January 20, 2016

New Rounds of Safety Upgrades

All of us at Friends’ continue to place the highest importance on the safety of our people and campus.  We continue to pay attention to safety issues and invest broadly and deeply in safety updates. While it’s unfortunate that we have to take these measures, this is the reality of the country we live in and our foremost goal is always the safety of our students.

Over winter break, we began the installation of our new security system and protocols. This latest round of upgrades is happening in three stages.

Stage One: we have installed a special window film that will provide added protection in the unlikely event that a window is breached. This Safety and Security Window Film with attachment system by 3M was placed on the windows at the main elementary entrance and at the entrance to the playground. It was also installed on the kitchen windows as well as all interior classroom and bathroom windows in the elementary school. In the preschool it was installed on both the entrance and the exit doors and all south facing windows of that building, except for the west classroom’s south facing windows. The purpose is not to have this on every window, but on those that would be the most likely entry points for an intruder.

In addition, as part of Stage One, we worked with Trident Security to install new interior door locks throughout the inside of the elementary building. While the new locks allow for free access into the classrooms during normal business hours, in the event of an emergency they will automatically lockdown our classrooms and other rooms in the elementary building so that no one can enter the rooms from the hallway (the doors are always unlocked from the inside for fire code). This lockdown can be triggered at a moment’s notice from many locations within the school. 911 is immediately and automatically called when this lockdown occurs. Trident has worked with SVSD and other schools installing security systems and our entire staff has been trained on the new system.

Stage Two: In the coming weeks, we will install this same lock system in the preschool building.  Before we can accomplish that, the sliding and all glass doors in the preschool must be replaced. This will happen before the summer.

Stage Three: Over the summer, the school will invest in a new notification system, similar to the big school districts, so that, in the event of an emergency, parents will be immediately notified via text, email, voice call or whichever form of communication you select.

In addition to all of these physical improvements to our campus, in the last couple of weeks, Meg Hansen and Mandy Stepanovsky lead our staff through two essential ALiCE refresher training courses, as well as a specific training for those staff who were unable to attend the original training in August.  All staff is trained in the ALiCE safety training protocol.

Mandy and Meg will be conducting a training and information session for parents at a special parent event on February 1 at 8:30 a.m.  Free child care will be provided. If you are interested in learning more about all the steps that Friends’ School takes to keep our students and staff as safe as possible, please plan on coming.  Parents in attendance will receive a shortened version of the ALiCE safety training that our staff have received and also learn more about parent expectations and how parents are notified in the event of a safety situation.

Last week, I, along with my leadership team, met with three Boulder PD police officers.  We set up this meeting to learn more about the police response to the armed robbery that took place in the neighborhood in December, as well as to take the opportunity to meet our newly assigned School Resource Officer (SRO). We met with Sgt. Doyle Thomas, outgoing SRO Ed Quayle, and incoming SRO Jeremy McGee. Officer McGee will be touring our premises and learning the layout of the school in the coming weeks. We plan to have the police come to visit with the kids for a gathering this semester and talk to them about safety.

Additionally, we have requested that Officer McGee visit the school and conduct routine walk-throughs of the campus on a monthly basis. The officers were impressed with both our safety updates and our Emergency Crisis plans, and they informed us that we were advanced with the system we installed and the training we’ve conducted. We believe a new, however part-time, police presence in and familiarity with our community will be an added benefit to the safety of our school.

For more information about the safety measures that the school has in place, please see my blog entry from September 2014 Committed to Safety and from December 2015 The Blog I Shouldn’t Have to Write.

I believe parents will derive huge value from attending our parent meeting on safety on Monday February 1st at 8:30.  Please plan on being there if you can.

Thank you for continuing to entrust our amazing staff with your children. 

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