February 16, 2018
Dear Issaquah School District families, staff, and community,
As Public School Educators we are deeply saddened by any acts of violence perpetrated on school campuses. The teachers and staff who have been victims of this violence feel very much like our colleagues; the students feel very much like our students. Our hearts go out to them.
The work of creating the safest possible environment on our campuses, while still maintaining an accessible and welcoming educational atmosphere, is a top priority and ongoing focus. I have thought much these last two days about the amazing staff that show up to work every day to care for and educate our children.
Our emphasis is on the whole child, and the mental health needs facing young people in our world today. In light of this, social emotional learning is embedded within our curriculum, and we have mental health counselors at sites across the district. These staff work directly with students, and help connect these students and their families to critical resources.
Safety drills such as Run, Hide, Fight training inform our practice and help us be as prepared as possible for crisis situations. We have dedicated law enforcement School Resource Officers (SRO’s) for each region of the district, and we maintain a close relationship with all of our First Responders, such as Eastside Fire and Rescue. In addition, with all new construction and every campus enhancement, modernized safety is a primary objective.
One of the most important aspects of keeping a school safe is – see something, say something. We urge everyone in our school community to report to us anything that seems “off.” Our students have excellent eyes, ears, and instincts. We welcome you to talk with your student about what reporting is and why it’s important. If you’d like more tips on how to have conversations like this with your kids, you might appreciate this resource found on the American Psychology Association website.
We are so fortunate to be part of this amazing community of caring individuals. Thank you for your continued partnership as we work together to do the very best for our children.
Like you, I have been thinking about my own children these past few days. As we head into our mid-winter break, I know I will be holding my hugs a little longer.
Ron Thiele, Superintendent