Project S.A.V.E School Safety Plan 2018-19

Updated and Approved: July 5, 2018

Quick Jump:

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: District-Wide Safety Plan:  Emergency Management Plan
Part 3: Building Level Emergency Response Plan
Part 4: Intervention/Code of Conduct
Part 5: Prevention/Risk Reduction
Part 6: Professional Development for Violence/Prevention Education/Character Education

Part 1:  Introduction

The Guilderland Central School District recognizes that all staff, students, administrators, parents, Board of Education members and members of the community must be part of creating a safe school environment.  Creating and maintaining safe schools requires having in place preventive, intervention, and crisis response measures for addressing problems as well as a comprehensive approach to early identification of problem behaviors and situations.

Emergencies and violent incidents in school districts are critical issues that must be addressed in an expeditious and effective manner.  Districts are required to develop district-wide school safety plans at district and building levels designed to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents and emergencies and to facilitate the coordination of the district with local and county resources in the event of such incidents or emergencies.  The district-wide plan is responsive to the needs of all schools within the district and is consistent with the more detailed emergency response plans required at the school building level.  Districts and individual school buildings stand at risk from a wide variety of acts of violence, natural, and man-made disasters.  To address these threats, the State of New York has enacted the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Law.  It was signed into law by Governor Pataki on July 24, 2000.  Project SAVE is a comprehensive planning effort that addresses prevention, response, and recovery with respect to a variety of emergencies in each school district and its schools.

Our S.A.V.E. plans at the district and building level represent collaborative work that offers an all encompassing program which provides for the safety and security of all students and staff.  It is an ongoing process that addresses long and short term safety measures to eliminate aggression and intolerant behaviors in school.  Our basic goal is to create a positive and welcoming climate in which all members take pride.  The climate is free of violence, drugs, intimidation, bullying, prejudice, fear and shaming.  A healthy, positive school climate promotes the emotional well being and growth of every student and staff member.  At the same time, our schools provide fair and consistent rules, guidelines and models for behavior.  These are addressed in the Code of Conduct.

We continue to develop and expand programs that emphasize prevention, the nurturing of competent social skills and behaviors.  Our school climate builds on the strengths and assets of each student, improving resiliency and protective factors while promoting responsibility.  Our research tells us that improving school order and safety is effected when students find a meaningful role and participate in a variety of positive educational and social activities.  Students who are engaged in school activities are less likely to engage in school violence and disorder than students who feel alienated and deprived of meaningful connections at school.

Our work has been as follows:

  • Maintain a comprehensive district-wide emergency management plan.
  • Create a team approach to implementing a building-level safety plan in each school site.
  • Begin in early grades and provide relevant programs throughout the educational life of a child.
  • Provide strong leadership for a positive school climate where all students feel included.
  • Communicate consistent and clear-cut policies in a Code of Conduct.
  • Listen to the input of students, building cabinets, PTA and school personnel.
  • Include parents, law enforcement, and the community.
  • Provide staff development, including skills for preventing all levels of disruption, aggression, harassment, hazing, bullying or violence.

Purpose

The Guilderland Central School District’s District-wide School Safety Plan, which we refer to as our Emergency Management Plan, was developed pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17.  At the direction of the Guilderland Central School District Board of Education, the Superintendent of Guilderland Central School District appointed a District-wide Safety Team and charged it with the development and maintenance of the Emergency Management Plan.  This team is made up of members of the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Advisory Committee.  In 2004-05 a subcommittee on Security was formed.

Identification of District-Wide Safety Team

The District-Wide Safety Team is comprised of, but not limited to, representatives of the School Board, students, teachers, social workers, administrators, parent organizations, school safety personnel and other school personnel.  Individual names and contact information are included in the (confidential) Building Level Emergency Response Plan.

District-Wide Safety Team

This group has met previously as a Safe Schools Committee to develop a school safety plan which would guarantee a safe and welcoming environment encompassing the student day from home to school and home again.  In the fall of 2009, this team merged with the Guilderland Central School District Diversity Committee to form the Council for Safe and Respectful Schools.  The group discussed ways to remediate current problems and establish programs and patterns for long term prevention.  Among the areas examined were:

  • Data Collection:  what information does the school already have?
  • Data Analysis:  How can the school identify its needs?
  • Problem Solving:  Can the school identify what it needs to do?
  • Implementation and evaluation
  • In past years, the group aimed at addressing three components as part of school safety:

1. Management of risk – addressing procedures necessary to assure safety and discouragement of acts of violence – District Emergency Management Plan.

2. Intervention – planning for those students who are unwilling or unable to conform to school discipline and Code of Conduct and those students with substance abuse problems.  Counseling, mediation, conflict resolution and alternative programs to address this.

3. Prevention – developing programs to address safe and healthy lifestyles.  This component addresses curriculum as well as training for students, staff and parents.  It includes bias reduction programs, speakers, anger management, prevention of bullying, hazing, sexual harassment prevention training, conflict resolution, parent education, substance abuse prevention and teaching strategies for at risk students.

Mission Statement Regarding School Safety

To ensure that in our schools teachers concentrate on teaching and guiding our students.  Our students will not be distracted from learning by anxiety or fear for their safety and can enjoy socializing with classmates and adults in a climate of acceptance and warmth without fear from bullying and harassment.  Expectations for behavior and a sense of responsibility will be clear.  We will address the district priority to foster trust, respect and a greater sense of community among the staff, students, parents and other district residents through effective communication and understanding.

Goals

  • To develop programs to assure that students and staff have the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to ensure a safe and healthy environment for teaching and learning;
  • To implement a comprehensive school safety plan including a Code of Conduct through the Safe Schools initiative which involves professional staff, operational staff, students, community members and parents.  Yearly crisis training is held, Emergency Response Plans updated and the District-wide Safety Team meets several times a year;
  • To eliminate bullying and harassment among students and adults through training and education, as well as education of the public through publications and workshops.  Administrators, supervisors and teachers have attended training using the McGrath and Olweus models.  All new staff receives training regarding sexual harassment and bullying.  Students also receive ongoing information and training at middle and high school levels regarding issues of discrimination related to sexual harassment.  In grade 6 students receive training to prevent cyber bullying;
  • To reduce incidence of disrespect and aggression at the secondary level as measured through the implementation of a Code of Conduct.  This has been documented through building reports and bus discipline referrals and the SED Violent Incident Report.  Alternative programs, counseling, and at-risk programs have addressed this.  Staff has also received training on violence prevention at each level;
  • To improve school climate and academic achievement, workshops have been provided for staff and students on anti-bias and anti-hate behavior, avoidance of substance abuse and conflict resolution.  Staff have received training in cooperative learning, bullying prevention, crisis intervention, and dealing with difficult students.

Our schools foster learning, safety, civility, respect and caring.  There is a commitment to academic excellence, achieving high standards, involving parents and community, and encouraging positive relationships between staff and students.  Guilderland schools recognize that safety and order are related to students’ academic, social and emotional development.  This has long been a district priority.

The district has based planning for prevention, intervention, and crisis response that will function in our school communities with an:

Emphasis on academic achievement: Guilderland schools’ mission is, “to inspire all students to be active, life-long learners, able to achieve their highest potential in a demanding and ever-changing global community.”  We believe that all students can learn and achieve at high levels.  Curriculum and academic expectations are communicated clearly to parents and students.  Meeting these expectations is the responsibility of the student, the school and the home.

Involvement of Parents: Volunteering parents have a strong role in their children’s learning in and out of school.  They are welcome in schools as visitors and volunteers.  Parent conferences, American Education Week, Open Houses, building cabinets and special events are just some of the activities in which they are involved.  Parents are also involved in school governance through building cabinets and various district and building committees.

A subcommittee of the Safe Schools Committee was founded in May 2003 and has developed a policy and regulations on the prevention of bullying.  A policy and regulations regarding the prevention of bullying were formed.

In 2005, a Security Subcommittee was formed to address visitor access and building security.  This committee made recommendations to the Board of Education regarding school security.

Programs and information for parents are an important part of our Project SAVE plan.  A number of workshops for parents on topics related to wellness and safety are offered throughout the year.  Social work services and referrals to agencies are also a valuable way to help students and parents.  Newsletters, channel 16 public access programs and a website keep parents informed.

Connections to the community: The Guilderland Police Department, Capital Region BOCES, Albany County Department of Substance Abuse, Albany County Mental Health, St. Peter’s Addiction & Recovery Center, Red Cross, Brattleboro services, Project STRIVE, and New York State Police have all assisted in planning programs and security plans in our schools.

Roles of School Communities in Creating Safe Schools

Administrator Roles

  • Administrators will provide leadership in developing and monitoring safe schools activities;
  • Administrators will establish procedures for documenting school crime as well as harassment and bullying;
  • Administrators will design a school environment that ensures safe traffic patterns within and to and from school;
  • Administrators will adopt procedures for bus safety, emergency evacuation and crisis management;
  • Administrators will participate in Building Level Emergency Response Teams and the District Wide Safety Team.  They will work with building cabinets and PTA’s on issues of school safety;
  • Administrators will support teacher training on conflict resolution, crisis management, cooperative learning, sexual harassment, bullying prevention, violence prevention and effective teaching strategies as well as legal issues
  • Administrators will play a responsible part in the implementation of all Board of Education policies and consistently report incidents of misbehavior, hazing, sexual harassment, bullying, racial hatred, crime, and violence.

Teacher Roles

  • Teachers respond to students in a caring and non-shaming manner.  They develop cooperative rules and consistent classroom guidelines for behavior which prevent bullying behavior;
  • Teachers consider the teaching and modeling of pro-social behavior, conflict resolution and collaboration to be as important as teaching academic content;
  • Teachers display diligent and impartial behavior when supervising students.  They recognize positive behavior and take steps to correct unacceptable behavior;
  • Teachers refer troubled students to the Child Study Team, social worker or counselor for intervention.  They will be offered training on identifying troubled students;
  • Teachers inform parents of their concerns about students;
  • Teachers participate on building level school Building Level Emergency Response Teams and the District Wide Safety Team.  They assist in the development of the Project SAVE Plan as well as implementation of our sexual harassment policy, weapons policy and policies regarding drug use.

Parent/Community Roles

  • Parents are equal partners with Board of Education members, administrators and staff in the development of our safety plans;
  • Building Cabinets have also given parents a role in school safety, reviewing Emergency Response Plans and procedures;
  • Parents or community members volunteer regularly in schools and assist with student activities;
  • Community involvement in the Safe Schools/Diversity Committee among others.

Student Roles

  • Students expressed the need for a safe, orderly school environment in which to learn;
  • Students develop a sense of responsibility for contributing to the improvement of school order and safety;
  • Students participate in the District Wide Safety Team and in planning activities for a safer learning environment.

Safe School Plan

Our work encompasses:

Emergency Management Plan and Emergency Response Plans as required by SAVE Legislation: An effective district-wide safety plan as well as building level emergency response plans are in place to involve all school personnel, law enforcement, fire and medical rescue personnel, emergency management personnel, school district personnel, and any other persons essential to resolving any possible crisis.

Student Participation/Empowerment: Student involvement is essential in solving and preventing violent acts on school campuses. Students are involved in NCBI training, Leadership Training, and Natural Helpers.

Parent Participation: Parents are encouraged to participate in building cabinets, on committees and as volunteers for all school functions.  District PTA Council and PTA/PTSA presidents are involved.  Parents serve on many district committees.

Partnership between the school and local law enforcement: Guilderland Police and school officials work together to ensure the safety of the school environment.

Crime prevention through environmental design: Safety assessments of the school facilities have been conducted with recommendations to administrators by the BOCES Risk Management personnel and the New York State Police.

Drug and alcohol prevention programs: Our K-12 Health curriculum, Wellness Days, Hooked on Health Committee, and Natural Helpers are programs available for drug, tobacco and alcohol prevention.

Fire and Arson Prevention and Injury Prevention: All are part of K-12 health instruction.

School crime reporting and tracking mechanism

Administrators have worked to develop a method to report, track and monitor any crime committed on school campuses.  They work closely with Guilderland School Resource Officers.  This is now mandated in the VADIR report.

School security

Supervision of the students and the campus as a whole is an essential component to ensuring safe schools.  School resource officers from the Guilderland Police assist at our schools.  The district has a Safety Specialist from Capital Region BOCES on-site weekly.

Training for school personnel

In-service training is recommended prior to the beginning of school and throughout the course of the year to staff and bus drivers.  Topics relate to safety issues, anti-bullying, hazing, crisis management, Internet safety, harassment, gang awareness, and dealing with difficult students.

PART 2:  GUILDERLAND CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT DISTRICT-WIDE SAFETY PLAN:  EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN

Purpose: Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17 of the New York State Education Department requires each School District to prepare, and update annually, a District-Wide School Safety Plan.  Its purpose is to insure the safety and health of children and staff.  It is also intended to integrate and coordinate school activities with municipal, county, and state emergency preparedness efforts. This plan is available in each school district for public inspection and to the commissioner upon request.

In order to protect the safety and health of students and staff it is even more important that the plan be read, understood and practiced by all staff to assure that each of them will operate in accordance with it in the event of an emergency or disaster. It is also important to treat the plan as a living document which can and should be reviewed, in detail, periodically and after every situation that requires its use.  This assures that needed modifications are made and included in the plan without delay, before another emergency or disaster requires its activation.  In response to an emergency situation, making the same mistakes twice could cause unnecessary injury or even death.  The district-wide school safety plan was developed using existing protocols and involvement of the individual school Building Level Emergency Response Teams, the District-Wide Safety Team, and the Safe Schools and Drug Free Committee.

Required Contents: According to the regulation, our plan is intended to prevent or minimize the effects of emergencies and to coordinate the use of resources. Our plan includes the following:

1.  The identification of sites of a potential emergency

The school district has identified sites of potential emergency, per Section 155.17(e)(1)(I): They are:(and not limited to:) Route 20, NYS Thruway, Northway,  Routes 155 &  146, The Northeast Industrial Park (all occupants), Albany County International Airport, Schenectady County Airport, Conrail tracks, Crossgates Mall, and National Guard Shooting Range.  On site at each elementary school: heating boilers and playgrounds.  At the middle and high school: heating boilers, chemistry labs, athletic competition areas, and wood shops.  Off site field trips are also an emergency exposure.

2. The identification of appropriate responses to emergencies

Appropriate school district response to a variety of emergency situations is the notification of emergency services via 911 and the use of the Incident Command System.  As of September 2010 the District Wide Safety Team distributed the uniform response protocol flip charts in all classrooms and kitchens and all faculty and staff received training during the 2010-11 school year.

3. The description of arrangements for obtaining assistance during emergencies from emergency services organizations and local government agencies

Contact with emergency services organizations has been simplified with the inauguration of enhanced  911 service in this area.  The primary school district contacts are included in the cover sheet.   Initial response to all emergencies within the individual school buildings will be by the School Crisis Response Team. Immediate notification of appropriate emergency agencies will be made using the 911 system, and notification to the district office will be made using telephone, fax, radio, or other means as determined by the individual situation.

In 2016, amendments to the SAVE Law required district-wide safety plans to include the designation of a Chief Emergency Officer.  The Chief Emergency Officer is responsible for:

  • Coordinating communication between staff and law enforcement and first responders.
  • Ensuring student and staff understanding of the district wide school safety plan.

Here at the Guilderland Central School District, the Chief Emergency Officer is the Superintendent of Schools.

4.  The descriptions of procedures to coordinate the use of school district resources and manpower during emergencies, including identification of the officials authorized to make decisions and the staff members assigned to provide assistance during emergencies

During an emergency the chain of command in a school district does not alter.  The Superintendent (or designee) is the source of all authority to act.  In a building level emergency, the building principal (or designee) would be “in charge.”  The Building Level Emergency Response Team would be gathered.  Incident Command Procedures would be followed.  Cooperative decisions, based on response agencies and personnel involved, would be made.  Each site-based team is made up of teachers, nurses, custodians, and other key department persons within each building.  Each building site has a list of the current members of the individual Building Level Emergency Response Teams.

5. The identification of district resources that may be available during an emergency

In the event that any school district property, personnel, or services would be required, the Superintendent would be meeting with the agency/persons requesting such aid and the individual building(s)/location(s)/supervisor(s) through which the aid would be provided. The school district has filled out and submitted Red Cross facilities/equipment availability.  First aid kits, blankets, 2-way radios, vehicles, cell phones are just some of the district resources available.

 

6. A system for informing all education agencies within the district of the emergency

The educational agencies within the district would be primarily notified by phone of an emergency.

In the absence of phone service on a district-wide or area level, alternative procedures for notification are in place – The Community Notification Plan, which lists the radio and TV stations that would be used to announce emergency situations.  If this process was not deemed adequate, school district employees, namely maintenance staff or bus drivers, would be dispatched to the educational agencies to explain the situations.  Contact with the mobile staff would be accomplished via 2-way radio system (maintainable with power outage), and with call alert 2-way radio communications.  Elementary parents are requested at the start of school to keep on file a “safe” location for their children to be dropped off in the event they are not available.  This list is maintained at the home school and at the Transportation Department.

In the event that a situation arose that did not require a “go home early” response, but one of re-locate or shelter in place, a note written by the principal, and approved through the Superintendent, would go home with each student.  The note would outline what had occurred, the school response, and a name and phone number that the parent could contact to obtain additional information if same was desired.  Notes are distributed either through home room or last class of the day teaching stations.

7. A description of plans for taking four types of action in response to emergencies:

a) school cancellation; b) early dismissal; c)evacuation, and  d) sheltering

School cancellation, early dismissal, and evacuation decisions will be made by the Superintendent or his designee, and is based upon information obtained from district staff, local, county, state, and federal agencies. Sheltering plans are enacted on an individual school basis, on a call by the building principal, or designee.

Primary exit from the individual buildings would be accomplished via posted Fire Exit routes.  These routes would be followed unless conditions at the time do not allow for same.

School cancellation before the start of the school day would be done through the media notification procedure, normally prior to 5 am.  Cancellation of after school or evening activities is done via media notification procedures and the district website.  Children would receive a verbal announcement that after school activities are canceled.  This is done with enough lead time so that children may call a parent and advise them.

Early dismissal procedures are conducted after site-based phone calling trees are in place, and media notification has started.  This is also posted on Channel 16 and the district website.

Evacuation and sheltering procedures are customized at each site location in the district. Each facility has a primary and a back up evacuation area.  Notification to parents of these locations would be via phone tree and/or media notification procedures at the time of the emergency.  Each building site has several sheltering areas available, dependent upon the nature of the emergency.  The route(s) taken to these areas are dependent upon the nature of the emergency.  Each individual site-based building plan has specific sheltering areas for the various emergencies.  Examples of some of the potential evacuation/sheltering areas are: gyms, cafetoriums, halls, in the classroom under desks, in a tight group in a corner not being able to be seen from the doorway.   In Spring 2011, Parent/Student Reunification Plans were developed to streamline that process, should off-site evacuation be necessary.

8.  The procedures for obtaining advice and assistance from local government officials

The Superintendent or designee in an emergency will contact emergency management coordinator and/or the highest ranking local government official for obtaining advice and assistance.  In 2016, amendments to the SAVE Law required district-wide safety plans to include the designation of a chief emergency officer.  The chief emergency officer is responsible for coordinating communication between staff and law enforcement and first responders and for ensuring staff understanding of the district-level safety plan.  Our chief emergency officer is the Superintendent of Schools.  The district has identified resources available from but not limited to the following agencies: Red Cross, local fire departments, police, town public works, police, EMS, and others.

9. Training, Drills, and Exercises

Each individual school within the school district, will have at a minimum, one annual multi-hazard drill.  The minimal drill would be conducted on the annual go-home-early drill day as announced by the Capital Region BOCES. Historically this date is in mid-November, but has been as late as April.

On this day, communications are tested in all buildings such as:  intercoms, 2-way radios, and bullhorns.  Directives as provided from BOCES are distributed to staff regarding leaving the building and not re-entering during the drill time.  Alternative student loading areas are used.  In some cases these locations are at the other side of school district property and involve moving the student body from the school building across school grounds to the alternate site.  In some cases, police agencies close down major roadways through the area to allow for the safe passage. Incident command protocols are practiced at this time.

Drills for evacuation, intruder and weather emergencies are planned and conducted in individual school buildings within the district.  The site-based Building Level Emergency Response Team sets the date and scenarios for the drills. Staff is notified of the drill in advance. Students are guided through what is expected of and from them before the drill date.

The individual classroom teachers provide this guidance during the course of the regular classroom day.  This would include, but not be limited to: proper duck/cover position, expected behavior, and the importance of being prepared.  Advance information provided to students is prepared and cleared for use by Building Level Emergency Response Team members at each site.  The local fire, EMS, and police agencies are advised of the date(s).  After the drill is conducted, students are gathered into one of the on-site interior evacuation locations and debriefed by the principal.

Beginning with the 2016-17 school year:

  • All staff will receive annual SAVE Training which includes components on violence prevention and mental health.  New employees hired after the start of the school year will receive this training within 30 days of hire.
  • The fire drill requirement was amended.  Each school now has to conduct eight evacuation drills and four lockdown drills during the normal school year.  Eight of those drills (either evacuation or lockdown), need to be completed by December 31st each year.

10.   Responding to Threats and Acts of Violence

During emergencies, school administrators and their incident command system back-ups will refer to the Emergency Preparedness Procedures flip chart or app.  These protocols are reviewed by the district wide school safety team to ensure content and consistency throughout the district.

By definition, threats of violence include implied or direct threats by students, faculty, staff and visitors.  Threats of violence also include threats by students against themselves, including suicide.  Anytime they have knowledge of it, school personnel will coordinate with incident command to directly call parents/guardians of any students that are directly impacted by threats of or acts of violence.  This notification will also take place when a student implies or specifically threatens self-inflicted violence, including suicide.

The Building Level Emergency Response Team will assemble and review the overall drill. From these reviews alternative plans have been formulated.  These types of drills have been conducted for many years within the district.  Specific meeting, attendance, and review notes are maintained at each site location, and are in the possession of the principal or assistant principal.

Beginning in 2016-2017, as required by amendments to New York State Education Law, each school will conduct at least four lockdown drills and eight fire drills during the normal school year.

Local Fire Departments and EMS staff conduct walk-throughs of each school building annually.  Specific dates are determined by the day/date of their regularly scheduled monthly meetings.

During the annual Right-to-Know/Hazcom training that is conducted at each site during the  school year, a description of the purpose of the Emergency Management Plan is given.  Staff is advised of its location, availability, purpose, and requested to look it over, and to volunteer to be on the site-based and district team(s).

Information about each educational agency

The (confidential) Building Level Emergency Plan includes information about each educational agency, including:

  • School population
  • Number of staff
  • Transportation needs
  • Names and contact information of key officials

Other Plans: The following plans are suggested means of fulfilling the letter and intent of the school emergency plan regulation:

Crisis Intervention and Recovery Plan (AFTERMATH)

The Crisis Intervention and Recovery Plan is intended to provide guidance to assist the members of the staff and community to cope with the psychological and social impacts of school emergencies and community events.  The goal of such a plan is to provide the appropriate counseling to the victims of tragedy and their friends, family, and acquaintances.  In many cases, an established crisis recovery team may offer valuable resources in the event on an emergency or natural disaster.

School-Community Partnerships

The partnerships established between businesses, community based agencies, local government and senior citizen groups have been integral to making our school safe.  We work toward networking, effective communication and providing access to services.

Social workers at each level have provided referrals and linkage to human service agencies.  Project STRIVE, an after school and summer program for elementary students, is located at Westmere Elementary School and serves all elementary students district-wide.

Social workers also work with area therapists, Brattleboro Services, Four Winds, Albany County Mental Health, Project Hope, and the Albany County Department of Social Services.

There is district representation on the Albany County PINS Diversion Board which involves presentations from each Albany County School District as well as state, county and private providers, Family Court, Probation, Albany County Office of Children & Families, and the Guilderland Police.

Other activities are:

NCBI (National Coalition Building Institute) at the High School and Middle School; Leadership Training at the High School; Gardening Projects – Farnsworth Middle School; Senior citizen/student collaboration at various schools; Pine Bush project; Guilderland YMCA/GCC; Summer Enrichment Programs with the Town of Guilderland; PTA/PTSA; Parent Education; Natural Helpers; Council for Safe & Respectful Schools.

At the town level the district has participated in a number of initiatives.  Police are represented on our Council for Safe & Respectful Schools.  Guilderland Police School Resource Officers are in our schools and work closely with administrators.

Community Notification Plan

The Community Notification Plan is a multi-stepped procedure to notify the community of any changes in the normal operation of the school buildings.  Attached is the media notification used by the Superintendent or his designee, and the media sources used.

Site-based procedures include phone trees, polling procedures, media notification guidelines and special requirements for public notification whenever other emergency service agencies are involved.  The district has a Public Information employee, through BOCES, and this person assists notification whether on a site-based or district wide response.

Implementation of School Security

Each site-based operation has developed a locked door procedure during the school day.  Entry into the buildings is through a front door, or via a controlled access via door bell at a rear “delivery door.”   Visitors all have to sign in and out, and are assigned passes to be displayed while in school buildings.  The district has enacted a district wide photo ID system.  The high school location has a local police agency provided Resource Officer.  The resource officer provides a wide range of services, see attached.  The Resource Officer services are district wide, not just limited to the high school facility.  All staff wear photo I.D. nametags.

The middle and high schools each have hall monitors.  Guidelines for monitors dealing with students are provided in the plan.  At the two locations, the monitors provide supervision of the visitor sign-in as well as assisting visitors with directions to the areas they need to visit.  Monitors start their shifts prior to the school day, and stay on 1½ hrs after the close of school.  None are armed.  All hall monitors have 2-way radios that allow them to communicate with each other and the main offices of the school buildings.

Pre-employment screening is done through the personnel office.  Fingerprints and standard background checks are made.  Multiple interviews are conducted and a group consensus decision is made on potential hires.  Training is site-based for the two groups.  Both groups receive training in crisis intervention.  Additional training given includes duties and expectations during emergencies. Varied duties during emergencies are requested of the monitors, namely to secure key hallway intersections and make sure that students stay in classrooms, to help sweep hallways for suspicious looking items, and to secure any open doors.

During regular school hours, monitors check the halls during classes to make sure that students have proper passes, between classes-to keep hallway intersections clear of groups, and to check parking areas during the day to check for proper parking permits on cars.

Public conduct expectations are outlined in the attached Board of Education Policy.

Notification

The superintendent shall notify the commissioner as soon as possible whenever the emergency plan is activated and results in the closing of a school building in the district and shall provide such information as the commissioner may require.  School districts within a supervisory district shall provide such notification through the district superintendent who shall be responsible for notifying the commissioner.  Such information need not be provided for routine snow emergency days.

Delegation of Authority

In the event that key members of the chain of command are unavailable or have been incapacitated, a delegation of authority is in place to assure that the individuals who act on behalf of the district have sufficient authority to take appropriate action.  It is also essential that staff know to whom they must report in the absence of the superintendent, principal, or other designated official.

The following delegations of authority shall apply to the operations of the Emergency Plan for the  Guilderland Central School District.  In the event the designated authority in the district or building is absent or incapacitated, the first alternate shall be empowered to make all decisions falling under the purview of the designated authority.  The second alternate shall have authority in the absence of the other two.  This delegation shall remain in effect until the designee shall notify the alternate that he or she has been relieved.

Designated Authority: Building Principal
First Alternative: Asst. Principal (if one is assigned)
Second Alternative: Office Secretary

Designated Authority: Supt. of Buildings & Grounds
First Alternative: Head Maintenance Mechanic

Designated Authority: Supervisor of Transportation
First Alternative: Asst. Transportation Supervisor
Second Alternative: Bus Maintenance Supervisor

Designated Authority: School Nurse
First Alternative: Head District Nurse

PART 3:  GUILDERLAND CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Building Level Emergency Response Plan

Purpose

Each Guilderland school’s Building-Level Emergency Response Plan was developed pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17.  At the direction of the Guilderland Central School District Board of Education, the Principal of each school appointed a Building-level School Safety Team and charged it with the development and maintenance of the School Emergency Response Plan.

Identification of School Teams

Each school has developed two emergency teams:

  • Building-level Crisis Response Team. This team is a combining of the Regulation mandated Building-Level School Safety Team, and the Building-Level Emergency Response Team.  This joint team has provided input into the School-level Emergency Response Plan, and provides the initial response and duration to all emergencies within the school building.
  • At the conclusion of the emergency, they will conduct a de-briefing and hold subsequent meetings to determine changes, if any are needed, to the response protocols within the building.
  • Building-level Post-incident Response Team.  This team would conduct “AFTERMATH” services to the individual school, providing counseling services to staff, students, and others needing assistance. Members of this committee will assist in the return of the building to a useable service.

Concept of Operations

Initial response to all emergencies at each school will be by the School Emergency Response Team. Upon activation of the team, The Superintendent of Schools or his designee will be notified, and where appropriate, local emergency officials will also be notified.  Additional resources are available through existing protocols.

The District-Level Plan has identified sites of emergency, and the School-Level Team has identified areas within and immediately around the school building that requires protective actions.  After identification, training has been conducted as determined in the district-wide plan.  Local emergency services are notified of pending drills and exercises and are requested to attend.

School-Level responses are based upon the Incident Command System(ICS).  The level of ICS needed is based upon the needs of the incident.  The school building has developed contingency plans to continue operations during an emergency.  Emergency Services have been given site specific plans for the school building. Procedures are in place for the activation and notification of the Building-Level Emergency Response Plan.

Hazard Guidelines

The school plan includes site specific responses for the multi-hazard responses named in the District-Level School Safety Plan.  Policies and procedures have been developed for the safe evacuation of Students, Staff, other school personnel, and visitors to the School in the event of a serious violent incident.  These policies and procedures include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Evacuation before, during and after school hours
  • Evacuation Routes
  • Sheltering areas
  • Procedures for addressing medical needs
  • Transportation
  • Notification of persons in Parental Relation

Policies and procedures for building security and restriction to crime scene areas in order to preserve evidence from being disturbed or destroyed in case of violent crimes on school property are in place.

Recovery

Short and long term recovery actions, including, but not limited to: Mental Health counseling, Building security, Facility restoration, Event response critique/debriefing, and mitigation, are part of the plan. Local, County and State resources would be used.

District Wide Emergency Response Teams

Each school has a Building Level Emergency Response Team.  Names and contact information of key players are included in the (confidential) Building Level Emergency Response Plans at each school.

School Resource Officers

The Guilderland Police Department has had a long-standing commitment to the youth of our community.  We have taken great strides to try to keep our children safe and make the Town of Guilderland a great place for parents to raise their children.  The police department youth services division has been one such group that makes children’s safety a daily job.  The Department has had a youth services division nearly since the formation of the department, and has maintained the same services to youth.

In an effort to keep our children safe, free to learn and feeling comfortable while in our schools, the department in 1999 started a school resource officer program.  In early August of 1998 Officer Brian Forte attended a week-long training session on school resource officer basic training.  This program was sponsored by the National Association of School Resource Officers and gave the officers in attendance an understanding of what a School Resource Officer (SRO) does and the laws that may affect this position.  There have been SRO’s in schools since the early 1950’s, but they came to the attention of the public in the early 1980’s when the Los Angeles Central School District formed their own police department to work for the school.  These officers were involved in policing the schools’ growing crime problems and increasing gang activity.  The states of Florida and Texas followed suit creating many different police departments based under school districts.

In the early 1990’s school violence became a greater public issue.  The media started to report on school violence and some of the more tragic events that occurred in and around the country.  Events such as Jonesboro, Arkansas and Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, publicized violent events in schools.  Parents, school officials, and law enforcement started to realize that there was a growing concern for school safety.  The Guilderland Police Department was already planning the SRO program for Guilderland Schools and had all but implemented putting a police officer in the high school.  After Columbine, the program was started in both the Farnsworth Middle School and Guilderland High School.  Officer Brian Forte was appointed to the high school and Officer Roger Ginder was appointed to the middle school.

The goals of the SRO program are to build relationships between the school and the police department and provide an added resource to the school, but more so to the students and youth that attend the school.  The SRO program is a community based policing effort that helps break down barriers that have existed between youth and police and open new doors for kids to be able to converse and trust the police in a new light.

The SRO provides assistance in the form of counseling to students, parents, and faculty, giving a new view point or perspective from an outside source, not tied to the school.  A School Resource Officer can be a teacher or information gatherer, as the police officer is a wealth of information relative to criminal justice and law enforcement.  SRO’s are able to be guest speakers in classrooms regarding the laws and rules that govern our society.  Teaching in classes such as criminal justice, public policy, and health are just examples of the various classes that the SRO can teach and provide insight.  The concept is to provide a pro-active measure to try and deter crime before it happens.

Knowledge of a police officer on campus may deter some crimes from occurring, and should a crime occur, the SRO is readily available to provide police service to the school and resolve the issue.

The SRO is part of the school community and part of the community as a whole.  Making these bonds, friendships and connections is what makes the program work.  This feeling of community is what helps the SRO with resolving issues and problems not only in the school but outside in the community.  Children have issues outside of school and having the ability to work with a known, friendly face when the child may be in a time of need is an added bonus to helping someone through difficult times.

The SRO program is long established and has assisted many schools in diverting tragic events.  Recently in New Bedford, Mass., SRO’s were able to resolve a planned attack on the school by some students with a plan to shoot, kill and bomb their school.  Information was developed prior to the event and the SRO’s were able to defuse the situation and bring a peaceful and calm resolve to the event prior to its occurrence.  In Santa Ana, CA., a SRO was able to end a tragic school shooting before mass devastation occurred.  There are many stories about SRO’s around the nation such as these and the ability of the officers to deter, stop or defuse difficult events that can occur.

Presently, Officer Nick Ingle serves in this position.  Officer Ingle is a certified Juvenile Officer and School Resource Officer.  His primary responsibility is the high school, but he responds to calls for service at each school as needed.  Sgt. Eric Batchelder, Supervisor of the Community Services Division at the Guilderland Police Department is also a valuable resource to the school district’s S.A.V.E. Plan.

PART 4:  INTERVENTION/CODE OF CONDUCT

Students who demonstrate behavioral difficulties and social problems may require a range of intervention involving school Child Study teams, social workers, counselors, multiple agencies, community-based service providers and intense family support.  Effective intervention uses multiple, focused approaches over time and can reduce the potential for more serious problems and violence.

Nontraditional or alternative school approaches are available in the middle and high school through FOCUS and Strive for Success.

Strive for Success is another Farnsworth Middle School program offered to sixth, seventh and eighth graders who need assistance with studying and organizational skills.  Parents are also involved in this program.

FOCUS is a school program that provides a success-oriented learning environment for high school students identified as unsuccessful within the regular school situation.  FOCUS assumes a holistic approach to education, dealing with the whole student – intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.

Alternative education programs have offered students who may have given up, another chance at education and success.  Programs such as FOCUS model effective instructional strategies such as high expectations, counseling and family work, use of varied learning styles, expanded academic options, and school-to-work opportunities.

Dealing with Sudden Death and Suicide Procedures

The district social workers have developed a plan for dealing with the sudden death of a student and suicide.  This plan lists procedures for administrators and staff for notifying staff and students, grief counseling for students, sensitivity and help for parents coping with loss and public notification.  The plan contains much helpful information for staff and administrators to deal effectively and sensitively with this issue.

Instructional Support Teams

In each school there is a multi-disciplinary Instructional Support Team composed of teachers, social workers, counselors and therapists.  The teams help teachers and parents of students experiencing difficulty – both academically and socially.  The IST helps identify problems and assess steps toward solutions.  These solutions may involve in-school counseling, behavior plans, alternative education or outside counseling.  Parents, the student’s teacher and, where appropriate, the student, participate in these meetings.

Social Work Services

As a service to our school population, the Guilderland Central School District employs twelve social workers, K-12.

These school social workers provide unique services to students, their families and school staff by facilitating the resolution of situations where behavioral and social barriers interfere with a student’s ability to attain his or her potential.

Social workers provide short-term individual counseling to assist students through crisis situations as they arise (i.e. sudden death).  They also offer group counseling to help students cope with school, family and social stresses (i.e. divorce, separation, death, relocation, academic difficulties, peer problems and school adjustment).  Referrals may come from parents, staff or students.

Through the Academic Intervention Services Initiative, social workers assist the student in identifying causes of their problems, accepting responsibility for their actions, developing decision-making skills, overcoming crisis, enhancing self-concept, resolving conflict without violence, identifying and utilizing resources within the school, home and community, increasing motivation, respecting cultural and physical differences, and improving their attendance.

The school social worker also assists parents in becoming partners in their children’s education.  They provide consultation to parents regarding their child’s academic performance, behavior and developmental needs.  They assist parents in identifying and utilizing community resources.  Crisis counseling, parent education and support are also provided to parents as needed.

School social workers hold a 60-hour master’s degree in social work from an accredited graduate school of social work.  They hold a certification in social work (CSW) through the State Education Department, must additionally be certified through the State Education Department as school social workers, and are bound by professional ethics.  The goals behind school social work are to increase the rate of students’ success:  to facilitate, cooperate and collaborate with team members; to be a liaison for the community; and to provide leadership in working towards the fulfillment of the whole student.

Code of Conduct

The third component of Guilderland’s S.A.V.E. plan is the Code of Conduct.  This was developed by a subcommittee of the District Safety Team.  This has been shared with building cabinets, PTA/PTSA presidents, teachers, G.T.A. presidents, Board of Education Policy Committee, Guilderland School Resource Officers, and students.

To see the Guilderland CSD Code of Conduct please go to the district website at.

PART 5:  PREVENTION/RISK REDUCTION

Guilderland Schools encourage staff and students to take pride in their schools and to experience a sense of community.  In each school many programs and activities offer students the chance to have a  pro-social role in the school and community.  Whether they are involved in a school garden project or taking part in a school club, involvement in these activities grant all student participants the satisfaction of positive action.

Students are involved in school governance through student council and building cabinets, and are members of the Council for Safe & Respectful Schools.  In addition to these organizations, students are involved in social consciousness, peer governing and peer assistance programs.

A partial list of K-12 programs include:

The Alliance; Elementary Study Buddies Program; Natural Helpers              ; Amnesty International; Students & Teachers Against Racism (STAR); Student Government; Bus Buddies; Key Club; YMCA/GCC; Student Gardening Programs; Students Against Hunger; Pine Bush Project; NCBI – MS, HS; Achieving Cultural Togetherness; Peaceful School Bus; Peer Leadership; S.A.D.D. – High School, Guilderland Elementary; Banana Splits; EKP; Martin Luther King programs; Second Step; Strive for Success; High School Advisory.

Another way to empower students is to involving them at every level in carefully created and nurtured school traditions that contribute to a feeling of school community and pride.  For example, some schools establish a school theme or project annually.

At all levels school spirit weeks and assemblies are often a powerful way to involve students and staff in a feeling of togetherness and pride.  Daily connections are made at the middle and high school through use of student/teacher designed news programs.

Violence Prevention/Intervention

1.  Activities have been developed to foster school norms against violence, aggression and bullying.  Wellesley Center for Women’s Bully Proof curriculum, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and the Committee for Children’s Second Step Program are used by elementary and middle school social workers and teachers.  Schools cultivate respect for diversity and celebrate learning, athletics and social education.  PTA’s are highly supportive of student activities.

2. Instructional strategies/skills training is offered to staff and implemented in classroom instruction.

Teachers are trained in best practices in classroom instruction to foster social behavior and effective learning in the classroom.  Workshops offered dealt with classroom management, cooperative learning, handling disruptive students, active listening, academic controversy, brain-based learning, mind mapping and concept attainment.  Administrators and supervisors were part of this training and supervise implementation in the classroom.

3. Teachers and social workers are knowledgeable in assessing students with violent tendencies and helped access treatment.

Staff meetings and workshops have helped teachers address risk factors in students at all levels.

Teachers have been given instruction on student risk factors associated with potential violence toward self and others as well as crisis intervention training.  Any one of these risk factors is sufficient for predicting violence, but it may be inappropriate or potentially harmful to use them simply as a checklist for an individual youth.  These lists should not be used to stereotype or stigmatize individual youth because they appear to fit a set of risk factors.

Personal factors

  • history of tantrums/uncontrollable angry outbursts
  • past violent behavior
  • characteristically resorts to name calling/cursing
  • bullying of peers or younger children
  • history of being bullied
  • a pattern of violent threats when angry
  • cruelty to animals and/or fire-setting
  • use and abuse of alcohol or drugs
  • past suicide attempts
  • often depressed and/or has significant mood swings
  • tends to blame others for problems caused by oneself
  • recent experience of humiliation, loss or rejection
  • excessive preoccupation with weapons/explosives
  • poor peer relations, is on the fringe of peer group with few or no close friends
  • involvement with cults or gangs
  • unstructured time

Family factors

  • family history of violence
  • history of being a victim of abuse
  • severe or inconsistent punishment
  • absence of clear expectations/standards for youth behavior
  • little or no supervision or support from parents or caring adults

Community/Environmental factors

  • extreme economic deprivation
  • low neighborhood attachment and community disorganization
  • past destruction of property/vandalism
  • few organized activities in community for youth

School factors

  • previously brought a dangerous weapon to school
  • aggressiveness in grades K-3, may be combined with social isolation or hyperactivity
  • skipping school, getting into fights, misbehaving in class
  • background of serious disciplinary problems
  • previously been truant, suspended, or expelled for aggressive behavior
  • reflects anger or frustration in school essays/drawings/journals
  • academic failure beginning in grade school (experience of failure escalates risk rather than ability)

4. In addition to staff training, the district has reached out to parents and students on potentially dangerous behavior through parent and student handbooks outlining policies as well as the Code of Conduct.  Brochures on sexual harassment, bullying, and diversity are sent to parents and students at appropriate grade levels.  A particular focus of the district has been on bullying, using the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.  Several parent workshops for elementary and middle school parents have been held.  Student programs such as N.C.B.I. (National Coalition Building Institute) involve middle school and high school students in anti-violence and anti-bullying activities.  “Second Step” is a nationally recognized anti-bullying program which is used in elementary schools.  The district newsletter, Channel 16 Cable TV and the district website also provide information to parents and students as well.

5. Also teachers and staff are annually given copies of policies and procedures in handbooks for responding to implied or direct threats of violence by students or visitors to schools.

PART 6: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR VIOLENCE PREVENTION EDUCATION/CHARACTER EDUCATION

Many of the initiatives in our district’s Professional Development Plan are designed to prevent school violence and to build character.  The most effective character education is based on core values and a philosophy articulated through district priorities.  Each of our schools has made deliberate and effective efforts to embed both district priorities and our core values in the educational lives of students.  These are also conveyed to parents and community through school newsletters, video programs, school events, and district publications.

Effective character education requires an intentional, proactive and comprehensive approach that promotes core values in all phases of school life.  It also includes a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners and helps them succeed.  Our health curriculum K-12 allows time for teachers to address issues of violence prevention and mental health.

Professional development for all staff helps them to identify and constructively addresses potential violence and peer abuse such as put-downs, racial slurs, sexual harassment, insensitive gender remarks, remarks on appearance or economic or social status.  Training such as cooperative learning has allowed staff to promote a team effort, and to create inclusive standards for responsible classroom behavior.  Our implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has been a priority.  Our school’s approach to behavior management emphasizes our core values within constructive discussion, explanation and consequences.  This is what our Code or Conduct emphasizes.

In the district’s Professional Development Plan, our training for staff focuses on developmentally appropriate forms of behavior management.  It offers staff ways to routinely deal with behavior issues in ways that encourage intrinsic motivation and offer students opportunities for reparation while not demeaning the individual.  Violence prevention education goes beyond a Superintendent’s Conference Day and is part of all our staff development.

Our Professional Development Plan for 2018-19 can be viewed on the GCSD website.

Safe Schools/SAVE Activities

Code of Conduct

  • Through our Code of Conduct and staff handbook, teachers are given information regarding policies and procedures on responses to violent behavior
  • Student handbooks, parent handbooks
  • Clear student rights and responsibilities
  • Board of Education policies
  • Violence Prevention Training

Emergency Response Plan

  • Tabletop training
  • Building Level Emergency Response Teams in buildings
  • Codes, tactical plans
  • Handling the media, informing parents
  • Training for all staff

Positive, Safe Physical Environment

  • Guest management, security
  • Securing doors/video monitors added
  • Traffic patterns
  • Cleanliness, order
  • Lighting
  • Subcommittee on Security

Issues in Respect

  • Council for Safe & Respectful Schools
  • Sexual harassment training
  • Bullying Prevention
  • Expected student and staff behavior
  • Hazing Policy

Safety To and From School

  • Transportation/discipline
  • Driver training, Peaceful School Bus
  • Cameras on buses
  • Safety assemblies, bus drills
  • Parking lot safety
  • Bus Buddies
  • Cyber bullying Safe curriculum I

Student Empowerment

  • Council for Safe & Respectful Schools
  • Natural Helpers
  • Second Step
  • Youth Court
  • Peer Leadership
  • NCBI
  • District-wide Safety Committee
  • Leadership/Allies Training
  • Character Education

Violence Prevention Training

  • Conflict resolution, crisis intervention
  • Classroom management
  • Educational Karate Program
  • NCBI

Early Intervention

  • Instructional Support, social work services
  • Study Buddies
  • Anti-bullying curriculum
  • Anger management, friendship clubs
  • Suicide Plan
  • Primary Bridges Intervention Program
  • Character Education

Instructional Strategies/Curriculum/Staff Development

  • Cooperative Learning
  • Health curriculum
  • Wellness Day, Wellness Week, Wellness Policy
  • Academic Intervention Services
  • Expanded summer school
  • Alternative programs – New Start, FOCUS
  • Block scheduling
  • Standards
  • Summer curriculum work
  • Technology applications
  • Second Step
  • Hooked on Health Committee
  • Response To Intervention

Parents

  • Council for Safe & Respectful Schools
  • Education programs
  • PTA links
  • Parent volunteers
  • Task Force on Bullying & Harassment

Community

  • Website news, PTA Webpage
  • Guilderland Community Partnership
  • Senior Citizens
  • Newsletters
  • TV
  • Service Learning
  • Gardening Projects
  • YMCA/GCC
  • Pine Bush Project
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

 

Public Hearing: May 21, 2001

Available for Public Review: July 1, 2001

Adopted by the Board of Education: July 10, 2001

Available for Public Review: May 20, 2002

Updated and Approved: June 25, 2002

Available for Public Review: May 27, 2003

Updated and Approved: June 24, 2003

Available for Public Review: June 9, 2004

Updated and Approved: July 6, 2004

Available for Public Review: June 1, 2005 

Updated and Approved: June 21, 2005

Available for Public Review: June 1, 2006 

Updated and Approved: June 20, 2006

Available for Public Review: June 1, 2007

Updated and Approved: June 19, 2007

Available for Public Review: June 1, 2008

Updated and Approved: June 24, 2008

Available for Public Review: June 9, 2009

Updated and Approved: June 23, 2009

Available for Public Review: July 1, 2010

Updated and Approved: August 17, 2010

Available for Public Review: July 5, 2011

Updated and Approved: August 16, 2011

Available for Public Review: June 19, 2012

Updated and Approved: June 21, 2012

Available for Public Review: June 18, 2013

Updated and Approved: July 1, 2013

Available for Public Review: June 17, 2014

Updated and Approved: July 1, 2013

Available for Public Review: July 1, 2015

Updated and Approved: August 18, 2015

Available for Public Review: July 5, 2016

Updated and Approved: August 16, 2016

Available for Public Review: July 5, 2017

Updated and Approved: September 12, 2017

Available for Public Review: June 12, 2018

Updated and Approved: July 5, 2018

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