of the most significant steps you can take when it comes to implementing
initiatives and reaching organizational goals such as School Safety, is growing
and maintaining healthy, active relationships. Districts find that executing a
vision can be more seamless and successful when trusting, transparent organizational
and community relationships are in place. Yet, this step is often circumvented due
to time constraints and planning logistics. No doubt a grass-roots community building
takes time and effort. But it is critical to obtain the support and commitment
needed to successfully carry out your School Safety vision over a multi-year
period. The more people who understand what you are trying to do and how
students will likely be impacted by it, the greater commitment and support your
stakeholders will demonstrate.
building starts with regularly connecting to your constituents about the
district’s School Safety vision, aligned initiatives and goals with your local
partners, community members, parents, building administrators, teachers and
students. Depending on how far along you are in the process, you might be
interested in forming a steering committee representing multiple perspectives
to create a shared vision. Wherever you are, consider regularly asking for
feedback and provide open, transparent communication pathways. This feedback cycle
will assist you in developing the next phase of the initiative.
Pinpoint digital and face to face opportunities that offer synchronous and asynchronous communication.
will notice a domino effect occurs when positive relationships are in place.
Buy-in from multiple entities maximizes visibility of School
Visibility increases accountability
Accountability increases the likelihood of success in terms
of improved student well-being and safety
Positive student outcomes demonstrate a Return on Investment
when it comes to the digital solutions and programs adopted by the organization
is not likely that stakeholders and board members will protest about investing
in School Safety and making it a top priority for your organization. But what may
happen is that something gets lost in the translation of School Safety. It extends
beyond physical campus security. That’s where using standard visuals, description
and definitions comes into play. Regardless of who is facilitating or
contributing to a School Safety conversation, developing a common language
across the board ensures that everyone hears the same message. This simple but
intentional act will dramatically elevate misunderstandings and confusion while
talking about how the district intends to secure the safety and well-being of its
students and staff.
the activities and outcomes will vary- the vision is driving everyday Safety in
Schools. Specific examples of implementing your vision effectively include the
Align training and
professional development activities to the vision outcomes within schools as
well as district sponsored training and PD.
Request that all
building administration include the School Safety vision and goals within their
school improvement plans by integrating it into existing priorities and
and classes in action that represent vision outcomes through video and audio
recordings that are shared out via social media and website.
two-three recommendations you can start integrating into your existing
processes and activities. Impactful, committed community building can be so
powerful and rewarding for all parties involved. Inclusiveness and trust draw
people in and keep them coming back for more.
If you haven’t already, consider joining the Safer Schools in America
Impact Initiative as a next step. As a part of the program, schools qualify
for grants that fund between 2 and 5 pre-integrated innovative safety EdTech
solutions from over 25 global providers to be deployed and measured at no cost
to the schools for a minimum of three-year program term.
school culture have to do with integrating technology into teaching and
learning? How does this foundation lend itself to school safety? School safety
relies on a myriad of systems and technology to ensure that all the aspects of
school safety are communicating and working together as a symbiotic unit.
However, if the fundamental systems, practices and mindset aren’t in place to
support and sustain a school safety ecosystem, it’s wasted time and resources.
It’s worth the due diligence to assess your current culture, leadership and
technology ecosystem if school safety is an urgent priority. Reputable digital
solutions such as FilterED can help
you with this task. So before diving into piloting and adopting school safety
solutions, zoom out and look at the big picture.
Phillips (1996) defines school culture as, “The beliefs, attitudes, and
behaviors which characterize a school.” Dr. Christopher Wagner (2006) adds:
Shared experiences both in and out of
Agreement on how to do things and what is
Staff stability and common goals
Recognition of school stakeholders
We offer a
few easy steps to help you take a pulse on the existing school culture and
technology foundations developed in your district.
As you reflect on the district as an
organization and each school as its own entity, identify examples of how each of the actions and behaviors above are integrated into the culture. School communities are more likely to see increased positive student outcomes and safe spaces when a healthy school culture embraces trusting, transparent relationships and the purposeful use of technology.
How is technology
currently integrated into our everyday routines?
What’s our staff’s comfort level around the amount of technology we are using?
What processes, timelines, and protocols are in place for vetting and piloting digital solutions?
What does the planning, execution, management and collection of data look like around technology implementations?
Would the current actions transfer to designing, implementing
and maintaining a school safety ecosystem?
The table below is divided into possible inputs that the district and schools contribute to this side of tech support, training and PD services. Many of these practices can be extended to school safety. Identify which ones you have in place and if there are any you can add to your foundation.
School building-supported services
Teachers across multiple school buildings receive support from the district in a combination of ways.
School administration encourages and provides opportunities for staff within a building to participate in multiple activities that support staff needs while providing convenience.
District technology troubleshootingsupport
School building troubleshooting support
The district provides school personnel with a multi-tier approach to technical support that may include one or more steps:
Following a series of standard, recommended troubleshooting steps
Approaching the building technology facilitator or technology lead teacher within the building for assistance
Submitting a work order to the district help desk
Contacting a student-led help desk
If staff follow the suggested troubleshooting steps and cannot solve the problem, the individual goes to a designated colleague within the building for assistance.
District technology training
School building training
These sessions are usually held off-site (in a location other than the teacher’s assigned school building) or online. The focus is on:
Establishing a knowledge base
Building a skill set
Attaining additional practice and experience
Summer months and professional development days are popular times to offer these types of training
in a school building happens formally and informally throughout the year and
utilizes internal resources. It may include:
One-to-one time after school
Department working through new material during a team meeting
User groups where teachers can practice and share
Q and A sessions during preparation times
District professional learning
School building professional learning
sessions are usually held off-site (in a location other than the teacher’s assigned school building) or as online webinars or user groups. The focus is on:
Expanding an established knowledge base
Refining and cultivating a skill set
Synthesizing the knowledge base and skill set to integrate the best practices in teaching and pedagogical district initiatives
Offering credit for alternative professional learning – social media, virtual networking, online webinars
months and professional development days are popular time for face-to-face PD
sessions. Online opportunities offer greater flexibility and can be made
available after the school day.
development can take on many forms. Examples include:
Encouraging staff to develop
and perform action research
Inviting teachers to observe colleagues. Peer reviews provide an excellent way to see how others do things.
Offering a Professional
Learning Community (PLC) in which teachers can come together multiple times a
year to focus on the integration of technology
Encouraging staff to engage in
alternative professional learning – social media, virtual networking, online
advantage of professional development days by providing workshops, sessions
or collaborative workdays focusing on interactive digital materials and resources.
FilterED is Teaming up with Global Grid for Learning and McREL!
GreyED is an organization of nationally recognized K-12 education leaders with deep experience helping institutions transform themselves for the digital age. GreyED shines the light on district’s existing technology ecosystem, teaching and learning via our cloud-based data analysis tool, FilterED. Stakeholders take an online, adaptive inventory responding to statements that apply to their role, experiences and perceptions in six critical areas that make up a tech ecosystem. The results are presented on a dashboard that provides highly visible data that are organized, measurable and impactful. Customized profiles, bright spots, prioritized opportunities for growth, recommendations and talking points are all available at both the district and school levels. The platform also helps key players engage with one another so they may find consensus and set course toward positively increasing learner impact.
Recently, GreyED joined Global Grid for Learning and McREL’s partner program, “Safer Schools in America Impact Initiative.” This grant-based program adopted the national Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) framework found within Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
“All students should feel safe and supported as a condition for learning.”
Joining collaborative forces in this high caliber mission is just what GreyED was looking for as an extension of our ongoing work with districts. The evidence and context generated by FilterED helps school systems effectively prioritize, measure and monitor ongoing implementations. At the same time, leadership can gain insights into technology and school climate, community engagement, digital safety as well as emergency preparedness and management.
We love the thoughtful, long-term planning behind SaferSchools in America Impact Initiative’s structure. GreyED sees it as a way to level the playing field for GG4L Members, who can apply for a grant that allows three schools within a district to evaluate a handful of solutions offered by partners like us. This pilot process helps to ensure that the digital solutions are a good fit for the entire organization before substantial monetary and resource investments are made. While this process potentially staggers the planning and execution phases for the district, it is a best practice that GreyED has always embraced and recommended to both vendors and districts alike.
Over the coming months, we will feature a series that includes best practices and smart hacks in the FilterED areas that align with the Safer Schools framework. These areas include Healthy Culture, Engaged Community and Digital Safety.