Highline School District Wins Visionary Leadership Award

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Highline Public Schools is one of four organizations to receive a “Visionary Leadership Award” from the Committee for Children, a Seattle-based non-profit that works to “prevent bullying, violence, and child abuse.”

Highline was recognized for its commitment to social-emotional learning. Other schools honored include the Denise Louie Education Center, Snohomish County Human Services Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, and Lake Washington School District.

For over 25 years, Highline’s elementary counselors have used the Committee’s nationally-recognized, research-based violence prevention and anti-bullying programs. Recently Highline has worked with the Committee to pilot and evaluate new programs.

Today the Committee for Children’s programs are offered in 21 countries, at 25,000 schools, to more than 9 million children.

“This award reflects the hard work you’ve done over the years to implement programs that improve the lives of students in your district,” said Mia Doces, program developer for Committee for Children.

Here’s more info from a press release:

Committee for Children Executive Director Joan Duffel, who presented the awards, said, “We created them to recognize those who go above and beyond to make sure children learn the essential social and emotional skills to be safe and to succeed throughout their lives. The Committee for Children Visionary Leadership Awards honor some of our most outstanding education partners in the Puget Sound area for their extraordinary work to implement our programs.”

The first Visionary Leadership Award was received by Board President Jennie Fox and Executive Director Janice Deguchi on behalf of the Denise Louie Education Center. The Denise Louie staff, who use Committee for Children’s Second Step and Talking About Touching programs, have advised in the development of new programs and in exploration of reliable assessment tools to measure children’s social and emotional skills.

Highline Public Schools, represented by Head Elementary Counselor Jinna Risdal, received the second award for its district-wide, 20-year commitment to Committee for Children’s Second Step and Steps to Respect curricula. Highline has been an essential partner and advisor in helping develop and pilot-test new and revised curricula and helping engineer the programs to be simple to teach, effective and relevant to diverse populations of teachers, children and parents.

The third award was received by Director Ken Stark and Program Manager Joe Varano on behalf of Snohomish County Human Services Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). The ECEAP, which believes that quality early learning requires lessons in social and emotional competence, implements and tracks the impact of the Talking About Touching and Second Step programs and has taken the vital step of presenting their positive results in a simple, well-designed report for the Snohomish County area.

Lake Washington School District was represented by Counseling Coordinator Rita Smith on behalf of Superintendent Chip Kimball and received the fourth award for addressing bullying in a visionary manner. The District implements the Steps to Respect anti-bullying program district-wide and uses a proactive, preventive approach. The result is a model of bullying prevention for school districts across the state and nation.

The gala event — held last week in a reception room donated for the evening by Perkins Coie’s Seattle offices — was hosted by Committee for Children and involved many of the key players in its 30-year history, including founder Jennifer James, State Senator Jeanne Kohl Welles, and State Representatives Phyllis Gutierrez Kenny and Mary Lou Dickerson.

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