Creating Connections: The OFCE Blog

  • Reports from the Office of Family & Community Engagement team

  • Want to learn more about RISE?

    Posted by Rebekah Lawson on 3/22/2021

    If your organization is interested in RISE and how you can support our efforts, please contact Rebekah Lawson at to set up a presentation! 

    Comments (-1)
  • We are back in school, too! 

    Posted by Rebekah Lawson on 3/16/2021

    Now that our RISE youth are back in the classroom, so are our RISE mentors. Mentors are available to meet with RISE students before, during and after school, while following social distancing guidelines. Reach out to your mentor to learn more! 

    Comments (-1)
  • Celebrating our Restorative Practices Secretarial Leads at Roosevelt & Adams!  

    Posted by Julie Schaffer  on 3/11/2021

    Lori Houck and Mary Schrimshire are the Office Managers at Roosevelt and Adams Elementary Schools, respectively.  They are two of the 24 secretarial staff who have taken on a leadership role in Restorative Practices (RP) this school year, through grant funding received by the Dept. of Family and Community Engagement.   

    During Friday’s Learning Improvement Day, Lori led Roosevelt’s certificated staff through a restorative practices training, focusing on “the why” of RP and directing colleagues to this video. Lori said she felt nervous about presenting but received lots of support from her admin team and counselor.  After the training, she reported that “the whole process was empowering and I received so many positive comments.”   Lori is excited to provide training to classified staff later in the year and to lead a book study with in-building aides and paraeducators.  Principal Matthew Henshaw said he was pleased with the training and appreciated that it both empowered Lori and reinforced that all staff, classified and certificated, play a critical role in creating positive learning environments for our students, parents, and staff.  Go Lori and the team at Roosevelt!   

    At Adams Elementary, Mary Schrimshire had identified and purchased a series of books for a staff library that focus on foundational concepts of Restorative Practices, like empathy and understanding the impact of trauma on behavior.  She is using the books to develop two 30 minute trainings that she will lead for Adams’ noon-aides later this spring.  Thank you Mary and the team at Adams! 

    All Restorative Practices Secretarial Leads will be facilitating a training this year, as well as identifying and purchasing materials that support restorative practices in schools.  Thank you secretary leads, we appreciate you! 

    Comments (-1)
  • Sacajawea Middle School Dear Martin Book Study

    Posted by Nicole Jenkins-Rosenkrantz on 3/3/2021

     I had the pleasure of being invited in to discuss the Book “Dear Martin” by Nic Stone.   

    We spent the month of February sessions discussing micro-aggressions focusing on:  

    • What do we do when we realize we have committed a micro-aggression?
    • How do we intervene when we witness someone committing a micro-aggression?
    • Let’s create a group norm around theSacajaweafamily together 

    We will now work through completing the Intercultural Development Inventory together as staff continue their journey to increase their ability and skills to shift behavior in culturally appropriate ways. 

    Comments (-1)
  • Rogers Book Study

    Posted by Jeremy Rouse on 2/25/2021

    Staff at Rogers High School, along with Title VI Indian Education staff, have begun a book study of “All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker. The continued prevalence of one-dimensional stereotypes, false narratives, and lack of inclusion within curriculum are cornerstone issues when it comes to creating equitable learning opportunities for Native students within our schools. This book provides an excellent entry point for educators who are willing to commit to reshaping what they know about Native peoples and the ongoing impacts of U.S. colonization on sovereign tribal nations. Each chapter of the book confronts a particular “myth,” stereotype, or commonly held belief related to Native peoples, such as: “Indians Were the First Immigrants to the Western Hemisphere,” “Europeans Brought Civilization to the Backwards Indians,” and “Sport Mascots Honor Native Americans.” 

    Deep dives into these topics have generated rich, meaningful conversations between Title VI Indian Education and Rogers High School staff. With the highest Native student population of any school in Spokane Schools, as well as boasting a Salish language class and the first Native American Literature class in the district, these conversations are especially relevant for educators at Rogers. Looking ahead, Indian Education hopes to move these conversations into other schools and departments of SPS in the near future.  

    Comments (-1)
  • Warm clothes, blankets available

    Posted by Rebekah Lawson on 2/23/2021

    Through a gracious donation from Zumiez and the YMCA of the Inland Northwest, OFCE has received cold weather gear just in time for the cold temperatures. Reach out to a check and connect mentor through Indian Education, or any one of our RISE mentors so we can provide you with warm clothing, blankets, and socks. Supply is limited, so do not delay! 

    Comments (-1)
  • RISE mentors ready to help!

    Posted by Rebekah Lawson on 2/23/2021

    Are you parent of a RISE youth, or RISE participant and you’re not sure how many credits you have? Your RISE mentor will work with your counselor to see your progress toward graduation and support you in your high school journey! Reach out to your mentor to learn more. 

    Comments (-1)
  • Restorative Justice is Racial Justice

    Posted by Julie Schaffer on 2/23/2021

    I recently listened to a critically important conversation about Restorative Justice and Racial Justice on The Center for Court Innovation’s podcast “New Thinking.”  If you are short on time (though the entire episode is worth at least two listens), fast forward to 24:00 where the panel of Restorative Justice facilitators in Brooklyn High Schools dive deep to share their perspectives about this relationship. The link to the podcast and transcript are here. 

    After you listen, I would be interested in hearing your takeaways and reflections: Another great resource is Fania Davis’ 2019 book “The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice; Black Lives, Healing, and US Social Transformation (Justice and Peacebuilding).” 

    Comments (-1)
  • Logan Elementary School Parent Listening Session 

    Posted by Tamika LaMere on 2/8/2021

    On Friday, Feb. 8, Indian Education hosted a parent listening session for Logan Elementary. This is following three listening sessions with grades 3-6 that were facilitated during November, December, and January. 

    Parents and caretakers were invited to share their perspectives, experiences, and suggestions which helps us better understand the unique needs of the Native community around education. Providing opportunities to hear parent voice also provides insight that is critical to the culture and climate of each individual building and the entire district. The more we learn and know about the experiences and needs of distinct communities, the better equipped we are as a system to better serve our students and families.  

    We would like to thank all families that attended the listening session. Your engagement is critical and a necessary component moving us towards Excellence for Everyone! 

    Comments (-1)
  • Professional Development Opportunity 

    Posted by Tamika LaMere on 2/8/2021

    On Tuesday, Feb. 2, Indian Education kicked off a four-part professional development training called, Excellence for Everyone: Indigenous Identities and the Education Institution. Indian Education is partnering with Susie Gerard, Secondary Social Studies Coordinator, to provide a professional development opportunity that takes a deeper dive into Native American communities and connect the historical and philosophical contexts to the relationship between Native students and families and the current education institution.   

    Each session is one hour, and the overarching goal is to leave the trainings with a better understanding of what funds of knowledge educators bring into the classroom and building, which includes the exploration of implicit and explicit biases around Indigenous communities. Additionally, educators will have the opportunity to build upon what they know and incorporate Indigenous concepts and understandings into their own epistemologies to better serve Native students and families. 

    Comments (-1)