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School Safety Services at ESD 123

School Safety Services at ESD 123
Posted on 01/31/2020
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The Student Support Services department at ESD 123 is working to promote and improve school safety in districts across the region. The department, structured under the Student Support Framework, provides substance abuse prevention/intervention services, mental health education, educational advocate services, and more, working through a trauma-informed lens to help districts create safe environments in which students can learn and teachers can focus on effective teaching.

“All the services we provide help decrease risk factors and increase protective factors,” says Dana Camarena, Director of Student Support Services.

In line with this mission, ESD 123 and the other nine Washington ESDs have recently added support services to address and mitigate school violence through threat assessment services and regional school safety centers under the direction of OSPI’s School Safety Center.

Regional School Safety Center

With the passing of HB 1216 in the 2019 legislation session, which requires districts to establish a school-based threat assessment program by the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, ESD 123 has most recently added Regional School Safety Center services to its offerings. The ESD 123 Regional Safety Center, in partnership with ESD 105 in Yakima and as part of the statewide safety center network, provides districts with the technical and planning assistance to create a safe climate and culture within their schools.

“The regional safety centers work in collaboration to bring the best school safety practices to every school and classroom in the state,” says Shelby Jensen, ESD 123’s new School Safety Center Coordinator.

Ms. Jensen has 20 years of experience in school health and safety with the Wahluke School District. With her experience and in collaboration with the well-established ESD 105 Safety Center program, ESD 123 aims to provide additional support to keep schools safe. 

Regional School Safety Center services include:

  • real-time support
  • safety drill resources
  • acting as a liaison between schools and emergency services 
  • assistance with comprehensive safe schools planning 
  • systems for anonymous reporting of student concerns
  • training facilitation

“Teachers go to school to be educators and come into class with that lens,” says Ms. Jensen. “Our role is to provide different lenses for safety, health, and behavior so staff can focus on being effective teachers.”

Threat Assessment

Under the umbrella of school safety, ESD 123 began offering threat assessment services in the 2018-19 school year. Katie Haynes, Threat Assessment Coordinator, directs efforts to bring together all key players (school counselors, administrators, psychologists, law enforcement, etc.) and their unique viewpoints to develop policies and procedures to keep schools safe and students in class.

Ms. Haynes also provides and facilitates Level I and Level II Threat Assessment training to districts. In a Level I training, which is currently offered to districts at no cost, school teams made up of school counselors, psychologists, administrators, and others are trained to look for behaviors to determine who may be on the path to violence, and how to use the ESD 123 Threat Assessment Protocol (adapted from the Salem-Keizer Threat Assessment System) to manage threats in-house. 

“Any student making a threat of violence against someone is shouting that they have problems they can’t solve on their own,” says Ms. Haynes. “We are coming together as a team of problem solvers to get them back on the right track."

Participants also learn how to build a supervision management plan to keep students in school with added supports and inhibitors in place, increasing both the physical and psychological safety in our schools and communities. For additional support, Level II brings together a community team comprised of local law enforcement, public mental health agencies, juvenile justice, and ESD support.

Districts interested in the Threat Assessment Level I training, which is being provided free to districts during the 2019-20 school year, or other school safety services are encouraged to contact Katie Haynes at 509.544.5717 or kahaynes@esd123.org

 For more information on all services provided by the Student Support Services department, go to www.esd123.org/programs__services/student-support or contact Dana Camarena, Student Support Services Director, at 509.544.5762 or dcamarena@esd123.org

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