Alves gets 'cultural responsive training'

POULSBO —  Poulsbo Elementary School principal Claudia Alves has received cultural training while on paid leave from her position.

The principal, whose leave is not considered disciplinary, attended two “cultural responsive training” sessions with New Phase New Ways, a consulting business based in Central Kitsap. The business is run by Central Kitsap High School teachers and couple, JD Sweet and Elizabeth Blandin.

Sweet described the meetings with Alves as “professional discussion.”

After each meeting with Alves, Superintendent Patty Page was “debriefed,” Sweet said; Assistant Superintendent Chris Willits was debriefed as well.

Alves used the N-word to explain to an 11-year-old fifth-grader how the word “Negro” was not the same; the student and others had said they weren’t comfortable using the word “Negro” in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day play.

Alves said she never used the N-word to upset the student.

“I did use that word, and that word is upsetting. I thought in the context of what we were talking about, it was all right,” Alves said in a previous interview with the Herald. She said she explained that what has been considered appropriate has changed over the years, but that word was never appropriate “no matter the period of time.”

Alves’ use of the N-word upset the student, who told his mother. The mother, Shawna Smith, called Alves, who in explaining what had happened, used the N-word again more than once.

When Alves called on another day to apologize to the family, she used the N-word again. She was placed on administrative leave Jan. 21. Veteran educator Doug Wagner is filling in as interim principal.

The district has not said when Alves may return to work.


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