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Safety policy update

Dear families,

Entering my fifth year as principal, what I know to be true is that I must always model what being a learner means.  I believe that no matter how young or old, one must always be open-minded and willing to learn. This fall’s learning focuses on maintaining a learning environment that fosters safety for all children, safety that includes academic achievements and social emotional well-being.  Whether it be from drop-off and pick-up zones for buses and cars, volunteer/visitor procedures, to ensuring that our classrooms foster a willingness to take academic risks–all elements are critical toward the development of the whole child.

Here are few updates regarding safety that I would like to share:

Volunteer/Visitor Procedures

  • Upon entering our school, thank you for checking and signing in at the office. Our office staff will provide you with an identification badge as a visitor or a volunteer. If you are coming to our school for the very first time, thank you for providing us with your identification to ensure we get to know you and to welcome you to our community.
  • A visitor is one that is coming for a visit. This visit might include trying out a new lunch from our Central Kitchen with your child. You may be visiting your child’s classroom for a celebration of writing or the sharing of a unit of inquiry. You may be dropping off a forgotten lunchbox or backpack for our office staff to deliver for you.
  • A volunteer serves their child’s classroom by regularly working with children in the classroom. You may be asked to work with individual or small groups of learners to support academics, the arts, or special projects. Most importantly, a volunteer application must be completed prior to your volunteer service. Please visit this page on our district site for more details.

Sex Offender Notification and Procedures:

For the first time in my 35 years as an educator in Bellingham, we were recently provided a unique learning experience. Please know that our school and district leadership team works tirelessly to ensure the safety of all children here at Northern Heights. We have been working in collaboration with law enforcement regarding sex offender access to our district and schools. Policy 3145 explains how our district works with law enforcement to control access to school sites for individuals convicted of sex offenses against children. Bellingham Public Schools will coordinate with law enforcement in providing a “written order to leave” to a registered sex offender within the district’s boundaries. Offenders may then request conditional permissions to enter district property on a case-by-case basis. You can find more about our new policies here.

As I close this month with my ponderings, please know that I am always available to talk if you have questions. My email contact is pamela.pottle@bellinghamschools.org and my work phone is 360-647-6820. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

With gratitude,

Principal Pam Pottle