KEEPING OUR SCHOOL SAFE

Dear Memorial-Spaulding Families:

I am writing to provide you with information concerning various aspects of our emergency procedures and general safety procedures at school. You should know that we have worked diligently to develop comprehensive safety plans system-wide.

Our school practices a series of emergency drills over the school year. These include fire/evacuations and lockdown drills. Practice of these drills is not meant to scare children; rather, the intent is for all drills to become part of our normal learned routines such as Fire Drills currently are. Please note that we have and will continue to take numerous steps to train our staff and students as to how to proceed in a variety of situations. For example, each school has a Safety Team, which is trained to go into action when a drill or situation occurs. Radios and cell phones assist with communication, and all staff members posses Emergency Folders to assist with accountability. We communicate regularly with local emergency personnel on improvement of our procedures.

Fire Drills & Evacuation

  1. In the event that we should need to be evacuated from the building (for example, a gas leak or weather related incident), students would be dismissed as per their learned Fire Drill routine, and escorted out to their designated areas. An email would be sent home informing parents about the event if necessary.
  2. If a situation arises where students must be evacuated from the entire school area, school staff would escort them to a safe location and all families would be contacted. Please do not try to pick up your children from the school or while they are in progress to the safe location.

Shelter-in-Place/Lockdown

  1. In the event that a circumstance outside is cause for our school to be secured (for example, a potentially dangerous individual in the area, a severe storm, etc.), we would go into either Shelter-in-Place or Lockdown. Shelter-in-Place means locking all outside doors and windows. Students and staff are free to move within the interior of the building only. The next level of security is Lockdown, which is when each classroom secures their students in an area of the room away from doorways and windows, dims the lights, and engages in a quiet group activity until the principal or designee informs them to end Lockdown and resume normal activities.

In emergency situations described above, we ask that you please DO NOT come to school.

General Comments

            Regarding televised news events, remember that children are very strongly influenced by television and by conversations between adults. While it is important for you to share information that will help children process their thoughts and feelings, please remember that the children will reflect your reactions. Fear and anxiety are normal, but contagious.

How can YOU help?

            In order to assist with our safety procedures, please be sure you have updated parent connect the most current contact information including home, work, cell and email. It is also important that your emergency contact information list adults with whom your child may leave school should we not be able to contact you during a situation.

General Safety in the School

1.  All doors are locked at all times during the day and there is a bell/buzz-in system. Please check in at the office, sign in  and remember to wear a visitor’s badge when you come in to visit or volunteer, so that we all know that you have checked in with the office upon arrival and are a safe adult in our school.

2.  Volunteer to help in your child’s classroom or in other capacities in the school. Please remember you must be CORIed before you can volunteer for any school related activity.

3.  Please cooperate with drop-off and pick-up procedures that we have been working so hard together to assess and improve. Thanks to those of you who have contributed suggestions and feedback. We will continue to assess drop-off and pick-up and communicate with you regarding these procedures.

4. Emphasize appropriate school and bus behavior with your children. Teach your children that it is not ok to be teased or physically hurt at school or on the bus, to say “STOP, THAT HURTS” and to report any incidents to an adult.

5.  Join with the school in celebrating children’s contributions to the school community, acts of kindness, and achievements. We can build a positive, safe environment by catching our students doing the right thing!

Most importantly, we all need to understand how important it is to maintain a sense of safety and security in schools through our caring for one another. With everyone’s cooperation and participation in regards to the above, we can be confident that our school is a safe place. Thank you for your attention to this letter.

Do not hesitate to contact me in writing or by email at lisa_mcmanus@newton.k12.ma.us if you have any further questions.

Lisa McManus

Principal