SEATTLE - People who work in schools, local government and after-school programs in 21 states are in Seattle today for what is called the "Bridge Conference" - bridging the gap between what kids do inside and outside of the classroom. More than 600 people are attending workshops that range from boosting kids' science and math skills, to improving summer learning and meal programs, to fighting racism and bullying.
Conference organizer Zach Wilson with School's Out Washington says the event reinforces the supports and services for kids outside of school that will help them succeed in life.
"This is a conference that has always looked at a broader understanding of what youth need, beyond the academics. If there were stronger communications across the folks in and out of school, as well as with the youth, we could start looking at some of the really tough issues."
Heather Carter, "Out Loud" program manager with the Youth Suicide Prevention Program, is among the presenters. She says her focus will be on how to prevent bullying with the help of two new anti-bullying laws in Washington.
"They have new policies and procedures that all our public schools are supposed to be following. It's about how can we empower you in your role to recognize bullying, to have the skills to intervene appropriately, and to recognize when you need to intervene."
About 40 teenagers are also part of the Bridge Conference, which runs through Tuesday evening. Registration is closed for this year, but it is an annual event. The conference is at the Sheraton Hotel, 1400 Sixth Ave., Seattle.