safety Team
To set overall direction of districtwide safety and security measures. In conjunction with the Safety Advisory Committee, decides on safety enhancements to include in district funding measures presented for Board approval.
Meets quarterly to assess current safety needs and ensure response to changing conditions.
Chair: Dr. Traci Pierce - Superintendent
- Dr. Jon Holmen - Deputy Superintendent
- Barbara Posthumus - Associate Superintendent, Business & Support Services
- Forrest Miller - Director, Support Services
- Brian Buck – Associate Director, Support Services
- Scott Emry - Risk & Safety Manager
- Matt Gillingham – Director, Student Services
- Rick Burden – Director, School Support
- Shannon Parthemer – Director, Communications & Community Engagement
Safety Advisory Committee
To provide districtwide guidance with our community partners in safety, security and emergency preparedness.
Meets monthly to assess implementation of safety protocols, assess implementation and training needs to ensure response to changing conditions.
Chair: Scott Emry, Risk & Safety Manager
- King County Sheriff
- Kirkland Police Department, Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management
- Redmond Police Department, Fire Department
- Sammamish Police Department, Office of Emergency Management
- Eastside Fire & Rescue
- Evergreen Health
- LWSD building and central office administrators