After lengthy conversations, reflections, bringing in more perspectives, and partnering between our school equity committee and our PTA DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Committee, we are moving forward with additional plans at View Ridge Elementary. At View Ridge, the safety and the welfare of your children are our prime focus. In consideration of our ongoing conversations, here are some of the things we have in place, and some things we are working on for when students return.
Practices that have been in place:
- Administrators meet weekly with our district Special Education Director and Program Specialist to review successes and challenges in support of a safe and engaging special education program. They support us in many ways that include attending IEP’s, being accessible to staff and families to answer questions around Individualized Education Plans, Functional Behavior Assessments, Behavior Improvement Plans, identifying specialized curriculum and accessing district resources. We have actively partnered with them to problem solve specific student needs and to continuously improve our special education programs. This year our Special Education Director is Gordon Fowlds and Judy Ferguson is our program specialist.
- Staff have participated in a variety of professional development opportunities provided by district partners in Behavioral Health to deepen our skills in classroom management, verbal de-escalation, anti-racist practices and social emotional learning. This work has supported increased alignment building wide in how we respond when students struggle and how we notice and celebrate success.
- Administrators and all special education staff maintain up-to-date Crisis Prevention and Intervention certification to safely respond to more intense behaviors.
- We met with our District facilities maintenance to look at safety, ascetics and function of the outdoor play court. We are starting with new lighting and enclosing the fenced in storage area to go all the way up to the ceiling to prevent children from climbing over and getting into this area. I had our district security officer come to view the play court to ensure that our plans meet security and safety regulations. Other things planned are power washing the area, painting the walls and possibly painting a mural with children and family feedback.
- We scheduled an in-person site visit with Gordon and Judy, Special Education Supervisors. Also joining is Rob Vander Sloep from facilities. He specializes in how spaces can best serve students. We will be looking at our campus and special education classrooms with a keen eye on how to protect student dignity in times of behavior struggles.
- We are continuing to strengthen a partnership between our school and parent equity committees. This is happening through reflective conversations, incorporating similar mission statements, sharing lessons and resources for Black Lives Matter and Black History Month. For this year’s Black Lives Matter week, we are centering our learning around the BLM 13 guiding principles.
- We have two scheduled upcoming listening circles with our BIPOC and Special Education Families. In these listening circles, families will be invited to share their experiences at View Ridge Elementary with the principal.
- Our Building Leadership Team is working together to offer future trainings on child trauma and additional de-escalation strategies, our continued anti-racist work, and other professional development related to our Continuous School Improvement Plan.
I have so appreciated your emails communicating to me your wants and needs for our community. These conversations are what we need to build our relationships, instill sense of belonging, and to feel connected in this work. These conversations have led to beginning action steps and will continue to drive our work in making our school stronger for all students.
View Ridge Elementary