Thanks to HB 1216, each educational service district in Washington State will house a Regional School Safety Center. PSESD is moving into its fourth year with our Safety Cooperative and the second year with our Threat Assessment Cooperative. Leveraged with funding from OSPI, we are now positioned to provide safety services throughout the region.
Moving forward, PSESD will offer tiered support for school safety to address the unique needs of districts throughout our region. A basic level of professional development and support will apply to all districts, with an option to obtain more robust services as needed through our established cooperatives.
Building from the MTSS framework and principles found in trauma-informed school responses, we aim to support connection as primary in violence prevention. Research on a database of 160 mass school shootings in the United States since 1966 points toward the need to invest in mental health support in schools as means to prevent violence.
Continued offerings include: crisis response, policy formation, protocol and planning. Expanded services will reflect a new approach to safety.
We will add a focus on prevention and mitigation that centers on the child and preserves dignity for all, while maintaining safety through a healthy school culture and climate. We recognize the value of validated, evidence-based traditional approaches while evolving and encompassing lessons from whole child, whole community frameworks.
We strive to be responsive to our districts and seek input through regular surveys, networking meetings and direct requests. Regional safety surveys in 2018–19 identified essential trainings for districts, and the top four were provided by our Safety Cooperative within the year. Our Threat Assessment Cooperative has responded to 35 requests to lead or support a level 1 and three level 2 meetings. Additionally, 250 district administrators, counselors and safety officers received training in the threat assessment model.
A statewide survey by OSPI identified gaps in multi-agency and stakeholder coordination in district safety planning. Our own survey data points to a need to increase family involvement/engagement in safety plan development. We intend to address these items by broadening the reach of our school safety efforts and communications and by developing a family forum to engage parents in safety and response.
Each district within our region has created its own responses to safety throughout the years to the extent their resources allow and their policies guide. PSESD recognizes your expertise, vision and efforts. We are here to serve and respond to needs, interests and gaps. We are on your team at your invitation.
Meet our team:
Kim Beeson, Director
Annie Hetzel, Safety Services Manager
Sheila Kembel, Threat Assessment Coordinator
An additional position will be posted for a Program Manager to fulfill the promise of HB 1216 and move us toward a more comprehensive vision of school safety.
We continue to seek your ideas — attend a regional network meeting (RNM), join an advisory group, or contact us to share your thoughts!