NEVADA – Dr. Susan Enfield, Superintendent of the Washoe County School District, has produced a thorough plan outlining how the district will handle recent school safety challenges.
She shared the following information ahead of Thursday night’s State of the Union address:
Recent events have led many of us to have legitimate concerns regarding safety in our schools. It is true that some students come to school struggling with very real challenges that are often outside of their control. As educators, we are responsible for doing all we can to provide them with the free, appropriate public education they deserve and to which they are entitled. At the same time, we must ensure that our schools are safe places for all students and staff.
To this end, here are several actions steps we are taking now:
- We are conducting a comprehensive review of our district discipline practices and actively advocating for appropriate state-level reforms;
- We are contracting with a company to provide staff and families with access to local mental health services. More information, along with training for counselors and administrators, will be available in February and March;
- We are finalizing implementation of a staff-initiated safety alert system. This system allows staff members to request assistance in a crisis situation by immediately notifying front office, central office and/or school police.
The Office of School Leadership will be working with the Strategies Office to develop a training schedule, to begin March 13th, based on school needs. These trainings include:
- Trauma-Sensitive learning environments (Multi-Tiered System of Supports / Trauma Conference, 2021 (washoeschools.net);
- Behavior/de-escalation training through the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) and “Cycle of Defiance” training (opportunities will be available through MyPGS);
- Integrated training to emphasize connections between and strategies to address absenteeism, behavior, mental health and academics. Integrated training will roll out in summer of 2023 and through the 2023-24 school year.
Immediate support for violent and disruptive behavior:
- Within school MTSS processes (Multi-Tiered System of Supports / Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (washoeschools.net);
- Central Office MTSS Support and referrals for behavior, mental health, and attendance supports (Multi-Tiered System of Supports / District Intervention Assistance Team (DIAT) & Universal Referral (washoeschools.net);
- For emergency suspensions and threats of violence, school administrators will work with their supervisors and with Strategies staff for immediate and longer term responses
Additionally, starting March 13th the Special Education Department will be offering several professional development opportunities to support special education staff with student behaviors. These include:
- Virtual and in-person “make and take” PD sessions using GoalBook. Participants will use the program to review and/or develop present levels addressing student behavior, with goals and objectives, progress monitoring, and be able to identify appropriate behavior interventions for current students that they can use immediately;
- Special Education paraprofessionals will participate in online PD opportunities through DirectStep. Available through a collaboration program with the Nevada Department of Education, PD courses will address improving student behaviors in the classrooms, maintaining physical well-being of students and staff and/or positive behavioral intervention strategies. While these courses are designed to support our paraprofessional staff, all courses will be available to any WCSD staff member;
- Continued opportunities, virtual and in-person, for staff to receive re-training in building structures and support through Zones of Regulation;
- Continuation of the MS/HS SIP teacher collegials to examine current practices, update procedures and ensure best practices are being followed with program fidelity and build continuity across district secondary programs.
There are no quick fixes or simple solutions to the challenges we are facing today. We all have a part to play in ensuring that our schools are safe, warm, respectful and welcoming places for our students and families. As your superintendent, I promise that I will continue to listen, work with you and lead our system forward in service of all our students.
(Washoe County School District)
Credits: 2 News Now
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