As a former Special Education administrator of a K-12 school district, I know that funding is often an obstacle for a district’s plans and goals. I also understand the challenge of determining how best to use funds once they are available to benefit students, staff, and community.
Many of you may be in this situation concerning the 2020 Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) School Safety Grants. You want to improve the safety of your students and staff, but the multitude of options and funding guidelines create real pressures on everyone involved in the decision. I know that over these past few weeks, your focus has been on the transition to online learning and creating programs to care for your students in the current pandemic. However, as you look forward to students returning to the classroom, preparing for that event may include determining how this grant can improve safety and security measures for your schools.
As my colleague Derek Roh has written recently, a school safety plan includes three layers: Prevention, Protection, and Response. In recent years, districts have spent billions of dollars nationwide implementing modern technology to bolster their preventive and protective measures. Anonymous tip and social media monitoring applications deployed; additional mental health and security personnel hired, and staff trained to identify behaviors of bullied students or those who might be involved in violent episodes. These are all valuable preventive measures. Key protective measures such as fencing, access control, and even vestibules have increased in use in the last decade with a focus on keeping danger out. But no matter what you do to prevent and protect, we all know emergencies still happen. Another safety consideration in the coming months will be an increase in medical episodes in schools. The critical question becomes how quickly and easily can everyone impacted respond when these emergencies occur.
“Time equals life.” Or, as we say at CENTEGIX, “Every. Second.Matters.” Your notification solution must stand up to real-life scenarios. No one wants to only “check the box” with their emergency notification solution.
Thankfully, technologies are available that save significant time in any school emergencies. You can empower every employee to quickly and easily request help from anywhere on campus via a wearable device. In upcoming articles, I will share additional information for you to consider and questions to ask regarding your emergency notification capabilities in the Response layer of your security plan.
In the meantime, you can reach me at email@example.com. I welcome your feedback and would love to answer any questions you may have.
Ardena White worked in Special Education as a secondary teacher and administrator for over five years in the Detroit area. She has nearly two decades of experience serving educators across the country by connecting them with technology solutions that enhance the learning environment. Ardena joined CENTEGIX in 2019 to help educators leading-edge technology to improve safety in K-12 schools.