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05-29-14: Brouillet Elementary and district named 'Welcoming Schools'
05-29-14: Brouillet Elementary and district named 'Welcoming Schools'
Posted on 05/29/2014
ImageBrouillet Elementary and the Puyallup School District are among the first 10 schools and two school districts from across the country recognized for efforts to create welcoming and inclusive schools.


The schools and districts selected for the honor were recognized in May 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 joined 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 school districts and 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.”


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 presented a Welcoming Schools Seal of Excellence banner to Brouillet Elementary during a schoolwide assembly in May. Superintendent Tim Yeomans and Deka Smith, chief academic officer of Regional Learning Community #2, attended the event.Image


During the assembly, fifth grader Madison Laverty read an essay she wrote about why bullying is harmful.


Flynn has worked directly with both Brouillet and Edgerton elementary school staff and has also 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.”


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.”


Click to read the Anti-Bullying essay by fifth grader Madison Laverty.