School Safety Update
Dear Snoqualmie Valley families, staff, and community,
School safety remains at the forefront of our minds, as our hearts go out to students, families, and staff who are victims of violence on school campuses. We join school districts across the nation with a heightened awareness of the importance of doing everything within our power to keep our students safe.
Creating the safest environment possible on our school campuses, while at the same time maintaining accessible public education and welcoming schools, will always be a top priority. The purpose of this message is to share with the community some of the activities, systems, training, and preventative measures in place in the Snoqualmie Valley School District. All of these work in combination to provide our students a safe, supportive, and positive school experience.
Our district endeavors to sustain a comprehensive system of supports related to school safety. Our system is comprised of three major components:
- Social emotional learning and prevention
- Emergency preparedness, response and recovery
- School facility and system improvements focused on safety and security
With a focus on the whole child, efforts around social emotional development begin at the earliest grade levels. Our staff work to build connections and trusting relationships with students and families. Given the stress and pressures that students face today, counselors and psychologists help support students, and partner with community health professionals to provide families necessary support and resources. Our schools employ a multi-tiered approach – Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) – to teach social skills and behavior expectations. PBIS strategies are embedded in curriculum and reinforced consistently throughout our schools.
Further prevention efforts include training for staff, students, and parents. The District frequently brings in experts to address a variety of topics including: Anti-bullying Campaigns, Kindness, Expressing Gratitude, Cyber Safety, Suicide Prevention, Overcoming Adversity, and Active Shooter Survival.
Emergency preparedness efforts in our schools involve ensuring established safety protocols are followed and practiced, based on school safety plans that are created with input from safety experts. All of our schools conduct a variety of safety drills throughout the year with students and staff. The District works closely with local law enforcement and other emergency responders to help assess and respond to threats. We also value the on-site support of a dedicated School Resource Officer (SRO) from the Snoqualmie Police department.
One of the most effective steps in keeping a school safe is “see something, say something.” We urge everyone in our school community to report anything that seems “off.” For those who prefer to report something anonymously, Mount Si High School uses a Safe Schools Alert Tipline that accommodates phone/text/email/web contact. Please be assured that our schools take EVERY report seriously.
Parents, we encourage you to talk with your student about how to report a concern and why reporting is so important. For tips on how to have those conversations as well as address your student’s concerns about school shootings, this resource found on the American Psychology Association website may be helpful. Also, to understand a parent/guardian’s role during an emergency, and how you can best support your school during an emergency, please read the Parent Guide for School Emergencies.
In recent years, our district has made significant improvements to school facilities and operations aimed at safety and security. During school hours, all visitors are required to enter the schoolhouse through the main entrance. Thanks to funding from the 2015 Bond for security enhancements, new visitor management systems were installed last summer in all of our schools. These systems are working to help validate and monitor visitors on campus. New electronic door lock systems were added that allow for automated lockdown capabilities and improved overall building security. These systems work hand-in-hand with new internal communication systems that engage audio warnings with streaming messages on all the classroom clocks in the event of a lockdown. Video surveillance cameras added throughout our campuses and school buses provide additional security.
At this time, our district is in the process of evaluating all school entrances and making improvements to help further regulate public access to the buildings. Most schools lock their front doors during the school day and have begun utilizing a new system that leverages a doorbell. Through video surveillance, office staff can view a visitor outside before granting permission to enter by “buzzing them in” to the building. The District is also constantly reviewing its communications practices and resources to consider ways to streamline emergency notifications and reunification processes.
In looking to the future, safety and security is a predominant element in the design of our new high school, which is set to open in the fall of 2019.
We appreciate your support and cooperation as we work together to ensure the safety and security of our schools in order to do our very best for our students and the staff who work with them each day.
Joel Aune, Superintendent
Snoqualmie Valley School District
For more information and resources, please visit the School Safety information on the district website, located under the Parents & Community tab on the district website.