The community support and enthusiasm for is gaining momentum, according to Superintendent Mike Nelson, spurring the Enumclaw School District to host not one but two community-wide presentations this week in an effort to share this project which encourages kindness and compassion. (Read more at the District website.)
The first presentation takes place tonight at beginning at 6:30 p.m.
District teachers and staff have already been introduced to the challenge, inspired by the story of Rachel Scott, the first victim killed during the 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School. And students from elementary to high school have been getting their introductions over the last week.
Student representative Conner Wells said he has seen local shops and businesses downtown carrying the links and other literature about Rachel's Challenge and is excited for the assembly at the high school on Thursday. "It's cool to see it actually start to happen," he said.
To show and celebrate the acts of kindness and compassion visibly, participants write it down on chain links of paper when they see acts of kindness. (Scroll to the end of this article to learn more about Rachel's Challenge.)
If you are unable to make the community presentation at Black Diamond Elementary tonight, there is a second presentation at Enumclaw High School on Thursday, Sept. 22, also at 6:30 p.m.
The Superintendent's Shadow
Nelson also shared with the Board his effort this new school year to get to know the students as well as help to tell their story. For the first six weeks of the new school year, he is shadowing six different students are all levels throughout the district in an effort to "broaden people's understanding of what kids go through," he said.
The District's goal is to ensure that all students are achieving at high levels, and this is a way to showcase a wide array of students and their diverse interests and backgrounds, he said.
For his first week, Nelson shadowed EHS senior Cole Snider. Read about his experience at the District website.
Snider, on a different note, also received accolades from fellow students -- and student representatives -- Lauren Cary and Wells for his presentation to the student body during the Friday assembly that inspired great school spirit and pride in being an Enumclaw High School Hornet.
District Business and Operations Director Tim Madden shared with the Board that in spite of budget cuts that affected the start of the new school year, the District's general fund is in good shape.
However, with last week's forecast news that the state is projected to suffer another $1.4 billion shortfall in tax revenue through June 2013, the District is anticipating more belt-tightening with a possible special session about mid-year, he said.
District officials are watching closely in hopes of preserving Levy Equalization Assistance (LEA) for Enumclaw, with provides a state match to 'property poor' school districts to lessen the differences in taxes paid for local levies.
Lawmakers do not consider LEA basic education, Nelson said.
A Generous Community
The Board approved the following donations:
- $2,500 for Rachel's Challenge from the Catholic Health Initiatives
- $500 from Taco Time (Bill & Sue Jensen) to Enumclaw Middle School for students in need
- $57,500 from the Enumclaw Schools Foundation for full-day kindergarten scholarships
- $4,770.10 from the Enumclaw Schools Foundation for enrichment grants
- $500 in matching gifts from Boeing for Board member Corey Cassell to be used for the Robotics Club
- $400 from Jeffrey Klemann for full-day kindergarten scholarships
- $2,000 from Target to Sunrise Elementary School for dancing classrooms
- $1,000 from Prep Sportswear to be used for EHS Athletics
The Board also approved more than $2 million in grants benefitting the School District.
More on Rachel's Challenge
The goal of Rachel’s Challenge is to create an environment of kindness and compassion throughout the community.
Other goals are:
- Inspire and motivate individuals to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion that becomes visible throughout the community.
- Create a safe learning and living environment for all students and citizens by re-establishing civility and delivering proactive anecdotes to violence and bullying.
- Empower and equip individuals through training with the ability to make a difference in their place of work, school and recreation.
- Provide social/emotional education that is both colorblind and culturally relevant.
To show that effort visibly, participants write it down on chain links of paper when they see acts of kindness. When the effort is over on March 2, 2012, organizers hope to have a linked chain 2 miles long describing all of the good works.
Anyone who wants to participate can pick up Rachel’s Challenge posters and links at Enumclaw Regional Heathcare office, Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce or the Enumclaw School District Schools or Office.
Begin connecting the links to make chains to display for your business, class or organization. Every 10 yards, turn your chain in to be counted and earn a sticker to display on your poster.
Drop off the 10 yards of positive comments linked together at schools, the Enumclaw chamber, healthcare foundation, or for pick-up at your location email: Rachels_Challenge@enumclaw.wednet.edu
The Rachel’s Challenge Mission: We exist to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent, positive culture change in their school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. ...start a chain reaction!
Call one of these numbers to register your place of business, organization, or your family and receive a poster, instructions and links to get started. Businesses, Chamber of Commerce, (360) 825-7666; Schools/education, Enumclaw School District, (360) 802-7102; Service organizations/clubs: Enumclaw Regional Healthcare, (360) 802-3206; and religious organizations, Live to Forgive Ministries (253) 740-4153. Visit www.rachelschallenge.org for more information.