Kent School District November 9 , 2018
Safety First
Help Keep Students Safe on Our Roads
Watch our Safety Services Supervisor Tim Kovich offer tips to help keep everyone safe when traveling to and from school.
Leadership Teacher Helps Students Stand Up to Cyberbullying
Northwood Middle School Teacher Ryan Simpson shares how students are working together to
Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS):
Building Relationships Using Restorative Practices
Restorative practices involve a relationship building approach to conflict. It is a process of bringing together the people most closely involved in a conflict to repair the harm caused by the incident and prevent it from happening again. Restorative practice is based on three restorative questions:
  • What happened?
  • What harm resulted?
  • What needs to be done to make this right?
By having students come up with the answers to these questions, they are taking ownership over their mistakes. They are also recognizing how their behavior impacts others in the classroom. Finally, they are coming up with solutions to maintain relationships built in the classroom.
Word cloud for restorative justice.
What are restorative practices?
Restorative practices use a relationship building approach to deal with conflict. Rather than adults solving conflict issues for a student, restorative practices focus on working with the student to find solutions that will work for both the school and the student. 
Relationship building circles are the cornerstone of restorative practices. Students can find common ground with other students in their classrooms and develop empathy for what others may be going through. Without developing relationships, other aspects of restorative practices cannot take place, because there needs to be a relationship to repair.
Why use restorative practices?
One benefit can be decreasing reliance on discipline forms such as out-of-school and in-school suspension. When students are out of class, they miss instruction which sets them behind academically. This can result in lower graduation rates, lower grades, and lower post-secondary outcomes.
Another benefit is building relationships impacts the entire school. When students have built relationships with staff and other students, they are more likely to have a productive learning environment. Establishing relationships in a classroom helps all students feel welcome and supports students in embracing the differences between them.
What do restorative practices look like in KSD?
Schools are at different stages implementing restorative practices; some have been exploring restorative practices for a number of years, whereas other schools have just begun.
All middle schools received the Best Starts for Kids grant, which has allowed them greater opportunity to explore restorative practices and receive trainings. A team of participants from each middle school participated in restorative practices training this past summer.
Each middle school came up with plans using relationship building circles to strengthen the culture and relationships with students in their schools. Throughout the school year, the team has additional hours of training through the Best Starts for Kids grant in which experts in restorative practice will help the middle schools achieve their goals. 
Suicide Awareness and Prevention Tips
One of the more difficult challenges of parenting is realizing you don’t always know what your children are thinking and feeling. You may be aware suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescence, but you can’t imagine your child might become one of those statistics. When do the normal ups and downs of adolescence become something to worry about? Learning about the factors that can put a teen at risk for suicide is a good first step. 

Risk Factors
  • Prior attempts and/or hospitalization. A serious mental or physical illness which significantly alters the student’s lifestyle.
  • Self-injury or destructive, risky behaviors such as jumping into traffic, cutting, or playing with guns.
  • Family member or close friend has died of suicide or if the family has a history of depression.
  • Changes in a family due to death of a loved one or diagnosis of a chronic illness.
  • Changes in physical habits, appearance, sleeping, or eating habits. Disregard for maintaining one’s appearance.
  • Threats, both direct and indirect; speaking or writing about not being around anymore. Obsession with the afterlife.
  • Changes in school performance such as missing school frequently, drop in grades, sudden office referrals.
  • Depression and no longer wanting to interact with peers; speaking about feeling helpless or hopeless.

Warning Signs of Suicide
  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Talking about having no purpose
  •  Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

How to Help Someone Exhibiting Warning Signs of Suicide
  • Do not leave the person alone.
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs, or sharp objects.
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

There is no single cause of suicide. It most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. Nine out of ten people who die by suicide have a mental health condition contributing to their death. Identifying and treating mental health conditions can help prevent suicide.

If your child, or someone you know, is suffering from multiple risk factors, reach out to some of the resources in our community.
Safe Driving Procedures and Safety Tips for
Cold Weather
Car on snowy road.
Now that the cold weather is here, please be extra careful when driving students to school and commuting to and from work. In the next couple of months, we are likely to encounter more severe weather and storms. If you have not yet done so, here are some things you can do to help safeguard yourself and your family from dangerous winter conditions.

  • At your school, find out from your school administration where the safe walking routes are located. These are the areas at your school that will be shoveled or sanded if we have snow or ice. If we do have snow or ice, please slow down when you are driving or walking about the campus, and don’t forget to send your children to school wearing appropriate outerwear and footwear that has good traction. 
  • Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter. Check your car for an ice scraper for the windows, good tires and battery, tire chains, window washer fluid, jumper cables, emergency flares, and antifreeze. Try to keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Make sure you have warm clothes, a blanket or sleeping bag, snacks and water in your car in case you get stuck or cannot get home, and have a cell phone car charger available.
  • Even with the time change, our days are shorter this time of year. Wearing the right clothing when out on the roads makes a huge difference to your safety. Always remember Be Bright, Be Seen. If drivers can see children, they can take extra care when passing. So making sure children can be easily seen when out and about is a really important part of keeping them safe.
  • Check with your family members to make sure they know what to do if you get stranded and do not make it home, and that they have the appropriate survival gear in their vehicles. 
  • Review the following safe winter driving procedures with your family, especially for young inexperienced drivers: Washington State Department of Transportation and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
School closure information will be posted on our website and shared through several different notification methods . Be safe out there.
Visiting Our Schools
All school guests and volunteers are required to register in the office and
wear a nametag. This is necessary to promote safe and secure school environments. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Does your student need a winter coat or warm clothing?
The Kent Area Council PTA Clothing Bank provides clothing for students in need. View their shopping schedule on their Facebook page .