Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Safety First

Safety is something the school district takes very seriously. There have been many changes instituted over the past few years to try to ensure student safety; and the work continues. I am on the Superintendent's Safety Committee and we are continually assessing our safety plans, equipment and technologies to improve our preparedness and response capabilities. Sometimes our steps may seem like a small inconvenience but when it comes to the safety of our children, we never want to cut corners.

Some recent events made me start thinking about the important roles our families play in our overall safety plans. In fact, in many cases, parents are the most important part of keeping children safe on a daily basis. I'm not talking about a major tragic event but the day to day operation of our schools. Every year, parents need to complete their Online Emergency Card to access their classroom assignment and class list. This Online Emergency Card tells us how to contact you in case of an emergency. It also lists other emergency contacts in case you are not available. This document also communicates with our Blackboard Connect system which we use to notify you of weather related cancellations or district emergencies. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to actually update this information. Emergency contacts are left blank and phone numbers and email addresses are not updated when they are changed. This makes it impossible for us to contact you in case of an emergency or illness. We need accurate information; please make sure your information is up to date.

We know life is hard with busy families and work schedules. We try to offer child care for families so that they can get to work and know their children are safe. Unless your child is in extended day, they should not arrive to school before 9:05. The school cannot be considered a 20 - 30 minute free child care option which is increasingly becoming the case. Staff is not available to supervise children until 9:05. If you need to drop your child off before 9:05, you must sign up for extended day.

As I mentioned the Online Emergency Card provides the information for our Blackboard Connect system so we can notify you of school closings, delays or emergencies. This Tuesday, we had numerous children delivered to school at the regular time when there was a two hour delay. Parents must make sure they are receiving notifications and adhere to whatever changes are made. If there is a two hour delay, students cannot arrive to school until 11:05. If the parking lot is empty, do not leave your child; find out what is going on. This sounds blunt, I know, but I cannot think of a more unsafe situation than a child left at school when no one is there to receive him/her.

Our parking lot is a bit tight right now with the snow and if we get a big storm it will be even tighter. A great majority of you all do a fantastic job of following safety guidelines and we really appreciate it. Please remember, when the bus has its red lights flashing, you cannot pass it. Also, remember to sign in at the office anytime you enter the school. We want to make sure all visitors receive a visitor's sticker. If you don;t have one, you'll get sent back to the office to get one.

Safety is a partnership. We will continue to do everything we can to prepare for and prevent a tragedy. We will also continue to adjust our practice to ensure no little problems catch us unprepared. Finally, we look forward to a continued partnership with all of our parents to provide the warmest, safest learning environment possible.