District Implementing PREPaRE Framework
August 22, 2019 - The safety and protection of our Shakopee students and staff is our top priority. Every day in our schools, we strive to educate our students in the safest environment possible.
As part of our district’s effort to continuously improve our approach to school safety and crisis planning, we are implementing the PREPaRE framework. PREPaRE stands for prevent (and prepare for psychological trauma), reaffirm (physical health and perceptions of security and safety), evaluate (psychological trauma risk), provide (interventions) & respond (to psychological needs), and examine (the effectiveness of crisis prevention and intervention).
This summer, about 100 Shakopee Public Schools staff participated in a 1-day workshop. Attendees included counselors, principals, front office administrative assistants, district administrators, custodians, and school psychologists.
University of Wisconsin River Falls professors Scott Woitaszewski and Todd Savage led the training. PREPaRE is a framework that was developed by the National Association of School Psychologists as part of their decade-long journey in providing evidence-based resources and consultation related to school crisis prevention and response.
The workshop - “Crisis Prevention & Preparedness – Comprehensive School Safety Planning”- provided a broad overview of school safety and crisis teams’ roles and responsibilities, with a special emphasis on crisis prevention and preparedness. Additionally, it outlined how psychological and physical safety are both critical to having safe schools, and explained how to prepare for school crises by developing, exercising, and evaluating safety and crisis plans.
“Our district is currently in the process of updating our district-wide and school crisis plans,” said Assistant Superintendent Dave Orlowsky. “The PREPaRE training will be a big part of our process moving forward as we determine what areas needs to be addressed, improved and added to our plans. Additionally, over the next couple months, each school will be completing a vulnerability assessment, which will be used to help improve each building’s level of crisis preparedness.”
The PREPaRE training outlines several benefits for school districts: School crisis are relatively unique and require their own model, school climate and safety are associated with academic achievement, and at some point all schools may experience some level of crisis. Savage says a crisis could include anything from a “hangnail to an act of war”.
Teachers in the district also play a major role in our safety and preparedness efforts. As part of licensure renewal requirements, teachers must complete trainings in suicide prevention best practices and the key warning signs for early-onset mental illness in children and adolescents, among other requirements, every five years.
“Our district has an ongoing commitment to being proactive in the area of student safety,” added Orlowsky. “PREPaRE training is getting high marks from many K-12 school districts. We feel strongly this is a terrific addition to the foundation provided by safety and security measures already in place in our district.”
The voter-approved referendum in 2015 set aside funding for safety and security improvements across the district.
Our district implemented A.L.I.C.E. in the 2016-17 school year. A.L.I.C.E. is a lockdown procedure, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. The A.L.I.C.E. protocol empowers all of our teachers to get students away from danger following certain guidelines.
More than 600 cameras are installed throughout the district in heavily used hallways, common areas, entrances and exits.
Our district has a user-friendly control system that allows our Buildings and Grounds Department to schedule when doors (with card readers) are locked/unlocked.
Our district also has a card reader system in which the cardholder has the ability to lock down buildings automatically. Once the card scans, the system can lock exterior doors (that have card readers), in the event of an emergency.
Practice drills are held each year (5 lock down drills, 5 fire drills, 1 tornado drill) in each one of our school buildings. Our partnerships with Shakopee Police and Fire Departments also contribute greatly to our efforts to keep our students safe while in our buildings.
Our district is also in the process of implementing the Raptor visitor management system for the 2019-20 school year. The system enhances school security by reading visitor drivers’ licenses (or other approved government-issued ID) and comparing information to a sex offender database. Potential matches will alert school administrators and local police that a match has been found. When a visitor is cleared through the system, a visitor badge is produced that may include a photo of the visitor.
We will continue working and learning under the PREPaRE model with another training scheduled in the fall with a smaller group of staff members.