Marcus Jackson, Ed.D. March 26, 2023
March Madness is upon us and I’m not just speaking of NCAA Basketball. I’m speaking of School Safety. Spring is here, the weather is nice, graduation is around the corner for seniors, and the end of the school year is close. Here are a few tips to ensure that we safely close out the school year:
- Personnel Management (All Hands on Deck) – All staff members must be at their assigned duty areas during arrival, transitions, cafeteria duty, and dismissal. Additionally, administrators and teachers should not take off on Fridays and Mondays unless necessary. These are critical days and are the days must serious infractions occur.
- Physical Management – The school’s monitoring system must be top-notch. There is no room for errors. Just about all schools have a clear book bag policy. This book bag policy must be strongly enforced. Additionally, a system must be in place for students and visitors to walk through metal detectors (secondary only) and bag checks for the entire day. No one should be allowed to enter the school without going through this process. Finally, ensure that your door monitoring system is in place. Doors should never be propped or left open and door monitors should check their doors multiple times a day.
- Behavior Management – Be sure to have a check-in system for your 8%. In my twenty-two years as a principal, I’ve worked and transformed some of the most challenging schools in the country and have worked with students who have had some enormous social-emotional challenges which have resulted in multiple fights, alternative school placement, or placement in juvenile centers. I call these scholars the 8%. These students are on a Behavior Intervention Plan and/or Transition Plan. These students should be met daily with an administrator at the beginning and throughout the day and be provided a great deal of support.
- Communication Management – all students and staff must be cognizant of all emergency management plans and the leadership team and all administrators know who the 8% are to monitor and provide support throughout the day. Most importantly the school must have a strong “See Something, Say Something System” in place for students to anonymously report the possibility of dangerous activity.
- Student Engagement Management – the end of March and the beginning of April signify testing season. During the is time of year administrators and teachers drown students in educational boot camps, after-school programs, and a plethora of remediation sessions of standards they didn’t master on their mid-year assessment. This is a recipe for disaster. If schools do not have meaningful, challenging, and engaging lessons and activities planned during this time of year, the possibility of negative behavior during the school day rises immensely.
School Safety is the most vital ingredient in school achievement. If parents, teachers, students, and staff members don’t feel safe at school, teaching, and learning will not occur at an optimal level. Schools effectively closely monitoring these five management details assure a safe school ending to an awesome school year.
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