WSD Equity Newsletter

October 2021

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Disability Awareness Month

In 2008, the Washington state legislature passed a law declaring October as Disability History Month. The purpose of this recognition is to increase awareness for people with disabilities, and to bring a greater sense of pride to people with disabilities. For our students, staff, and community members who identify as disabled, differently-abled or with diverse abilities it is important to acknowledge and learn not only just in October but all year as we engage with our students and families to accomplish their social and academic goals together in reaching their potential.

Recently, a project was designed by the Washington State Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO) to address Disability History Month. The title of this project is One Out of Five: Disability History and Pride because one out of five people in the United States has a disability, and this resource is designed to celebrate the history and identities within this large and diverse community. A video series last year featuring five students across the state was produced. One of the videos is linked below. If you would like to watch the other videos, you can do so by following the link provided below.

One Out of Five - Kenassa's Story English Captions

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

The month of October is National Bullying Prevention Month. By raising awareness of Bullying Prevention Month, the Washougal School District can come together to protect the emotional and physical safety of all students. Preventing and stopping bullying involves a commitment to creating a safe environment where students can thrive, socially and academically, without being afraid. Every student needs a safe space in order to learn. Bullying, harassment and intimidation get in the way of that and can negatively affect everyone in the school. Bullying and harassment can happen at any school, even if we are working to prevent it. Bullying and harassment can be a difficult topic for schools, families and students, but not talking about it can make it worse.The more awareness that is created during the month of October -- and all year round, we are one step closer to putting an end to bullying!


All Washington schools are required, at a minimum, to implement state model policy and procedures which prohibit harassment, intimidation and bullying. Bullying is intentional, repeated, negative behavior on the part of an aggressor or aggressors toward a target or targets. It also involves a perceived power imbalance of some kind. Students who report being bullied or harassed also report getting lower grades in school. Researchers have identified evidence-based programs which reduce bullying and harassment and help build positive school climates.


Signs a Child Is Being Bullied - Look for changes in the student However, be aware that not all students who are bullied exhibit warning signs. Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide


Warning Signs for Bullying - There are many warning signs that may indicate that someone is affected by bullying—either being bullied or bullying others. Recognizing the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. Not all students who are bullied or are bullying others ask for help. It is important to talk with students who show signs of being bullied or bullying others. These warning signs can also point to other issues or problems, such as depression or substance abuse. Talking to the child can help identify the root of the problem.


Why don't students ask for help? Statistics from the 2018 Indicators of School Crime and Safety - PDF show that only 20% of school bullying incidents were reported. Students don’t tell adults for many reasons:

  • Bullying can make a student feel helpless. Students may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak or a tattletale.
  • Students may fear backlash from the student who bullied them.
  • Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Students may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.
  • Students who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand.
  • Students may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect students from bullying, and students can fear losing this support.


https://www.stopbullying.gov/bullying/warning-signs

Washougal School District has partnered with SafeSchoolsAlert to provide a safe schools alert system.

To submit a safety concern about a student, staff member, or other situation, please use one of the buttons below. If you are reporting an emergency, please call 911. Every tip is immediately logged into an online system to track incidents, and will be forwarded to the appropriate individuals to investigate. You will receive a tracking number you can use to monitor progress and resolution of your report.


For incidents that involve harassment, intimidation, or bullying of students, we ask that students and/or families use the Report of Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying form linked below instead of the SafeSchools Alert form. For complaints about the Safety Resource Officer, a Washougal Police Department employee stationed at WHS, patrons are encouraged to use either the WSD complaint process or use the WPD form here, or both as the situation warrants it.

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Diversity Calendar & Additional Resources

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Culturally Responsive Educator

DEFINITION: Intentionally placing oneself in new learning experiences with different social group categories for the purpose of reflection, growth and increased relational effectiveness in the classroom/school/bus.
  • AWARENESS: Being aware of his/her assumptions about human behavior, values, biases, preconceived notions and personal limitations

  • KNOWLEDGE: Attempts to understand the world view of culturally diverse students, families and communities (values, assumptions, practices, communication styles, group norms, biases experiences and perspectives).

  • SKILLS: Develops and practices appropriate, relevant and sensitive strategies and skills in working with diverse populations.

  • ADVOCACY: Advocates on behalf of the needs of their students, families and colleagues they work with.

Upcoming Training on October 8 & 18 For ALL Staff

Culturally Responsive Practices (Behavior Interventions) - This training helps educators integrate culturally responsive behavior interventions practices. Participants build on concepts from earlier courses in the Culturally Responsive Strategies series to learn to implement behavior intervention strategies that respect all students.

  • Investigate ways to promote positive school and social behavior development.

  • Identify strategies for implementing culturally responsive behavior interventions that address the underlying causes and functions of behavior.

  • Adapt core principles of culturally responsive behavior intervention to meet the specific needs of students.


Culturally Responsive Practices (Exclusions/Suspensions – Systems of Equity in Preventative Strategies and Interventions) - With a focus on Washington State Student Discipline laws, the session will develop an understanding of Tier 2 strategies to reduce our reliance on exclusionary practices to manage student behavior. The session will focus on the following:

  • Identify school and classroom choices and actions that lead to same outcomes of inequity, and exclusion.

  • Execute new school and classroom choices that lead to equity and inclusion.

  • Identify strategies for implementing culturally responsive behavior interventions that address the underlying causes and functions of behavior.

  • Adapt core principles of culturally responsive behavior intervention to meet the specific needs of students.

Strategic Plan Equity Goal

We will engage in intentional efforts to identify disparities that create opportunity gaps, and take action to eliminate the achievement gap. We will develop and strengthen students’ agency, so they are prepared for careers, college and life.

  • KNOW

    • Identify students from marginalized groups

    • Learn the many assets and strengths of families, students, and their respective communities

  • NURTURE

    • Develop culturally responsive practices

    • Ensure inclusive environments that value contributions from all groups

    • Utilize trauma-informed pedagogy

    • Provide staff and students space to develop agency, and shift ownership of learning from teachers to students

  • CHALLENGE

    • Disrupt systems that perpetuate institutional biases and oppressive practices

    • Hire a diverse workforce that reflects the students we serve

WSD Equity Policy

This is a link to our Equity Policy that was adopted by the school board in June.

WSD Equity Statement

This is a link to the entire WSD Equity Statement

Looking For A Book To Read

What If I Say The Wrong Thing? is a perfect handbook for anyone who is looking to develop the habits of culturally effective people. You'll find answers to questions about all types of diversity issues and tips about how to practice culturally effective habits. And with the variety of suggested follow-ups and actions contained within it, you will better know how to handle your own situations. Many of these situations occur without us being "properly prepared" for them; reading these habits is like doing drills so you'll be ready!


Thank you to the WHS Equity Team for sharing this great book!

Aaron Hansen, WSD Assistant Superintendent

Nondiscrimination Statement

The Washougal School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following employees have been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination: Civil Rights Coordinator: Aaron Hansen, 4855 Evergreen Way, Washougal WA 98671, (360) 954-3050; Title IX Officer: Gary McGarvie, 1201 39th St., Washougal WA 98671, (360) 954-3104; Section 504 Coordinator: Penny Andrews, 4855 Evergreen Way, Washougal WA 98671, (360) 954-3020.