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KSD Board Approves Independent Assessment by Encompass Resolution

In light of the recent allegations brought forward on the KHS Alumni Facebook page as well as reports received by our human resources department, a request for proposals (RFP) was posted on July 14, 2020, to seek an outside organization to conduct an independent assessment and investigation of school culture and climate-related to the reporting and handling of allegations for sexual abuse, misconduct, and inappropriate behavior. Six proposals were received with three meeting the qualifications of the RFP.

On August 31, 2020, the Kirkwood School Board of Education approved the recommendation of Encompass Resolution, LLC, woman-owned business established in 2007 and based out of Kansas City, Missouri. The estimated cost of the independent assessment is $75,000. The investigation is estimated to be completed with a final report by the end of December 2020.

“At Kirkwood Schools, the safety of our students is our highest priority. We are committed to this independent process. Encompass Resolution has a proven track record in these types of investigations. They will be working with the Kirkwood School Community and are familiar with trauma-informed interview approaches. They have years of experience in conducting relevant investigations in public school districts,” said Dr. David Ulrich, superintendent of schools.

The Process of Selection
District cabinet members, directors, principals, assistant principals, and other administrators were surveyed to establish the qualities, skills, and experiences most important for an independent assessment and investigation. The results of this survey were used to assess each of the three organizations that were interviewed.

The interview panel consisted of two Kirkwood High School seniors, a parent and licensed counselor, a child advocate, a lawyer with relevant experience in these matters, superintendent, assistant superintendent, and director of safety and security for the Kirkwood School District. The group consisted of five females and three males.  

Goals of the Independent Assessment Project
The overarching goals of this project are to identify and investigate whether there have been previously unreported incidents or failures to take prompt and appropriate action in response to complaints, whether students, staff, and parents have confidence in reporting and know to whom and how they may do so; whether there has been appropriate follow-through in terms of consequences and supports when complaints are substantiated, and then, equally important, to identify, conduct training on, and help implement strategies to promote a positive school climate and culture.