In the rare instant when West Seattle Elementary counselor Laura Bermes paused amid her frenetic activity this morning making the first of two big assemblies happen, we photographed the sticker on her back so you could see it: Promising to “Stand Up to Bullying” was a big part of what today was about at WSE. A pink flag flew outside, and many staff and many students wore pink:
Bermes explained it’s part of this movement -and told us, “The idea is exciting. We have an anti-bullying policy, ways to report bullying, and really a very nice school; but we’d be naive to think that bullying doesn’t happen in schools. We need to be vigilant in how we address it, and this is one clear way for students to send a message to one another and to the community – WSE is a school where students and adults treat one another with respect. We hope that message spreads into our larger community.”
We were there for the morning assembly, for which the youngest students – kindergarteners through second graders – gathered not just for that rally, but also for awards and rewards. New shoes donated by Brooks were part of the latter:
Two classes won them as part of a Healthy Husky Challenge that Bermes and school nurse Terri Helm-Reymund led – “a 2 week long healthy challenge where students logged the number of minutes they exercised, or participated in some physical activity, every evening. Parents had to sign off on the log.” Bermes said the school was slated to get 35 pairs to give away, but two classes won and she requested, and received 44. One more special prize was announced at the assembly – Bermes got a Seattle Education Foundation grant to help with programs to boost attendance, and with part of the money, she bought a bicycle and gear, prizes for a drawing into which students with low absenteeism and tardiness were entered. Here’s the big announcement:
2nd grader Santiago is the first bicycle winner in the new incentive program:
Drawing entries are given to students with two or fewer absences per trimester and less than five tardies; perfect attendance gets a student five entries. Other prizes included basketballs and hula hoops.