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05-19-14: Puyallup School District and Brouillet honored as 'Welcoming Schools'
05-19-14: Puyallup School District and Brouillet honored as 'Welcoming Schools'
Posted on 05/19/2014
The Puyallup School District and Brouillet Elementary are among the first 12 school districts or schools from across the country that will be recognized May 2 for efforts to create welcoming and inclusive schools.


The honored schools and districts will be recognized during the first-ever Human Rights Campaign “Welcoming Schools Seal of Excellence” award ceremony in Saint Paul, Minn.


Brouillet Elementary Principal Nancy Strobel and Chief Academic Officer of Regional Learning Community #1 Vince Pecchia will join educators from the other honored districts and schools at the ceremony.


Puyallup is the only school district honored in Washington state and one of only two school districts nationwide to receive the award. The two school districts and 10 schools honored also represent Minnesota, California, Texas, and Florida.


“Schools should be places where all students feel welcomed by their peers and adults,” said Kim Westheimer, director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program.  “But far too often students who are perceived as being different face harassment and bullying. Teachers want to create an environment where every student is safe and to know how to intervene when conflict arises. Welcoming Schools helps them do just that.”


Westheimer continued, “The schools we’re honoring today have demonstrated a deep commitment to all students and families and have worked with us over time to create inclusive climates where all students can thrive.”Image


Welcoming Schools provides resources, training, and technical assistance to help elementary schools take a comprehensive approach to school climate and bullying prevention. Welcoming Schools’ regional staff and consultants work directly with schools, educators, and parents in 25 states and the District of Columbia.


Tracy Flynn, a parent and educator who is a Welcoming Schools educational consultant in this region, has worked over the past two years with the Puyallup School District Diversity Committee.


Flynn has worked directly with both Brouillet and Edgerton elementary school staff, as well as presented information on three separate occasions to all K-12 principals in the district. Flynn’s work is funded through the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.


Gerald Denman, chief equity and achievement officer in the Puyallup School District, said the award “is a reflection of the district’s commitment to having a welcoming environment for every student, staff, family, and community member that enters our schools and support buildings.”


Denman continued, “In visiting our 32 schools across the district, it is evident they have all made great strides to create a welcoming environment for all who come through their doors. When students feel welcome, they become actively engaged in their learning environment. When they are actively engaged, they succeed.”Image


Brouillet Elementary Principal Nancy Strobel added, “It is so exciting that Welcoming Schools has chosen our school and district for this honor! Our staff at Brouillet has been genuinely engaged in working with Tracy Flynn to incorporate Welcoming Schools practices into what we do for each child and family every day.”


Strobel continued, “Making people feel like Brouillet is their school is really important to us, and it is such an honor to be recognized for this.”


Districts and schools will receive a Welcoming Schools banner to display at their buildings, a seal to place on their website, and national recognition as one of the first schools to receive the national distinguished award.


This marks the first year of Welcoming Schools Seal of Excellence, which will be awarded to schools or districts that have demonstrated high standards of implementation of the Welcoming Schools curriculum in the following areas:


  • Leadership Development, including an active leadership team working with individual schools.
  • Professional Development, including full faculty workshops.
  • Family Engagement, including community events.
  • Classroom Strategies, including use of Welcoming Schools lesson plans.


The event will also feature the showing of the new Welcoming Schools professional development film, “What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying, and Bystanders,” a 12-minute film featuring teachers and students from J.J. Hill Montessori School in the Saint Paul Public School District and Hiawatha Leadership Academy in the Minneapolis Public School District.