March 2018 Safety Message

Safety Update for NKSD

March 29, 2018


Dear NKSD Community,

I remember exactly where I was when the news about Columbine High School reached me on April 20, 1999 – I had just finished teaching my fourth period class when I came across a group of colleagues watching the tragedy unfold on the television in our staff room. That day forever changed the definition of "school safety" -  to include responding to potential active threats on campus in addition to being prepared for natural disasters.

I know that recent events have resurfaced concerns and questions about student safety at school. In the North Kitsap School District, student safety is a top priority. Over the past several months, we have taken intentional steps to improve our safety measures, and we have an action plan for both the short and long term to continue our work to ensure we can quickly and appropriately respond to an active threat or a natural disaster.

We currently have several safety and security measures in place, including social-emotional supports for students, protocols developed in partnership with law enforcement, and a practice of monthly drills at all campuses. In planning for the Capital Levy last summer, we intentionally included safety and security upgrades, and those upgrades will come online in the coming months. In short, NKSD has been focused on school security all along, and we will remain focused on the safety of our students moving forward. (View details of items in place or underway.)

Recent events have led us to accelerate our timeline to implement parts of our safety and security plan. Following spring break, some security-related changes will be implemented in all NKSD schools starting on April 9th. While we have always asked visitors to sign in, we will be requiring all adults to wear a badge while on campus. Please remember to sign in at the main office of your student's school when visiting, and please wear the provided visitor badge while you're inside the school. We are instituting door locking procedures at all schools and we are engaging all faculty and staff in ALICE training (ALICE is a nationally recognized response protocol for active intruder threats), among other changes. (View details of items to implemented April 9.)

As we move into the autumn months, additional measures will be implemented. We will begin using a new visitor registration system, we will implement a video/doorbell access system for all elementary schools, and we will be upgrading and replenishing our disaster preparedness supplies district-wide. We are also actively pursuing the potential for a Kitsap Sheriff to serve as an Student Resource Officer (SRO) for our Kingston area schools, augmenting the service provided by our current Poulsbo PD SRO. (View measures to be implemented by end of 2018.)

Thanks to the support of our community, our Capital Levy will allow us to make great strides in our efforts to secure all of our schools. We'll be migrating to a key-card door access system district-wide starting in 2019. This system will give us "one touch" lockdown and unlock capability, it will allow us to program doors to lock and unlock as needed, and it will let us immediately deprogram key-cards that go missing. The Capital Levy will also let us greatly improve video surveillance of our schools, as well as beginning the construction of "secure lobbies" in our elementary schools, among other important safety-related improvements. (View longer term solutions.)

While I acknowledge that we still have work to do, please know that the safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and we strive to provide a safe and supportive learning environment in all of our schools each and every day. The team in NKSD is working diligently to improve both our procedures and our preparedness to keep our students safe. Thank you for your support.

In Partnership,

Dr. Laurynn Evans 


Safety Update Details

Underway

Already in place or actively underway in NKSD:

  • Safety Assessment for all sites – A comprehensive safety audit was completed in 2015. Results are being included in our analysis for capital projects that will be funded by the levy collection (which starts in 2019) and beyond. The NKSD leadership team and the NKSD Safety Committee are analyzing the assessment/audit results and crafting an implementation plan. 
  • ALICE training – An introduction to the ALICE protocol/response for safety was provided last fall to all NKSD faculty. All staff (including para-educators, bus drivers, maintenance personnel, etc) will participate in an ALICE training module this spring. We already sent NKSD personnel to ALICE training last year, and we are sending a cadre of 18 staff to a "train the trainer" seminar in May. ALICE is a nationally recognized response for active threat situations in schools, and is being implemented by many school districts, including several districts in our area.
  • Social-emotional wellness – PBIS (a nationally recognized system of interventions for student behavior and social/emotional wellness) was implemented across the district over the past two years. NKSD is providing ongoing staff/faculty training on the importance of social emotional learning and wellness for students and adults in our school community, including trauma informed and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) informed instructional practices. Furthermore, our elementary schools are implementing the Second Step curriculum, which addresses a range of wellness and interpersonal relationship issues.
  • AED installation – New, updated AEDs have been slated for installation on all sites and that installation will be complete by the close of the current school year. Secondary campuses already have multiple AEDs on site.
  • Additional social-emotional support for students – We partner with Kitsap Mental Health and our Olympic ESD to provide wrap-around support services for our students, as well as to obtain assistance with threat assessments when we have students in crisis.
  • Intentional, proactive coordination and partnership with first responders – We have annual meetings with all of our first responder partners to clarify processes, communications and protocols, as well as to find areas to partner for training and preparedness. We maintain open lines of communication with our law enforcement partners.
  • School mapping – All first responders have detailed maps of our buildings to help facilitate their entry in case of emergency, including locations of all points of ingress/egress. Detailed school maps are also annually updated in Rapid Responder.
  • Monthly drills - All campuses conduct monthly drills for safety and disaster preparedness. 

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April 9

Starting April 9th, 2018
:

  • Badge requirement - All NKSD employees will be required to wear their NKSD issued identification at all times on all campuses. This expectation had been in place, but it has now been strongly reinforced as an expectation and requirement for all employees.
  • Locking non-essential doors - Elementary schools will begin locking all non-essential exterior doors around their campuses, and greater vigilance will be focused on the main entries of school buildings. Updated visitor entry procedures will be communicated by each building principal prior to spring break and those procedures will be in place upon our return from spring break. Secondary schools will be locking all non-essential doors during school hours, and they will begin locking exterior doors 30 minutes after the school day ends (with an exception for areas hosting sports or after-school events).
  • Visitor vigilance - Staff will have increased vigilance for all school visitors at all school sites during school hours and staff have been instructed to actively redirect any/all persons without appropriate badging to the front office. All schools have signage directing/requiring visitors to sign in at the front office. All visitors must have a badge demarking them as a registered visitor. If you are visiting a school and do not have identification showing your visitor status, you will be considered an intruder on campus.
  • Sheriff drop-ins - Kitsap County Sheriff's Office will begin random drop-ins at campuses, including walking around school hallways and common areas, and parking squad cars in prominent locations. This is part of a county wide initiative to increase visibility in schools by the Sheriff's office.
  • Visitor registration system - Two campuses will be selected to pilot an enhanced visitor registration system called Raptor, which provides on-the-spot background check information and produces a visitor's badge with a photo for all visitors. 

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Close of 2018

By the close of 2018:

  • Enhanced preparedness training – all staff will be re-trained on responses to various emergencies (including active shooter and natural emergencies) prior to the first day of school for the 2018-2019 school year. All schools will conduct practice ALICE response trainings during the school day in the fall months.
  • Updated and improved guidance for faculty/staff – All areas of all campuses will have an updated "how to" quick guide posted in the room that references our NKSD procedures for all emergency situations.
  • Social Work / Interventionists at all secondary schools – Starting in the fall, specially trained faculty will be on site at all secondary schools to focus on social emotional wellness of at-risk students. 
  • Supplies – All NKSD sites will be appropriately supplied with emergency materials for natural disasters (supply backpacks for all classrooms, CONEX boxes with food/water for all sites, flashlights, etc). Supplemental devices to secure classroom doors against intrusion will also be put in place.
  • Raptor visitor registration – All NKSD sites will be outfitted with an electronic identity checking system. This system will require visitors to present valid ID and engage in a brief on-the-spot background check before being issued a mandatory visitor badge with photo ID. 
  • Elementary school ingress/egress changes – Elementary school doors, including front doors, will be locked during the academic day for student safety. A doorbell/video system will be installed at all elementary schools. Specific procedures for parent/visitor entry in light of these changes will be shared by each school prior to their system being installed.

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Long Term

Longer term solutions coming as part of the recently passed Capital Levy (collection begins in 2019):

  • Keyless electronic door access system district wide - An electronic keyless system enhances security in a variety of ways, including the ability to deprogram access for a card or fob if/when it is lost. Doors can be pre-programmed to lock and unlock. These systems also provide "one touch" lockdown and unlock capability in event of emergencies.
  • Construction of secure entrances for elementary schools – We will begin work to install "secure lobbies" at all elementary schools starting this summer. Gordon and Vinland will be secured first, with the other four elementary schools being addressed as soon as possible.
  • Increased/improved video monitoring - with enhancements to our fiberoptic network, we will be able to migrate to state-of-the-art HD video monitoring at our secondary campuses, including interior hallway video, as well as greater coverage for exterior monitoring. In talking with first responders, these new systems are also able to be accessed by them for real-time emergency management when/if needed.
  • Improved lighting for campuses across the district.  
  • Investigate enclosures for secondary campuses that enhance protection and reliability while maintaining aesthetic appeal. While school modernization and major construction would need additional funding beyond what the Capital Levy will provide, we will investigate ways to provide enhanced security whenever possible with our current project list. 

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