WSD Voice - Podcast

WSD Voice PodcastWSD Voice is a Waterford School District podcast that focuses on topics geared toward inspiring, educating and empowering our students, staff, alumni and community.

The goal of WSD Voice is to inform our audience about our district’s positive news while showcasing our successes. Listen below to learn more about all the exciting and innovative work going on behind the scenes in Waterford School District.

Season 2

Episode 1: Safety and Security/Social Emotional Learning
Published: October 2022

Watch on our YouTube Channel Download episode 1

Tune in to the first episode of Season 2 to learn how Waterford School District rated in the top 10% of school districts nationwide for developing and executing a comprehensive safety and security plan. This episode also features discussion surrounding an innovative Social Emotional Learning program started by the principal at Donelson Hills Elementary.

Guests:
Jim Beaver, WSD Director of Operations and Security
Anne Kruse, Donelson Hills Elementary Principal 

Hosts:
Sarah Davis, Director of Communications and Community Relations
Scott Lindberg, Superintendent
Producer:
Jane Tekiele, Video Production Coordinator

- Welcome to "WSD Voice," a podcast focused on positive and informative news in Waterford School District. I am your host, Sarah Davis, the Director of Communications and Community Relations, and I'm here with Waterford School District Superintendent Scott Lindberg. We are back in studio for our second season of "WSD Voice," and we're trying something new. We have decided to move the podcast to video format as well, so that all of our listeners can listen to either the audio version or check us out live in the studio on YouTube. Access to both of these formats will be available on our website at www.wsdmi.org/wsdvoice. But being back in the studio also means something else. School is back in session. So Scott, how has this school year been going so far?

- Well, it's been a great start, Sarah, thank you again for having me. I want to talk about three things, three takeaways. The school year's going great because we have invested over $3 million in our teaching and learning, our curriculum enhancements, we have initiated our one-to-one, which means every student gets a device for their studies, for both in the classroom and at home. And we continue from our groundbreaking of our construction of our early childhood building, that is going very, very well.

- Happy to hear that. And let's hope the rest of the school year continues to go well. Today, we're gonna be talking about safety and security at WSD, and on the program to discuss this topic is Jim Beaver, our Director of Operations and Security for the past 14 years. Jim, thank you for being here.

- No, thank you Sarah and Scott, I appreciate you having me.

- Of course, and we also have Anne Kruse, veteran Principal here at Donelson Hills Elementary for the past 23 years. And we will be talking with her later about the social-emotional piece related to this topic. So welcome, Anne.

- Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

- Absolutely. So Jim, we wanted to have an episode dedicated to this topic because it's so important that our students and families are on the same page when it comes to what policies and procedures we have in place here at WSD to ensure our students' safety. Our family should know that Waterford School District has been on the forefront of school security for a number of years and continues to take proactive steps to protect the safety of all students and staff members. But Jim, can you kind of talk about some of those steps that we've taken over the years?

- Sure, certainly. We're very proud that we feel that we've been very proactive here in Waterford with our safety and security protocols. And this goes back to like 2004 when we reward grants from that period. It really allowed us to bring a lot of resources into the district. Some things that we brought in over the years, our school safety coordinator personnel at each of our secondary schools, we have cameras in all of our buildings and secured entries were added to make sure that our buildings are safe and secure. More recently, we've added some additional things such as interior ready locks or thumb locks, they may be referred to. We do volunteer background checks on folks that work with our kids. We've upgraded our card access system, which doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but really the technology in that is always progressing. So we were able to upgrade that. So we have all that in place to ensure that our students are safe and secure and we initiate ALICE protocols throughout our schools also, which offers our students and staff just another layer of protection.

- Okay, and for those who don't know what ALICE stands for, can you kind of expand on that a little bit more?

- Sure, sure, ALICE is an acronym, but the letters stand for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate. And even though it's an acronym, it's not a linear strategy. So these different tools that our staff is enabled to use, really, evacuate might be really usually your first option of what you wanna do. If it's safe for you to get out of a situation, then that's really what you want to do. But it's a strategy that was really developed in the wake of Sandy Hook. Law enforcement at the national level and local levels, everybody got together and said, you know, the protocol for a long time was to shelter in place. Essentially, you would go into a lockdown mode, you would shelter under desks and lock the doors. But after these incidents continued to happen, they really looked at different strategies to actually help save lives. The shooting at Virginia Tech was pretty instrumental. They got a lot of data out of that that really helped kind of push the ALICE protocol along. And what they found when they studied Virginia Tech was that in cases where classrooms closed the door and barricaded the door and actually had an exit, that the number of lives that were saved from that was very significant. So this group got together, put the ALICE protocol out, we found out about it here in Waterford through our association with our police liaison officers. Every summer, we go to a conference with our police liaison officers. And this was back, I believe, 2014. The Michigan State Police did a presentation at that conference, introducing ALICE to everybody. We brought it back here to Waterford, talked to our administration about it, brought the Michigan State Police in, actually, did a training with our administration, and everybody was instantly on board. They were excited to bring this protocol into the district. And then in 2015, actually, after we decided to move forward, we immediately had a huge training sessions with all of our staff and trained everybody on the ALICE protocols. And we continue to do that every year. We do refresher trainings every year with our staff. And it's really, we're really proud to be on the forefront in the county, if not the state, with really bringing ALICE protocols in. So that's really kinda where we're at.

- Yeah, excellent work. And you mentioned those resource officers. Can you talk a little bit more about them, what they do, their names, what schools they cover, that sort of thing?

- Sure, sure, well, we have four police liaison officers in our schools. They're at all of our secondary schools, one at each high school and one at each middle school. We have Officer Matt Reid over at Mott High School. We've got Officer Tim Gielow over at Kettering, Officer Andy Teragos at Pierce, and new this year is Officer Kelly Johnson over at Mason Middle School. So they do a great job. They're there to build relationships with kids. Really, the goal of the police liaison officer, it serves many, many goals, obviously, but, when I talk to them, they really want to break that stigma down for our kids of what a police officer is. You know, a lot of our kids don't see police in a positive light. So they wanna build those relationships with kids and kind of have a different perspective. Our kids come from all different kinds of backgrounds. They're there to be a resource for them. Their offices are right in the schools. Kids regularly come to them just to talk about things that are going on in their lives. And they ask for help, quite honestly, you know? So having them in our schools is invaluable. It's a great resource. It's a great partnership with Waterford PD. They work in concert with our staff. If there are incidents that come up and they can be of assistance, they're certainly right there. The two liaison officers at the middle schools actually help support our elementary schools also. So that is a real benefit. It's something that we've tried to supplement with our school safety coordinators in the past, but the liaison officers, especially with that age of student, it makes a real impact when a uniformed officer goes in and gets involved in the situation. So, obviously, I think, for all of our staff in our community, having those officers in our buildings is another layer of security that just makes everybody feel much more safe and secure.

- Yeah, absolutely. Anne, I know you're here more for the social-emotional piece, but can you talk a little bit about your experience with our school resource officers?

- Yes, so Officer Kelly Johnson is new to Donelson Hills this year and he has been assigned, he came in our building right away, walked the hallways, talked to kids, we visited classrooms, really answering questions that kids may have about safety and security, as well as building those relationships. And as we were walking around, kids wanted to know about the tools on their belt, was a great opportunity to talk about careers. They had lots of questions. They asked about the police dogs, just interesting facts. And he spent a lot of time with them, talking to them. Out of that couple of visits that he's had with our school, there was a student that was really interested and wanted to meet with him one-on-one, went home to their parent and said, "The police officer was at school today, talked about different things, Mom. I'd really like to sit down with him and talk one-on-one." That mom contacted him and he came over the next day and had a really great 20-minute conversation with the boy who had questions and concerns just about things and really spending that time and building those relationships. So it's great to have the community come together to make that a safe and secure community for sure.

- Yeah, absolutely. And the next question is still kind of related to the relationship piece, like Anne just demonstrated, but like you said, Jim, we have a great relationship with Waterford Police Department. How does that sort of facilitate their involvement in our schools?

- Well, we have had a long partnership with them, proceeded me stepping into this position. But they're just extremely supportive of our students and our staff. We know that they're a great partner for us and they help support school safety. Whenever we have an incident, if it's an elementary school, for example, if a call goes out, we're a priority call, they're coming right away. They're gonna be right on the scene and they're gonna bring resources. So we partnered with them on grants in the past. So we've done initiatives together. All Waterford police officers have keys to our buildings and card access to our building. So they are able to immediately get in if anything happens. They have access to our camera systems. Actually, their police dispatch is outfitted with a wall of TVs and our cameras are dialed into that so they can, if they have an incident, they can just immediately get into our cameras to help them try to mitigate the situation. And they provide training for our folks with ALICE too, again, mentioning the conference that we partner with, they were all on board with that immediately. They sent a lot of their, not only officers, but their administration to get ALICE trained, certified. And they continue to do that to provide training to our staff. So they've got a PowerPoint that they present and they're the ones that actually conduct our annual ALICE training.

- Yeah, I was in that this year. It was really good.

- Yeah, good.

- So, like Jim and Anne just referenced, Scott, we have great safety and security protocols already here, yet last spring, you still had us undergo a security site assessment. Why did you decide to do that?

- Well, we do have a strong program right now and strong support, but in the spirit of continuous improvement, we wanna make sure we're doing everything we can. So we wanted to bring in an expert to review our processes, our procedures, our partnerships. And what I was real pleased in, we were able to bring in SEC, who, the CEO is Jason Russell. Jason Russell used to be with the Secret Service. So if he's good enough to protect the president, I believe he's good enough to come in and help us protect our kids.

- I'd say so.

- And so he also was involved in the aftermath of Oxford, and I know he has worked with that superintendent, but Jason is an expert in the field. I just came from a conference this week where he spoke to hundreds of superintendents. And this morning, on the front page of the paper, there he is again working with another school district. So we brought in the best because we wanna make sure we have the best processes and systems in place to protect our kids.

- And what were the results of the study?

- Well, the results were very good. We found that we were in the top 10% of districts nationwide. I was gonna say statewide, but nationwide, top 10%.

- Wow.

- So it's no question that we've done a good job, but we always have to be looking at how do we get better and make sure that we learn new things and the new processes and systems that are out there so we can make sure that we're updating where we need to.

- For sure, thanks, Scott. Jim, can you name a couple of those recommendations that SEC did provide in the report?

- Sure, yeah, some things that we were able to accomplish immediately this summer, we added, we've got a bid in out for extra cameras. I don't think you can ever have enough cameras. We have updated our exterior door numbers, and that's important because if the police have to respond, it really helps them if we can indicate, give them a visual as to where an incident might be taking place. They have copies of all of our maps with which we're updating our safety maps throughout the district too. Those are being, I've just got a few of the latest buildings that received updates to finalize. And we're going get those up shortly. We just finished the proof, actually. So I'm really happy to get that moving forward. Things like emergency bins in our schools. Each school is equipped with an emergency bin in case there is any type of emergency where we need to evacuate the building. There are emergency supplies in there. The old bins were kind of a large, heavy, cumbersome type of tote. Out of that recommendation, you know, Jason recommended maybe something a little more portable. So we actually ordered some rolling duffels so we're hoping that that'll help. First aid kits throughout the schools, Stop The Bleed kits. We received some free Stop The Bleed kits in a partnership with McLaren Hospital a few years back, but we only got a couple per school. So all the safety experts say you can never have enough of those, especially if you have a critical incident. So we acquired some more of those. Again, more resources to conduct ALICE training with all of our folks. And one big thing that came out of it, which I think we'll be hearing a lot more about, not only statewide but probably throughout the nation, is a behavioral threat assessments. And behavioral threat assessments is a process where really it's a proactive strategy to where if we've got kids that are struggling and staff start seeing signs that a child might need some help or an intervention, then this process really gets the whole team together. And it's a very defined process. It's, again, a national standard. It's been developed in cooperation with the Secret Service. But it's really in place to, like I said, kind of help identify kids who are struggling and then it brings a whole team together, which could include school administration, social workers, teachers, but bus drivers, custodians, whoever that child might have interaction with, to help understand what might be going on to try to help get them the resources that they need. So we're really excited at that opportunity to bring that into the district. And we're moving forward with training of all of our staff.

- Yeah, a lot of moving parts to keeping a district safe and secure.

- Yes.

- You do a great job of keeping it all together. A common question that we also got more before the assessment, but was if we could install the highly publicized Nightlocks on our classroom doors. What were the findings from the study that directly relate to that?

- Sure, sure, well, in regard to the Nightlocks, door securement, obviously, is really critical in these types of situations. So when Jason came in, that was one of the things that we really did ask him to focus on. And when he did, he visited all of our schools, he met with staff at every school, not only had a discussion with the security teams at each school, but he walked each facility. And again, we asked him to really focus on our doors and give us his thoughts on that. I also had our township emergency manager, Brendan Brosnan, I met with him, he came in, we walked a couple schools, and he looked at the Nightlocks, well not the Nightlocks, but at our door, what we currently have in place. Showed him a couple examples of supplemental securement systems that we were considering, which, Nightlock, you know, was one of them. And they were both in agreement that what we have in place, those thumb locks, those quick turn locks that I mentioned earlier, are really more than adequate. And really, the thumb locks that we have are probably, are definitely better. Not every school district has these thumb locks in place. The district, again, made it a big commitment on resources. You know, these lock sets aren't cheap. But what it does is it allows our staff to quickly secure their classroom without fumbling with keys and everything. And it's a piece where the door is immediately secured, a staff member could do it, it's simple enough where a child could do it if need be, and it secures the door from the corridor so nobody can get into the classroom. But along that ALICE protocol, if conditions are right where you can escape, again, there's no fumbling with keys. The handset is set up to where it will allow you just to open the door from the inside of the classroom to get out without having to have to reset any locks or anything. So that's a really, a good device. And they were very supportive of that. With the supplemental locks, there are concerns, especially with the Nightlock and the other ones we were looking at. It's kind of a piece where it mounts on the wall and you have to make a hole in the floor for it to recess into to secure it. There are some concerns about access. We know things end up missing mysteriously sometimes. So if we're counting on that to be our measure to secure that classroom, and at the moment of truth, somehow that piece is missing or somehow some dirt or debris have gotten into that hole, it really could compromise having that strategy in place. So we didn't really think that that was, we know what we have is excellent. We really didn't feel that we need to supplement it with another product. So that's really kind of how we came to the conclusion with that. We shared with our board of education, had Jason actually come in, talk to them about that piece too. And they were in agreement. So it's really, the thumb turns that we have in place are an outstanding solution.

- Good to know. So that's just one of the many questions we received from parents about safety and security. So I'm gonna ask you a couple more, put you in the hot seat a little bit.

- Sure.

- So a question a parent may ask is, "Why do I need to sign in every time I go to my child's school?"

- Well, obviously, we've spent a lot of resources on securing our schools and we need to know who's in our schools. You know, as mentioned, we do volunteer, we do full background checks on all of our volunteers. So anybody coming in, we really want to be sure that we account for them. Signing in is important so we know who's in our buildings. But if something critical happens in the school and then public safety comes, it's nice to have those sign-in lists to also kind of do just a second check of who may or be in the school.

- Okay, a parent may ask, "I need to bring several materials into the building. Can I prop the door open?"

- Never want to prop the door open. No, you can't. That's just a vulnerability again, you know? We are really vigilant with our staff about making sure that doors stay secured, especially exterior doors and windows. So no, no propping of doors.

- "What should I do if someone is asking me to let them into the building or is right behind me, but hasn't been granted access?" I know I personally encountered this not too long ago, and it's awkward, but I did have to say to the person, you know, "I can't let you."

- Certainly, yep, yeah. And that is a challenge and we continually work with it and talk to our students and our staff about that. But no, we absolutely do not want to do that. You may hear the term tailgating, that's kind of what that is. But really, they need to go through the secured entry and they need to be vetted through. We shouldn't not let them in to, you know, that's the purpose of our secured entries is to funnel everybody through one entrance. So they come into a secured area, they sign in, we know who they are, and they don't get into our corridors and have access to our students and staff.

- Okay, "Why can't we just get metal detectors?"

- Well, yeah, metal detectors, that's come up. And as I recall, watching some of the press conferences post-Oxford, Sheriff Bouchard addressed this. He mentioned that really, metal detectors can be defeated. They can be defeated and they're not 100% effective. And as he pointed out, really, it's very rare, especially in Oakland County, for any schools, really, throughout the state, I think is what he mentioned, that actually do have metal detectors. So I know, folks seem 'em, it seems like it's been integrated more into our lives at airports and things like that. But for a school solution, the logistics of it and everything, it's really, doesn't rise to the level of necessity.

- Okay, thanks Jim. Anything else that you wanna add? I know you've been talking a lot already, but if there's anything more, now would be the time.

- Well, what we tell everybody is school safety is everybody's responsibility. And we wanna make sure that if information comes forward, that we're aware of it. There have been several campaigns, "See something, say something." I think that's easy to remember and we always remind our kids of that. But a big thing that the state adopted several years back was the Okay to Say program. And Okay to Say just becomes more and more valuable, unfortunately, you know, as we continue to have these issues, and obviously with the incident that happened in Oxford last year, it was huge across the state. But Okay to Say is a great mechanism for our kids to report anything that they see. I know, often, I know with my kids, you talk to them about if something happens to them, well, make sure you go tell administrator. They don't want to get the retribution. So Okay to Say was put in place as a confidential resource for kids to call, text, email anything that they might have heard out there that would be of concern. And it's vetted through the Michigan State Police. When those calls come in, those folks get the report, they look at it, and they have direct contact to myself, our school administration, and the Waterford PD to immediately contact one of us to begin immediate investigations on any of these cases that are reported to them. So Okay to Say is huge, but we really wanna impress on everybody that security is everybody's responsibility. So if you talk to your kids, if they see something, reach out. If you don't wanna reach out to school administrator, Okay to Say is definitely a confidential portal that they can do that. It'll help us keep everybody safe.

- All right, good to know. Scott, same for you. Anything else that you wanna add in the area of safety and security in our schools?

- Yeah, I think we've just do a great job and we wanna assure parents in our community that we're working very hard to make sure that all of our processes and procedures are up to date. That's why we brought in SEC with Jason Russell. We're gonna continue to do that. But I think a very good point that Jim, you point out, it's everyone's responsibility. We work together, we have places where they can let us know information, and sometimes the information we find out really doesn't go anywhere, but we'd rather know it, even if it's a question, so we can investigate and get in front of that. So I'm just real pleased with what we continue to do here in Waterford.

- Okay, great. Now we move on over to Anne, who is going to offer another perspective on the safety and security discussion, and that is the social-emotional impacts that these various situations can have on our students.

- Yeah, that's right, here in Waterford, we are very proactive with our social-emotional learning resources. We have an incredible safe team who has been on this podcast before. And you may have also noticed that we have a couple of golden retriever dogs that are now in various levels of training and being implemented in our schools. There is currently one at Cooley, the first one, her name is Rosie. And then we have one at Mott whose name is Charlie. And the rumor out there is that there'll soon be one at Kettering as well. But those are just two of the examples of many social-emotional resources that we provide for our students here at Waterford.

- Yes and we have to get those dogs on the show too.

- Yes.

- Especially now that we have the visual piece on YouTube.

- I think I need to get one in my school as well.

- But today we're gonna learn about some of the awesome social-emotional learning program items going on over at Donelson Hills. So Anne, first can you talk to us about social-emotional learning, which is commonly referred to as SEL, what it is, and why it's important for us to address it in the classroom along with academics.

- Thank you, this is definitely a passion of mine. And SEL are really specific life skills and daily lessons that promote student voice and independence. As an educator for 23 years and an educator K through 12, in all the different buildings I have traveled in, what I noticed, a common theme amongst staff, students, and parents, is that everyone wants a voice. Everyone wants to be heard, felt like they belong. And do I really matter? And why do I need to be here? So as I started to travel down this road of education, I started to notice that as adults, we don't allow time for student voice. And I'm just gonna give you an example. If you ever have a young child and you ask that child a question, who answers it? The parent. "How was your day? Where did you go?" You know, "What did you learn in school today? What did you do over the weekend?" Often, an adult nearby will answer that question, thus stifling a child's voice. So I started to really pay attention to that. And when I noticed kids have a voice, they have opinions, they have feelings, they know what to do with them, they know what they want, they know what they need, and I started to just change a mind shift and how we allow kids to have voices. So with SEL, no matter if you're 5, 15, 55, no matter who you are, really creating an environment where everybody has a voice. So through the social-emotional learning, students really learn to understand their emotions, identify their emotions, communicate their emotions, and really take responsibility for those emotions and the actions that, or the repercussions or the consequences of their voice. Everything has a consequence. So understanding that and relating to themselves really gives them a positive self image through school.

- Okay. And how is it that you have implemented SEL at Donelson Hills?

- So an important component of SEL in our curriculum is called restorative practices. Or in some areas, they're called circles. So it's that creating that classroom community, again, where everyone has a voice, everyone can be heard. As we know, as a society, in everyday life, problems arise, things happen, people don't know how to communicate well with each other. And creating that environment that allows students to develop that. So we call them circles and we get together in these community circles daily, each teacher in our classroom. And the circle represents something very positive because if you think about a circle, there's no beginning, there's no end, there's no leader, there's, I mean, everybody has equal ability within this circle. You can see everyone's face, you can look at them, nobody's hiding behind someone else, you can't really leave the circle. If you think about campfires, everyone gathers around a campfire, right? And it creates this community. So we wanted to create that within our school. And when that happens, and when a situation happens, now we've created this community as how we talk to each other, we get to know each other, maybe our favorite likes, what we don't like, what we do like, a little bit about our families, so that when a problem arises, we gather in a circle and we talk about things. The hardest part, particularly dealing with elementary kids, is I was trying to figure out how everybody was not talking all at once.

- Yeah, right?

- Because that is a very difficult thing, especially when people are excited about something or maybe they're upset about something, they really don't know how to be good listeners. So as I was trying this practice, I was looking for some kind of a talking piece that would allow someone to talk while others listened. And I was looking around my office, I really didn't see anything, so I was thinking, thinking. I was up north one weekend enjoying the beautiful Northern Michigan, and I walked into a Bargain Barn and I looked at a huge barrel of misfit toys that no one wanted. Introduce, if you can see here now, introduce Stinky. And then boom, it hit me. What a novel idea to use as a talking piece with younger students, right? Skunks are stinky, we have stinky problems, we have to figure it out. So I bought them all up, very cheap, brought them home and started to use this in my office when I was working with kids. And I introduced Stinky, said, "Do you know my stinky friend? Here he is." They would look around the room like who is she talking about? And then Stinky came with some rules so that if you were holding Stinky, you were the only person talking. And then everybody else just had to be listening. Also, creating a life skill. We all know that if we've gotten a heated argument with someone, it's hard to like not not talk outta turn. And then I just laid some funny rules down that said, "If you're talking outta turn, you're gonna hear like, eh, eh," some like weird noise, which again, makes kids laugh, brings their cortisol level down, and really creating this environment where it's okay to have a strong emotion, it's okay to talk about it, and let's figure it out together. Well, as this started working in my office, and then I would look around and be like, "Oh my gosh, that worked. I can't even believe that worked. Did somebody see that?" You know, other than me. I really started to think about what if we did this school-wide? What if we took this novel idea with our social-emotional learning and our restorative practices and our circle, and we introduced that. I trained my staff how to use these pieces and then all of a sudden our kids had a voice. They knew what to do with their strong emotions. And then Pinky came along, just random, because as we were using this talking piece in our restorative circles and creating our social-emotional learning space, a teacher came to me and said, "Anne, Stinky needs a friend." And I was like, and she said, "This is Pinky." Because a student noticed she had a stuffed pig in her room. And because Stinky saw stinky problems, Pinky will create positive solutions. Thus, the friendship formed. So I found all these online, created these friends. And so after we solve our problem in our circle and students have their voice and they voice their opinion, then Pinky comes in and students start to give advice, how to problem solve. What are some solutions to the problem we have present? The teacher is not giving her opinion or his opinion or his advice. It's coming from kids, allowing kids to voice what the solution is. It's a beautiful scenario. It allows kids to have a voice. The most interesting thing is kids seek these items out now on their own in the classroom and they work out problems independently, not in a whole classroom, on the playground, in the gym. Sometimes when things get really heated, kids will ask, "Will you have Mrs. Kruse come in and run our circle?" And if I am walking down the hallway with these two things, there is not a student in our classroom, "Mrs. Kruse, where are you going?" "We have stinky problem." And they say, "Well, you'll work it out. You guys will work it out." And it really allows, it gives teachers a tool because problems arise in school. You can't have 25 kids in a classroom when there's not a problem or a situation every day that needs a solution, so.

- Right, so what was it that made you decide that this would be a good method to utilize in the classroom?

- As I became an administrator and I had to investigate and deal with more serious situations that required suspensions, it didn't feel good here. It didn't feel good to remove a child from our community and expect them to come back a different person the next day.

- Sure.

- So as I started to think about that, I really started to think about restorative practices. As we are teaching students, whether they're five, 15 or 18, a skill that they have to have is they have to understand what my actions have consequences, but how they have affected the greater community. So by sending somebody home and expecting them to come back without really having a conversation about what happened, what were you thinking at the time? Who did this affect? How can we repair the harm?

- Yeah.

- Then the behavior, the negative behavior that caused the suspension, will not change. They will not understand how it connects bigger to the greater school community. So as I started to do these restorative practices and really build self confidence within students to take responsibility for their actions, then we had less problems and increased awareness of how these affect the greater community.

- Yeah, I was going to ask you. What were some of the results that you've seen since you first implemented them? They've been around for, I think you told me about five years now?

- Yes, yes.

- And they've made their way to some other district buildings as well, correct?

- Yes, so as a, yes, as a district this year, we have, so here was my basis. This is a book called "Better Than Carrots or Sticks: Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom and Management." But this really builds into our social-emotional learning. So really, this was my bible when I started this work because I knew we needed to make a change, a mind shift. And as a district, we have adopted this book this year and it was given to every staff member at professional development. As you can see, it's thin. It's great for parents, students. We did a book study at our school. And then as things started to improve in our school, not only academically, but students started to come to school, our attendance was up, our safety and security and our community was building, I started to share these ideas with my colleagues. Stinky and Pinky have made their way into multiple, multiple buildings. I did have a teacher that had moved away to a different state 'cause her family relocated. She texted me a couple years ago and said, "Stinky and Pinky are in full action at our school," because she had a tool that she could take with her. This is a lifelong skill to really be able to communicate.

- Absolutely, you can't argue with those results.

- No.

- No, and if I could say, I mean, when I participated in the professional development, we did a big security piece with all of our staff. This presentation that you did along with the safe team, getting to meet the safe team and what they do for our kids is just phenomenal. It really does just helps with the overall safety and security of everybody. But just phenomenal work on that. I'm really impressed.

- Yeah, thank you, thank you. Yeah, I'm impressed that it works, you know? It is not a magic pill. It is really a change in a mindset, how we approach, we're teaching children to understand their strong emotions.

- But it sounds like it's good for the children as well as the adults involved too, so it's for all ages, like you referenced a couple times.

- For sure.

- Scott, what are your thoughts on what Anne is doing over there at Donelson, and overall, why this type of learning is so important in the district?

- Well, to highlight three things, why it's so important. Relationships, student voice, and skills, teaching skills to resolve conflict. If you think about just in our world today, we could use those three things, but skills to resolve conflict. And so we're teaching our kids and we have some props to do that, but that's what we're doing here in Waterford. And I think it's a great example what Anne brings to us today at Donelson Hills and across the district.

- Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Scott, and to all of our guests for being on the show. Jim, you're doing a great job of ensuring our students and staff stay safe during the school day. And Anne, kudos to you for implementing a program that reaches our students, not just academically, but socially and emotionally as well. This podcast is brought to you by Waterford School District's Department of School and Community Services, and is produced by Video Production Coordinator, Jane Tekiele. I am the host of this podcast, Sarah Davis, and you can find all episodes of WSD Voice on our website at waterford.k12.mi.us, or you can tune into 89.5 WAHS or Radio Central Multicultural. We so appreciate you listening today and encourage you to continue to tune into future episodes of "WSD Voice" as we discuss topics geared toward inspiring, educating, and empowering our students, staff, alumni, and community to thrive.

- Hello, this is Scott Lindberg, Superintendent of Waterford School District. Right now is a very exciting but also challenging time in education. More than ever, our staff and students need support. That is why this November 8th, Election Day, Waterford School District will place a non-homestead millage renewal and restoration on the ballot. This is something we are required to do every 10 years to maintain current funding. It is not a new tax and is a zero tax increase for homeowners. This millage would maintain $12 million annually for Waterford School District and would guarantee that the district continues to receive funding from the state each year for general operating costs, such as textbooks, staff, classroom materials, and technology. To learn more information about this millage and how it impacts Waterford School District, visit www.wsdmi.org/millage. As always, thank you for supporting this district, and most importantly, our staff and students. This ad has been paid for by the Waterford School District, 501 North Cass Lake Road, Waterford, Michigan, 48328.

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WSD Voice is syndicated on 89.5 WAHS (www.wahsradio.org), airing every Wednesday at 9 a.m., and on Radio Centro Multicultural (www.radiocmlf.org), airing at select times.