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Evening Events Canceled

Irving Families,

With freezing temperatures forecast for tonight – and in an abundance of caution – all evening events past 5:30 will be canceled tonight.

As always, watch the district and school websites, the district Facebook page, and local media for morning weather-related developments.

If you hear nothing, then it means school will take place on a normal schedule.

 

Irving’s 5th Grade Music Program is rescheduled for Wednesday, February 28th at 7:00pm in the Irving Cafeteria.  

Bethel Schools On 2-Hour Delay Thursday

All Bethel schools are on a 2-hour delay Thursday, February 22nd.

Buses will pick up students 2 hours later than the normal time.

A cold breakfast will be available and lunch will be served at all schools today.

Dismissal for all schools will be at their regular times.

Caution is urged on the morning commute. Parents are encouraged to use their best judgement about their child’s school attendance.

Todas las escuelas de Bethel tienen un retraso de 2 horas el jueves, 22 de febrero.

Los autobuses recogerán a los estudiantes por la maňana dos horas más tarde de lo normal.

Un desayuno frío estará disponible, también se servirá un almuerzo caliente durante el día.

Los despidos escolares estarán en sus horarios regulares.

PTO Meeting Tonight

Irving Families,

This is a reminder that the next PTO Meeting is tonight from 6:30-7:30pm in the Irving Library.  All parents are welcome!  Hope to see you there. 

 

 

Safety Training for Students

In the wake of the school shooting tragedy in Florida, here is an update on safety preparations at Irving Elementary. Back in 2014 Bethel was the first district in the area – and perhaps the first in Oregon – to have all staff trained in the ALICE procedures (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.) The updated protocols in ALICE are recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and more. This strategy empowers staff and students with more options during a life-threatening emergency, the kind we all hope never happens.

Prior to adopting the ALICE protocol our lockdown procedures involved our staff locking classroom and office doors, moving all students to a part of the room where they could not be seen (as much as possible), where they quietly remained until an announcement was given that indicated the event had passed. The philosophy of ALICE is to use communication so that staff and students can make informed decisions in a crisis, including removing as many people as possible from the danger zone if necessary. And it encourages active responses like barricading doors to enhance safety in a major emergency.

Our district initially implemented ALICE training for all staff including practice lockdown drills (with staff only) to tighten our procedures before introducing it to students. The last two years we included students in the training, introducing them to the protocol with different discussions and videos appropriate for students at the elementary and secondary levels.

Here’s a link to our Safety Training videos for the middle and high school levels. And here are our Safety Training videos for the elementary level.

Each time we train we learn what further improvements need to be made. We have also learned that increased communication during a lockdown is a positive change. Many teachers and parents report that this simple change in procedure greatly reduced the level of anxiety for both students and parents.

Irving Elementary has completed a training in the ALICE protocol with students and staff and has plans for another training with students and staff next week.  Following each drill our staff solicits questions from students to further understand what changes we must make to continue improving safety for all students. We also intend to continue sharing our plans with you as we work together to ensure a safe school environment.

Finally, we encourage students that if they see something, say something. Most of the school shooters have told someone or hinted at their intentions before the shooting started. We believe the time taken for these trainings is well worth it. The safety of your children remains our top priority.

As always, contact me if you have any questions.

 

Nathan Bridgens

Board Meeting To Hear Public Comment

The Bethel School District Board has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday, February 15th, 7:00 p.m. in the Shasta Middle School Cafeteria.

The only agenda item is to hear public comment. Under Board policy, the public comment period is limited to three minutes per person. All those at the meeting who sign a card requesting to speak will be heard. The School Board will make no decisions at Thursday’s meeting, but will give residents an opportunity to share their thoughts.

As background, some Bethel residents are concerned the district is removing holiday celebrations from schools. Public schools are not required to hold parties or celebrations around holidays, but the district believes that providing students opportunities to celebrate and have fun with their classmates and teachers is vital. And, as a public school system, we must ensure that our celebrations, activities and events during the school day allow all students to participate. We cannot intentionally plan events that we know will exclude children.

Some people are unaware that historically many of the celebrations or parties that have been held at school result in some children not coming to school or not being able to take part for a variety of reasons. Our schools are trying to think creatively about how we celebrate with children, and have fun activities at school in meaningful ways in which everyone gets to be involved.

For clarification, while we are not asking families to provide Valentine’s cards, students who wish to bring cards are allowed to do so and time will be provided for children to distribute them. As always, we encourage those with concerns to reach out to their school principal.

 

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