Creating Connections: The DFCE Blog

  • Reports from the Department of Family & Community Engagement team

  • Support for RISE Juniors and Seniors 

    Posted by Rebekah Lawson on 5/28/2021

    As the year ends, RISE mentors are available to work with juniors and graduating seniors in applying for summer jobs, career paths, and college admissions. We even do resumes! Reach out to your mentor to schedule a time to meet!

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  • Middle School Students Learn about Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution

    Posted by Julie Schaffer on 5/24/2021

    Amber Smith believes that all of her middle school students at Spokane Virtual Learning Academy are future leaders, even if they don’t yet see this in themselves. Over winter break, she took the initiative to create a course designed to give them the confidence, skills, and support they need to develop as leaders within their school and neighborhood communities. In doing so, she invited members of our team to help create the curriculum for the new “Compass Points” class and to actively engage with her students. Community mediator Bob Murphy and I had the pleasure of spending two classes talking with students about Restorative Justice and its applications in our schools. We learned a lot as the students weighed the pros and cons of a restorative versus punitive approach and applied this to their own experiences. Our sessions built upon the Conflict Resolution lessons taught by former Director of Community Partnerships, Fred Schrumpf (Understanding Conflict, Communication Skills, the Conflict Resolution Process, and Practicing as Mediators). Thank you Amber for empowering young leaders and helping equip them with healthy conflict resolution skills!

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  • Restorative Practices Training Recap and a Preview of What’s to Come!

    Posted by Julie Schaffer on 5/24/2021

    I have had the honor of training and learning alongside some incredible SPS staff over the past few weeks!  Here is a list of those trainings:  

    • Restorative Mediation, all Counselors, MTSS Specialists and RISE Mentors
    • Philosophy and Mindset of Restorative Practices, Campus Safety Specialists and Express Staff
    • Restorative Repair for Teacher-Student Conflicts, Shaw Middle School

    And here is a little preview of what’s to come:

    • Our Secretarial Restorative Practices Leads will have their last meeting on May 4.  We will share and celebrate all of their hard work over this past school year.  Thank you RP Leads!  Each RP Lead provided a training to staff colleagues and helped identify and purchase Restorative Practices-related materials for their schools.
    • Restorative Conflict Resolution, Campus Safety Specialists
    • Restorative Justice with Spokane Virtual Learning Middle School students.  I will be leading two classes with middle school students on Restorative Justice.  I can’t wait to learn alongside these bright young people!  More to come on this….
    • Community-Building Circles, Express Staff
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  • Indian Education Strategic Planning Event

    Posted by Tamika LaMere on 5/24/2021

    Dr. Iris Pretty Paint and team from Kauffman and Associates supported the Indian Education Program in facilitating a three-year strategic plan. Dr. Pretty Paint facilitated in a hybrid format with both in-person and virtual attendees present. Internal and external stakeholders were invited to participate and share their voices throughout the two-day event. Among those that were present, Dr. Adam Swinyard, SPS Directors Lockwood and Slagle, Anna Armstrong, Director of Education for the Kalispel Tribe, representatives from our local higher education institutions, Native Project, and many more! 

    When engaged and collaborated on various activities throughout the event that led us to the final product which are the Four Strategic Pillars that we will use to guide our work to support Native students and families. Each strategic pillar clearly identified an outcome, outlined activities to achieve the desired outcome, and a timeline for each activity. work session

    This was a very meaningful, engaging and fun process. My favorite activity was a drawing activity, and the goal was to create a picture without using any words that showcased each group’s vision for the program to look like in the future. This activity was much different than writing out our thoughts on paper which brought in a cultural and creative element that really captured our vision better than written word. 

    Indian Education would like to thank everyone that attended and participated in this event. We have thoughtfully and intentionally engaged in a shared visioning process, and came up with some amazing goals and strategies with engaging leaders in our community. We are grateful for you all!

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  • 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! 

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  • 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! 

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  • 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! 

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  • 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. 

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  • 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.  

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  • 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! 

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