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Keeping Kids Safe: An Opportunity to Review SCIS Practices on Child Safeguarding, Bullying Prevention, and Suicide Prevention

Written by Kristi Dahlstrom, Director of Student Support at SCIS 

On Thursday, November 9th, SCIS was excited to welcome over 60 parents to a discussion led by dedicated SCIS counselors to shed light on the comprehensive policies in place to ensure the safety and well-being of our students. The session covered crucial aspects such as child safeguarding, suicide prevention intervention, and postvention and bullying prevention. Parents learned about the various measures implemented by the school. 

The counselors emphasized the importance placed on creating a secure environment where students feel protected and nurtured. They reviewed child safeguarding practices which include thorough background checks of all staff, yearly training on child safeguarding practices with all staff, a comprehensive policy that reviews how to report concerns, and a culture of open communication to maintain a safe atmosphere for every child.  

The counselors also addressed the sensitive issue of suicide prevention and outlined the proactive steps taken by the school to identify students who are struggling emotionally. Regular practices include the implementation of bi-weekly surveys for students in Upper School and the use of student-of-concern forms submitted by teachers in Lower School/ECE to help identify any challenges students are facing and build the important relationships that keep students connected to school. Lessons are also incorporated into advisory time in Upper School, and Second Step lessons are utilized in the Lower School/ECE to address sensitive issues. The team also highlighted warning signs and how to seek help from the school counselors.

Finally, the counselors provided a comprehensive overview of the SCIS Bullying Prevention Policy, and the strategies employed at SCIS to ensure our community members are aware of how to work through any potential bullying situations. Faculty are trained annually in ways to build awareness of bullying, how to equip students with the tools to recognize and combat bullying behavior effectively, and the mechanisms of reporting and follow-up by our administrative team and counselors. Counselors reviewed programming within the school to build a culture of students as upstanders, which includes advisory lessons in Upper School, activities to build community, using the Second Step curriculum at ECE and Lower School, and school-wide implementation of Kelso’s Choices in ECE and Lower School.

Throughout the presentation, parents were actively engaged, fostering a sense of partnership between home and school. By transparently sharing the details of these policies, the school aims to strengthen the partnership between home and school and reinforce the shared responsibility of keeping our students safe. The importance of keeping open lines of communication was stressed at the session. We look forward to continuing to build on these presentations, so all our SCIS students are safe, protected, and progressing in a positive way. 

SCIS. A Partnership of Home, School, and Community.

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