Thursday, December 17, 2015

School safety and security assessment report

Good Harbor Techmark presenting their report
(they have a PowerPoint; the report they gave us is here)

"had a very broad scope"
bus and parent dropoff to physical security and a lot of other things
"bit of a compressed timeline"
interviewed as many people as we could
"all hazards approach"
stakeholder engagement, site assessments, security risk and vulnerability, presentations, assessment tool

What did we find?
"we heard, saw, and really got the perception that there was a lot of dire need...but we can tell you and we want to make it clear, we found some amazing things on school security"
"parents, teachers, folks felt very, very safe within the schools"
specific areas to outline sustainment (things that are good)
unify efforts and make things comprehensive going forward
security liaison at North (this is the Lead Teacher for School Safety and Accountability) good
"we actually like" school police liaisons, recognize that some gaps were created, "really making an effort to learn the kids, be a part of the kids"
"some solid foundations that are put into place in terms of emergency plans"
medical: not only nurses in each of the schools, but also devices (AED): very commendable in terms of the flu shots
additionally, staff tenure: "a lot of stability in a lot of the schools" include WPS alumni
engagement of students to take ownership of problems, keep students involved positively
bus cameras and GIS capabilities
resources within the city: network of EMS
nutrition: provision with meals to students: "creates safe environments and doesn't allow kids to be embarrassed"

Always opportunity to improve
"what does it mean to be a safe school?" Recommend safety definition be expanded beyond physical security
'we think there's a very big need and an opportunity for more community involvement and more community responsibility"
Recommend an emergency preparatedness role: think long term will result in cost savings due to responsibilities spread across district
Recommend broadening police officer: "see more throughout the district"
"not necessarily one in every school, but" close in geography
budgets need to follow: devices are technological, need to move to IT
security budget "is very very broad, very all encompassing" think it needs to be better defined
opportunities to expand beyond the traditional lockdown: ALICE
district "in a lot of cases going above and beyond state standards" could consolidate standards
designate and enforce school zones: increased traffic and parking enforcement, (most problems resulted because of people illegally parked), signage, random police patrols
proactive rather than reactive communications (and positive rather than negative) "perception in a lot of cases is becoming reality"
"take advantage of social media"
"we found that the concerns of students is not within the schools; the concerns of parents are not within the schools"
"it's when they leave the schools"

Questions and comments from Committee
Petty: thanks for report
"was a little concerned about how it would come back"
"I thought this report was excellent"
"most of how you define safety in the schools...behavioral...cultural and climate change"
"I thought it was a wonderful report in that regard"
committee that's going to look at this
"all the good things that we've done...that we have a safe school system, that kids want to come to the schools"
"got a good response"
"goes a long way...should be stated that we've done a good a better job of communicating that"
"election is over...did you ever hear it again?"
"a lot of it is money...could take some time"
"like your idea of the resource officer when you expand that role...not from a police perspective, but from a community perspective"
"Worcester Public Schools in some instances right now are exceeding best practices right now"

Monfredo: did a fine job, gave us a lot to think about as we move forward
"no silver bullet when it comes to protecting our schools"
"what we do have is safe schools, but we could certainly make improvements"
"I'd like to see this report be sent to our principals and liaison officers" to see what areas we need to make improvements on
report coming into Finance and Operations in early February with report out to full committe on February 25
"personally I don't think we need an additional safety administrator"
expanding after school programs is a good one; looking for additional mentors
use of resource officers has been a positive one "I don't feel there's a need to expand beyond what we currently have"

Foley: echoing your comments, "as soon as election was over, the safety issue went away"
"real clear message that you took away...they feel safe in the schools; they're safe havens"
"liked a number of suggestions here in terms of physical plant"
"telling in the report to how quickly you turned from internal external threats"
how does any district protect their children against the kinds of threats that are out there?
"a real balancing act for us"

O'Connell: throught report would be more limited
areas my colleagues had addressed, really grow out of programmatic areas
students interested in school and are benefiting from school "schools will be safer"
incidents "less likely to take place"
important for us to parse out...needs to be addressed in terms of the programmatics we need even 'as we don't necessarily think of them in terms of school safety"
after, before school programs...give students best opportunities in life
"proceed, yes, on one direct track"
"crucial when we start a plan...proceed on a parallel track as well" of keeping kids in school
"we know these work, and we know they're crucial"
"have set the stage for us in a very clear way"
Biancheria had asked for a report back on Feb 25; F&O to receive recommendations from safety/security committee put together by administration
multi-year initiative: embed in our budget

Ramirez: do believe that this is a great report "very thorough"
had a lot of hearings here "there was a sense of disaster"
hope that School Committee takes away from the report that you have to talk to the people most effected by them
"walk away from here knowing that you've done that"
"common sense things involving the community"
many recommendations wonder where the money would come from
"to hear your recommendations that we're doing due diligance in the city"

Biancheria: spent the last time saying that it may have changed on the Council side on safety, but it hasn't changed on the School Committee side
"think that's a very positive piece"
"hashed out what needed to be hashed out"
have some questions in reference to the report
mentioned millions of dollars: how much money have we had through grants that prioritized safety?
Rodrigues: we spend yearly $1.5 million in school safety
with 50 buildings, a greater challenge
"in terms of the recommendations of the report...there are some that don't cost any money"
training, professional development
$5M price tag interacts with a large number of items
part of the advisory committee is looking at what can be done in short term
"going to be a multiyear sort of process"
some preliminary thinking in what sort of dirction we should take
Biancheria: what would you say has been spent in grant money?
Rodrigues: whenever there's a grant we apply for it, most of the work has been funded by MSBA lately
most of the money spent on safety is not grant money
Biancheria: training for principals and staff who is giving it?
Rodrigues: training for clerical staff that open the doors to the building, for example
processes and procedures we have in place that can be implemented with fidelity
everything is cataloged through the professional developement office
Good Harbor Techmark: saw various training throughout the district
"a lot of various training going on schoolwide, districtwide, citywide"
Biancheria: who is primary contact to police?
Rodrigues: Pezzella
Biancheria: asks that committee would look at look at training our staff, would like to think that somewhere that there would be some grant money that we could use
would like to see replacement of support in safety office
"make a request that they rethink how this department is presently"
"as these gentlemen have stated that our schools are safe"
Rodrigues: tomorrow meeting on it

I'll try to recreate what I said at some point. Essentially, I pointed out that school safety is actually about staffing, not equipment.

No comments: