After nearly three months of conversations, meetings and research, an updated District Safety Plan was outlined for members of the Edon Northwest Local Board of Education during their regular monthly session held Tuesday, March 12, 2013 in the Edon Schools Media Center. President Jill Jacoby called the meeting to order with all members in attendance.
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“As you know, I’ve been working with a variety of groups and looking at all aspects of our School Safety Plan,” began Superintendent Ed Ewers. “Out of those conversations came changes in how we do business here in the building ~ changes we will now be moving forward with.”
One component of the Safety Plan, addressed first by Ewers, was the building’s existing security system. “Upgrading the system will enable us to secure our building (and the wings where our students spend most of their time during the day) in a much more rapid fashion than we currently have available to us.” As recommended by law enforcement, the District will label the structure’s glass windows and doors and work to improve its video surveillance capabilities. “Should there be a need to breech the building or to identify a potential threat, law enforcement [must] be able to make those identifications very quickly from the outside,’” said Ewers. “Labeling our windows and doors will greatly assist them in their efforts as will an updated surveillance system.”
In addition to infrastructure changes, there will be new procedural changes taking place in the weeks ahead as well. “As I mentioned last month, these are pieces of the [Safety Plan] that initially will probably cause consternation among our community.”
Cooperation with both local and regional law enforcement has led to the development of staff training strategies that present a different approach to a potential threat. “For years, the notion of how you responded to threats was more on the static – lockdown, hide, wait and stay in place,” stated Ewers. “I think what research tells us, and certainly with what’s being presented, is that as a staff, we need to be taking a more active role in protecting our students. That doesn’t necessarily mean we are going to be aggressive in how we protect our students. [Our participation] in strategies being taught across the State of Ohio will enable our staff and our students to eventually learn how to be more proactive in their own safety.”
Staff training ~ expected to be completed by an individual over the course of several hours ~ is set to get underway before the end of the current school year. (Weapons or guns are not involved with the strategy being taught.) Once in place, training sessions to help parents and students fully understand the expectations and procedures of how to stay safe; will be held at the onset of the 2013-2014 school year.
Other changes in the Safety Plan address how the building is accessed. “We’re going to reduce the time our doors are unlocked,” shared Ewers. “They will not be unlocked until 7:35 a.m. ~ a major change from what it is now.” The facility is currently opened much earlier, warranting concern that individuals could enter the building before the majority of staff arrives for the day. “I know this will be an issue for our parents because they want to drop their kids off [on their way to work]. But I think the rationale of why we are making this change ~ and I hope parents and community members understand ~ will offset any inconvenience [they may experience].”
Afternoon access to the building will be changed as well. At this time, parents are allowed to enter the building prior to the end of the day to pick up their elementary students. That option will be eliminated; doors will remain locked until 3:01 p.m. “We will have our students go to their parents’ car,” Ewers explained. “There will be a [crosswalk], crossing guard, etc. to [keep] the children safe.”
He reiterated again how the District wants to give surety that everyone is secure when in its facility. “We need to know who’s in our building at any given time [and to this end], I think we have to tighten up the hours our building is accessible to the public along with becoming more [firm about] visitors.” Not all together different from its existing practice, entry procedures will call for any visitor to sign-in at the office and to wear a visitor’s badge while in the building. “One of the pieces talked about during the identification process was how to determine if a person was a visitor or a trespasser. This [pass] will give staff members the ability to visually recognize who’s to be ~ or not to be ~ in the building.”
Obviously, money will have to be spent to accommodate modifications to the District’s Safety Plan but it will not come from the general operating fund. “Dollars for these changes will come out of our Permanent Improvement Fund,” said Ewers. “These [funds] have been approved by voters and can only be used for purchases lasting more than five years and facility maintenance; they cannot be spent on personnel.”
While there will be a fair amount of change happening within the District, objectives of its updated Safety Plan remain well-defined. “Our ultimate goal is to improve the speed in which we can secure the facility and the locations where our staff and students reside,” concluded Superintendent Ewers. “We want to improve our opportunity to recognize the difference between a visitor and a trespasser in the building and to make it easier for law enforcement to do their job in responding to a possible threat.”
With plans currently poised to move forward, District residents can be assured implementation will not begin tomorrow; notifications will be sent to parents, providing them ample time as to when changes will take place. For additional information regarding the District’s Safety Plan, feel free to contact Superintendent Ewers (email or phone call) or visit www.edon.k12.oh.us. Your ideas, comments and questions are always welcomed.
Highlights from March’s Board Reports included:
Treasurer Kerry Samples
- Reviewed the recently released School District Tax Comparison for Williams County Schools; the District currently has the County’s lowest cost per pupil ($9,099; the State average is $10,600). He also noted District residents pay an average of $561.23 in school taxes, the lowest in Williams County. (The full report may be viewed at www.edon.k12.oh.us; Community Links/Finances.)
- Submitted his standard SM2 Report indicating revenues were down one hundred ninety-nine thousand dollars and expenses down one hundred thirty-two thousand dollars for the same eight-month period as last year. The District is currently tracking sixty-seven thousand dollars worse than a year ago. (Despite cost-cutting measures, the District cannot keep up with lost revenues; estimated loss over last year is four hundred thousand dollars.)
Grades 7-12 Principal David Kennedy
- Shared OGT Week (March 11-15) was off to a good start and PSEO and Freshman Orientation meetings were well attended; he also noted the annual Cinderella Project would be held March 16.
- Congratulated students, staff and parents on their efforts in presenting two great performances of Once Upon a Mattress; the Edon High School Concert Band on its participation in the OMEA Large Group Contest and the Junior High Quiz Bowl Team on its recent County Championship. Thanks were also extended to junior class parents for hosting an enjoyable Family Fun Night.
Grades KK-6 Principal Bonnie Troyer
- Recognized February’s Bomber Courtesy Club members.
- Noted students had enjoyed last month’s FFA Week Activities; visiting the Petting Zoo and seeing the tractors were big hits with everyone.
- Shared Edon Elementary School had been named a School of Promise for 2011-2012 ~ a wonderful tribute to all the hard work put in by staff and students.
Technology Coordinator Molly Miller
- Noted Power Announcement, the new instant alert system, was put into service February 28; despite a few “kinks”, the switch from Honeywell has gone well.
- Shared the 2013-2014 E-Rate Funding application had been submitted; the District should realize a seventy percent discount in telecommunication services.
- Noted My Big Campus, a Learning Management System, is being reviewed as a possible replacement for Moodle, the current LMS.
- In other action taken, the Board:
- Entered into a brief Executive Session at the onset of the meeting; upon returning to open session, members approved a two-year extension to Superintendent Ewers contract, effective August 1, 2014 at his current salary rate.
- Accepted Cash Donations from various individuals and businesses ($2,034 ~ Junior Parents/Post Prom); OhioPyle Prints, Inc. for clothing sales at Kaiser’s Super Market ($9.41 apiece to Elementary and High School Principal Funds) and Pepsi (for 2013 and 2014 Senior Scholarships ~ $300 each).
- Heard Superintendent Ewers’ observations regarding the 2011-2012 District Report Card (Excellent Rating). Much has been accomplished; the District continues to do a fine job, performing at a very high level. He also noted changes taking place over the next few years will impact public education in Ohio; additional information can be viewed on the District’s website.
- Approved creating OHSAA Boys Baseball Sectional and OHSAA Girls Softball Sectional Funds. (Requested by OHSAA to now run transactions for these events through the District’s accounting system and not through separate accounting systems as before.)
- Approved the resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the Budget Commission (County Auditor, Prosecutor, Treasurer and consultant), authorizing the existing tax levies, and certifying them to the County Auditor as presented. This is done annually to determine local tax funding.
- Accepted, with regret, the retirement resignation of Paul Stoll, Vocational Agriculture Instructor, effective at the end of the current school year.
- Accepted the resignation of Lisa Heslop, Junior Class Advisor, effective at the end of the current school year.
- Accepted, with regret, the resignation of Cheryl Miller, Guidance Counselor, effective June 1, 2013.
- Accepted, with regret, the retirement resignation of Monica Hurd, Business Instructor, effective at the end of the current school year.
- Approved 2012-2013 supplemental contracts with Jessica Horning (Tutor at twenty-five dollars per hour) and Karen Apt (Grades 3-6 Spring Intervention Teacher at twenty-five dollars per hour).
- Welcomed sophomore Philip Richmond and FFA Advisor Krista Cape. Philip recently competed in the State FFA Creed Speaking Contest; his fine presentation was highly praised.
- Was updated by Kris Dobbelaere regarding Race to the Top (RttT); a brief “Q & A” session will address RttT concerns, uncertainties, etc. voiced through teacher surveys; the Transformation Team will attend an April ODE meeting designed to assist them in planning for the fourth and final year of RttT.
- Approved minutes from the regular Board meeting held Tuesday, February 12, 2013 along with Financial Reports for the month.
- Voted to enter into Executive Session to discuss employment of public employees; no action was expected to be taken.
The Edon Northwest Local Board of Education will next meet Tuesday, April 9, 2013 in the school’s Media Center beginning at 6:30 p.m.[/emember_protected]
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