Conference and Safety: I had a couple of eye-opening moments at a conference last week. The conference was a national superintendent summit, invitation only, and there were a variety of topics for us to talk about. I helped to present the topic of communicating with staff, community, and students, as well as receiving feedback, and using that feedback.
With the regularity of active shooter situations and mass shootings happening today, one of the other topics was school safety. I spoke to several different superintendents about how they are approaching school safety. Interestingly, approaches were all over the board. I spoke with some who were just hearing about the slogan "if you see something, say something" and to the superintendent of Newtown Public Schools (Sandy Hook Elementary) who has experience with every security product and protocol available. I also spoke to superintendents who arm teachers because the nearest law enforcement needs to be flown in by helicopter and is 40 minutes away; and to superintendents who will not support anyone armed in schools, including School Resource Officers.
I am comfortable with where we are right now after taking it all in. We have the input from our forums, the guidance of the Onondaga County School Safety Task Force (I was a committee leader), excellent training for our staff, a great partnership with our local law enforcement, armed School Resource Officers, consistent drills for our students, an anonymous tip line, a way to take attendance in an emergency, and a capital project that will harden our entrances and upgrade our locks and cameras. Best practices in the area of safety are always changing, and we will stay on top of that.
We had a great West Side Support Network Meeting last week and are beginning to plan some events related to substance use disorder and mental wellness in our community; so stay tuned for that. The major topics will be NARCAN training, mental health awareness, substance use disorder programming, support groups, and working with other organizations to support people in poverty in our area.
Halloween Carnival: Speaking of events, if you are looking for a really cool, safe place to take your kids for some Halloween fun, look no further than the West Genesee High School Halloween Carnival today from 4:00-7:00 p.m. in the upper gym of the high school. If you have attended before, you will notice it has gotten so big that they had to move it to a bigger space. There are all kinds of fun things to do for elementary students.
The event is sponsored by the high school chapter of our Positivity Project, and admission is free; but bringing a canned good or non-perishable food item would be appreciated. We will keep some of the food on hand for our students who need it and donate the rest to our local food pantry. If you are there early, I will see you before I head to Buffalo for my first Monday Night Football Game.
Thanks and enjoy the week!