I wanted to keep you abreast of all the measures that Poway Unified has taken since we held our Districtwide safety forum in March. We have been proactively working to keep our schools safe so that our students can continue to thrive and learn.
Each of our schools held their own site focused safety forums to answer questions and address concerns. All sites also reviewed practices and procedures related to their Site Specific Emergency Operations Manuals. In addition to the work principals have conducted on their respective campuses, the following are additional measures we have taken to help improve the safety and security of our schools:
Security & Safety Assessment
At its May 10th
meeting, the Board of Education approved the contract with Guidepost Solutions
to conduct a full facility and safety assessment for every District facility and school campus. This work will occur through June 2018. Their final report will be presented at a subsequent board meeting.
Over the past months, District staff has walked school sites to evaluate current video security systems, met with site administrators to discuss current and future needs, and made recommendations for upgrades and improvements. Moving forward, at the June 5th
board meeting, a recommendation will be brought forward to award a contract for the upgrading and installation of security cameras at various secondary school sites. The District has also applied for grants to provide security camera equipment in additional locations as needed.
Emergency Preparedness & Options based response training
Annually scheduled emergency drills continue to be held at all sites, and each of our campuses have completed their drill requirements as of the end of April. As we transition to an Options Based Response protocol (“Run, Hide, Fight”), we will strengthen our lockdown procedures with the inclusion of “Barricade” and “Respond.” We have also continued to work with our site level staff in building awareness of the possible response options, while we maintain our collaborative efforts with the San Diego County Office of Education to develop appropriate student/staff level trainings for the 2018-2019 school year.
Increased campus supervision and security
Our law enforcement partners have increased patrols and presence at our schools. In addition, our schools have made adjustments to restrict campus access to supervised points of entry. There is also a recommendation to increase campus supervisors at middle schools, which is being addressed in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and budget, which will be brought forward at the June 5th
School Safety Tipline
In partnership with the cities of Poway and San Diego as well as local law enforcement, a new PUSD schools tipline (844-PUSD-TIP) is now in place, which is monitored 24-7 by law enforcement. We encourage all of our students, staff, and families: if you see something, say something
. As was stated in our Districtwide safety forum: 93% of all school shooters across the U.S. told someone what they planned to do. With the start of the 2018-19 school year, we will roll out a “See Something, Say Something” awareness campaign among all of our students. The District will also be receiving training to establish a Threat Assessment Team to follow up and respond to tips.
As part of our commitment to student wellness, the District will also increase the number of school counselors for 2018-19, which will be included in the LCAP for Board approval in June. The District will be partnering with Sandy Hook Promise to incorporate their best practices in training our students and improving school climates. In addition, several of our secondary sites have participated in professional learning on recognizing the signs of suicide, and all school counselors have reviewed the district’s updated suicide intervention protocols that were developed by PUSD counselors and psychologists. All site counselors and Student Support Specialists have been trained in TIPS (Trauma Informed Practices). Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year the District will have a new Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services who will lead district efforts in student safety and wellness.
District Safety Committee
Starting Fall 2018, PUSD will establish a Poway Unified Safety Committee to include all stakeholder groups, who will help to ensure we have safer schools by developing a plan for districtwide safety. If you are interested in joining the committee, please apply here at our online Districtwide Safety Committee Interest Form
by June 30, 2018. You can also find a link on our www.powayusd.com
homepage. Committee members will be notified of their selection in August.
I wanted to thank all of the families and staff who have reached out to me and our Board Members to share ideas and express concerns. Safety is and will continue to be of the utmost priority for PUSD as we work together to keep our learning and working environments as safe as possible.
Marian Kim-Phelps, Ed.D., Superintendent