Mr. Chamberlin's Community Email 2-19-18
February 19, 2018
Dear Parents, Guardians, Students, and Faculty:
Thank you for your thoughtfulness and insights in response to the Florida tragedy. It is heartening to hear from so many people who care so deeply about the school community.
Over 20 events were held this fall to provide information about the School District facilities and to understand community member perspectives. The safety and security of the schools was a common theme and concern. Fundamental principles were provided as part of every presentation. One of the most important factors in school safety is the relationship between faculty/staff and students/families. It is essential that students see faculty and staff as sources of support. Students need to be able to feel comfortable sharing their concerns about a friend to someone at the school. The same is true for parents and guardians. The hope is that parents/guardians feel comfortable reaching out to faculty and staff with concerns. The District work in implementing the mission of care places these relationships as a priority. Deliberate and purposeful care supports academic achievement and school safety.
That being said, specific actions addressing school safety are currently underway. A comprehensive plan to improve school security is in development and will be presented to the Hopkinton School Board in March. There are three major components to this work:
1. Increasing the Security of the School Buildings
The Facility Project Safety and Security Subcommittee put forth a plan to increase safety by transforming the entrances of the schools into spaces where a personal greeting would take place in a controlled access environment. The School Board prepared for an alternative plan if the project was not supported in March. The alternate plan is to control access remotely. Though the remote process is not as effective as the personal greeting, it is far superior to our open schools and meets the standard of most schools. The District applied for a grant and is currently seeking support to develop a bid for this project. Approximately $400K is available to improve safety in our schools.
2. Training for Faculty and Staff
With support from Chief Pecora and the District's Safety and Security Committee, the District will be updating its response to intruder training. The training will follow recommendations from Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) organization.
3. Education of Our Students
Due to the support of a community member, the District is exploring programs provided through the Sandy Hook Promise Organization. The training includes support for improving school climate (Start with Hello), the importance of sharing concerns with an adult (Say Something), and advocacy (Students Against Violence Everywhere).
The District continues to do its best meeting the academic and social/emotional needs of our students. It certainly is a challenge in these difficult financial times.
Thank you for your support. It is a privilege to come to work every day to support and care for members of the school community.
Steven M. Chamberlin
Superintendent of Schools