Superintendent’s Advisory Council on Instruction (SACI): Thursday December 8, 2022

7 p.m. Welcome—Mrs. Vanessa Olson, Chair, SACI.

Snacks, cookies, and water available. Thanks to those who came out in this heavy concert season. Next month we should be back in our usual location in the Kelly building. Motion to approve November minutes pending grammatical updates. 

Positive Climate & Culture—Denise Huebner, Associate Superintendent for Student Services and Post-Secondary Success.

Formerly Associate Superintendent for Special Education. Serving as the lead for the commitment to the strategic plan area of positive climate and culture. The Office of Student Services split into Student Health and Wellness, and Post-Secondary Success. Numerous staff members here to help support and answer questions. PowerPoint will be available on the SACI website, and the more thorough Prince William Heals presentation to the school board is recorded and available on their webpage. Positive Climate and Culture steps include decreasing students who are chronically absent by 5%. Working to decrease dropout rates by 10% for all students. Track for risk factors and intervene, using evidence-based practices, and connecting students and families with support.

PWCS dedicating more than $18M to help with socio-emotional skills, including the PWCS Heals initiative, a response to the social and emotional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Focuses on emotional well-being of students and staff. The team includes about 400 people. Started with adult social and emotional learning, now moving to more focus on students. SEL is not just emotional regulation, but also includes teaching relationship skills and decision-making skills. Helping prevent burnout, and creating collaborative and supportive relationships among peers. Rhithm is a pilot program with emoji-based check-in and brief wellness activities. Currently in 10 schools, looking at expanding and seeing if it would be worthwhile long-term. Have about 350 SEL Coaches. 50 trained current PWCS school based mental health professionals that work with student and family outside of the school day in non-clinical manner to increase school engagement and enhance social emotional skills. Healing-centered engagement specialists have helped with teacher training to help teachers how traumatic experience impact students. Started guardian and student needs assessments during the pandemic and are continuing. Allows for immediate support offered to families that need additional support. Restorative practices has three components—preventative helps teach good decision making, understanding the impact on others and repairing damage, and helping transition back. It’s not that kids get away without consequences, it’s helping make sure they learn and things improve.

Retaining minimum of 95% of school-based administrators. Seeking to inspire future leaders and cultivate the leadership pipeline. Professional development helping retain staff. Seeking to reduce bias and make sure the most qualified candidates are selected. 90% or greater of certified staff in PWCS will be retained. Growing Our Own in our high schools, with program expanding into additional high schools. Expanding partnerships with colleges and universities. Teaching Assistant to Teacher partnership—goal was 75 by 2025, and we already have 42. Expanding international recruitment, with a goal of 350 by 2025. 10% decrease in students receiving exclusionary discipline for all student groups. Updating code of behavior and training. Integrating Healing Center Engagement Specialist.

Safe, welcoming, and sustainable facilities.

Important to have students feel safe at school. Implemented “Say Something” initiative to recognize and report concerns about potential harm to self or others. Enhancing school security through site assessments—completed divisionwide audit and implementing improvements. Annual assessments completed every December. Enhancing School Security Officer program. Have consolidated a guide to best practices. SSOs now have standard uniforms, including high visibility safety vests and radios when outside. There is now a security assistant they can hire at every school. There are approximately 500 exterior rounds per month of schools during the day. Continuing crisis management training with school administration and staff. Continuing to evaluate and improve security at football games, including coordinating with PWC police. Upgrading all CCTV systems at the schools. Looking at smart magnetometers for schools, reviewing possible implementation—would need to be ones good at detecting weapons but not going off on keys and stuff.

We are here to serve you and your children. Senior staff have gone through customer service training, and are here to help.


Are we working with SEL differently at ES, MS, and HS levels? Yes, we are teaching resiliency in developmentally appropriately ways, which will be different at different levels. There is more of a focus on the learning environment than purely mental health—leaving the parenting to the parents, but offering skills and tools to help learners’ development. SEL curriculum is put out by the state, though we are not teaching to it at the moment. Don’t take candy from a stranger, versus talking about the impact of addiction with high schoolers.

SEL for parents? Many schools are hosting SEL nights for parents. It often works well to have the parents and students come in to learn together. The coaches in the schools spearhead that.

Support Corps Effectiveness? Collecting data. Researched kids who had gone “missing” over the summer. Many families are very receptive and grateful for the assistance.

Bus security? Transportation has its own set of protocols. They will sometimes request assistance from the school safety. Drivers have radios, and can call in police assistance if needed.

Playground Security? All teachers out at recess should be wearing vests and carrying radios. There are procedures that they know how to respond. Usually they will come inside, but there are some cases where they will take the children into the community.

Bus app? Especially for parents with children with special needs, it is critical to be able to be able to use the app to track buses. Unfortunately, that is a third-party app and there are known challenges. The transportation team is trying to improve the use of the app. Part of the reason PWCS uses this app is the very strong student data privacy.

Break 8:10-8:20 p.m.

Work Session:

Develop questions or requests for topics to inform the Council of related to work of the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion at our January meeting. Working at our tables to give presenters questions and wonderings we have about their subject areas so they can focus on the committee’s concerns. Next month’s speaker with be the Chief Equity Officer. She also has a committee that works with her, though smaller than ours. Inside the supply boxes are post-it notes. What issues do you want to hear about from Equity, diversity, and inclusion? One idea per post-it. Then as a group, collaboratively sort, group, and consolidate the ideas. List the summary statements for the top 4 or so ideas on the large chart papers. After all charts are up, vote by dots so we can tell what the top issues are. If top ideas repeat across tables they are combined for whole committee voting. Each individual then gets a strip of 4 dots to vote on which issues are most important to them among all of the top ones from across all tables. Mrs. Olson will pass along the highest voted topics to next month’s presenters.

9 p.m. Meeting Adjourned. Next Meeting will be January 12, 2023.