4 simple ways to make your campus safer this back to school season
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Did you know that many of the general best practices for a strong start to the school year support BOTH a strong, joyful school culture AND safety and security? It’s true! Which is great news because it means that just a few small steps can help strengthen your school’s safety program while improving the overall sense of community across your campus. Wondering where to start? Here are four simple steps you can take today:
Ensure your campus has clear directional signage
Almost all schools have some number of new staff and students each year. Clear directional signage about where to park, where the front office is, the address of the building, etc. helps people feel welcome and ensures they understand processes and expectations. This signage also improves safety. It ensures emergency responders know where things are when they arrive, and it also helps people spot things or individuals that are not where they should be!
Create staff duty posts at arrival and dismissal
Parents appreciate seeing the smiling faces of staff at the beginning and the end of the day! Staff duty posts help enforce the flow of traffic (both vehicles and people) in and out of the building. Staff can make sure no one is entering/exiting the building who shouldn’t be and can quickly spot and report any concerns. A strong start and end to the school day set the tone for the beginning of the year, as arrival and dismissal are the two activities that most parents can best “see”.
Update parent contact information
Ensuring your Student Information System (SIS) is up to date with parent information is vital to ensure parents are receiving messages. Sharing messages over the first few weeks of school not only helps build school community, it also helps build trust in the systems and leadership. And if there is a time-sensitive announcement (even something like “our phones are down in the front office!”) it’s critical to make sure ALL parents get this information as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Provide instructions on who to contact for what
Many schools provide students and parents a “who to contact for what” document, outlining which staff member they should notify if they have concerns about grades, transportation changes, safety issues, and more. Having everyone in your school community aligned helps create clear reporting and communication structures, builds efficiency, and promotes trust… all of which enhance safety!
These sound simple – and that’s because they are! But sometimes the simplest things can make the biggest difference. Try them out today to help build a safer, more secure, and more joyful campus community!