Resources Related to COVID-19 & Important Updates:
If you are behind in rent there are resources available! Links below for information:
Do you have tenant rights questions or other landlord/tenant questions?
- Law Advocates Tenant Clinic offers free legal advice for low-income renters in Whatcom County
Summer Resources (added 6/3/21)
- Whatcom Kid Insider provides a list of summer camps in Whatcom County (tip: must click on yellow buttons/camp categories for camp listings to display)
- Bellingham Playbook Spring/Summer 2021 (formerly known as Leisure Guide) lists information about some summer camps
- The Arc of WA has a list of summer camps across the Northwest that are specific for children with special needs or children who have a diagnosis
- Center for Children with Special Needs has a summer camp directory, you can filter by diagnosis, concern, region, etc.
Looking for up to date community resource information?
- Community Resources During COVID-19 is a guide to resources available in Whatcom County during COVID-19 kept up to date by the Opportunity Council – an excellent place to get information!
- Whatcom Unified Command Website is dedicated to providing current information and resources related to COVID-19 (maintained by the City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, and the Whatcom County Health Department)
Other highlighted resources:
- Energy Assistance from Opportunity Council
- Applications can be done on by phone or online, see above link for more information and scheduling availability
- Opportunity Council’s Housing Search Lab provides support to those experiencing housing related difficulties, a great resource for help searching for a rental
- Bellingham Housing Authority currently has several waitlists open for application. Please click link for more information.
- Please contact Emily Humphrey-Krigbaum (360-393-8738) with the Bellingham School District’s Family Resource Center with any questions on how to apply. All applications for Housing Authority are now done online.
Operation School Bell
(This program is funded by the Assistance League of Bellingham and provides assistance in buying school clothes, to qualify students must be K-12 and qualify for free school meals)
2021-22 school year: check back for updates! It is “to be determined” how program will work next year. Information will be posted as soon as it’s known
With the impacts of COVID on our economy, the amount of awards available to distribute from Operation School Bell (OSB) is far fewer than usual. In the past we’ve had close to 800 awards to distribute to those in need of clothing, and this year we have 256 to distribute across the district. Therefore, we will be distributing the OSB supports on an as needed basis for families. Knowing that the need in the community will exceed the supply, we will be unable to award OSB cards to all the families requesting, however we would still like to know where there is need in case we have other forms of support to provide. If you have questions or would like to be added to a list of those needing clothing support, please reach out to Roxana Parise (Roxana.Parise@bellinghamschools.org) or Emily Humphrey-Krigbaum (Emily.Humphrey-Krigbaum@bellinghamschools.org). Thank you!
Family Support Services
Family Support Services includes many important programs including our Family Resource Center, homeless support program, health services, counseling, mental health supports, suicide prevention, social emotional learning, wellness and more.
District Foster Care Liaison
The general role of the Bellingham Public Schools (BPS) Foster Care Liaison is to facilitate district compliance with state and federal laws as they relate to children and youth in foster care, and to collaborate with the DSHS/Children’s Administration (CA) in an effort to address educational barriers that prevent children and youth in foster care from being identified, enrolled, attending, and succeeding in school.
BPS Foster Care Liaison
Roles and responsibilities of the Foster Care Liaison may include:
- Coordinating with the corresponding child welfare agency point of contact on the implementation of the Title I, Part A provisions.
- Coordinating with the Foster Care Program Supervisor at OSPI.
- Attending training and professional development opportunities to improve district implementation efforts.
- Serving as the primary contact person for DSHS/CA and social workers.
- Leading and documenting the development of a process for making best interest determinations.
- Facilitating the transfer of records.
- Facilitating immediate enrollment.
- Facilitating data sharing with the child welfare agencies, consistent with FERPA and other privacy protocols.
- Developing and coordinating local transportation procedures.
- Managing best interest determinations and transportation cost disputes.
- Ensuring that children in foster care are enrolled in and regularly attending school.
- Providing professional development and training to school staff on the Title I, Part A provisions and educational needs of children in foster care, as needed.
All students now have the ability to access a school counselor. In 2004, BPS only had three elementary counselors and 18 K-12 counselors. We now have a counselor at all 14 elementary schools and 34 K-12 counselors.
Intervention and Prevention Specialists
The district has four intervention/prevention specialists. They are housed in our three largest high schools and Shuksan Middle School, but serve students in all of our middle and high schools.
School nurses are specialized professionals who provide knowledgeable insight into acute and chronic health conditions and normal growth and development. Visit our Health Services webpage.
Youth Mental Health First Aid
Bellingham Public Schools will annually offer Youth Mental Health First Aid Training for parents and teachers. This class is designed to teach participants how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. The course teaches a five-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.
Supports in Schools
Visit our community resources webpage.
In our state, an average of two young people under 25 die by suicide every week and as many as one out of five students have seriously considered suicide in the last year. Bellingham Public Schools recognizes that the school plays a unique and important role in the prevention of youth suicide, violence and substance abuse and in the identification and treatment of mental health disorders in our community. Prevention begins with building a healthy school culture, where students feel loved and cared for.
Bellingham Public Schools Suicide Prevention Plan outlines our approach to prevention of and support for students experiencing emotional and behavioral distress and plans for supporting our school communities after a student’s death.
We continue to grow the MAD-HOPE peer suicide awareness and prevention training. In 2017-18 we trained over 1,300 people in peer suicide prevention training. Often peers are the first to notice suicidal tendencies. Of those taking the training, 92 percent felt confident they have increased willingness to intervene with a person feeling suicidal and know what to do.
Visit our community resources webpage.
Mobile Response Team (MRT)
The district’s Mobile Response Team consists of trained staff who are equipped to support schools when a crisis occurs, such as the death of a student or family member or a community crisis. Resources for Families and Staff when Talking to Children About Traumatic News or Events.
Safety and Emergency
Our Safety and Emergency webpage includes information about what Bellingham Public Schools is doing to keep students and staff safe, school emergency response drills, safety resources for families and more.
Visit our community resources webpage.
Starting in 2015, Bellingham Public Schools moved to a restorative justice approach to discipline. This means that when a student misbehaves, we hold them accountable for their actions and do not immediately resort to punitive actions like detention, suspension, or expulsion as an automatic response measure. Rather than facing an automatic or arbitrary punishment, students work to restore relationships with others and any other impacts on the school community. Restorative practices often lead the offenders to a place of dignity and a desire to do better, whereas punishment can sometimes lead to a desire to give up or act out more. You can also see a blog from our superintendent about restorative justice.