The July 14, 2022, Safety & Student Wellness ad hoc meeting started with updates from stakeholder group liaisons. Liaisons have connected with scores of organizations, including non-profits and neighborhood sessions. They have held in-person and virtual feedback sessions and also offered on-one-one interviews.
Safety and Student Wellness Ad Hoc Committee
The Board of Education has voted to establish an Ad Hoc committee relative to Safety and Student Wellness. The committee is composed of 13 people recommended by the Board of Education, with Board member ananda mirilli and student Gordon Allen as co-chairs.
With the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued gaps in community mental health and wellness services, this committee aims to collaborate with youth, families, school partners, district staff, and community leaders to address root causes of student disengagement and behavior.
Mission/Charge of the Committee
The mission of the committee is to create and implement a vision of Safety & Student Wellness through community engagement and action. This work will include making recommendations to the Board of Education around strategies and creating a system of accountability among partners and stakeholders.
- What is our vision for student safety and wellness?
- What would you like MMSD to do differently or more?
- What are you committed to doing to support our vision?
Membership and Meeting Frequency
Four stakeholder groups will allow the core group of voting members to engage with stakeholders in order to keep them informed of the work, and provide opportunities for feedback.
At the start, the committee plans to meet every other week. They may reduce that cadence to once per month, as the committee sees fit. At this time, they anticipate meeting for 18 months.
At the June 30th committee meeting, members discussed the possibility of adding a form to the website inviting people to offer feedback, whether directly related to the guiding questions or unrelated. Communications will work with committee leaders to add this.
Members again discussed some challenges they feel schools face in communicating in a timely manner when safety incidents occur, with some stating that staff, students, and families should receive transparent and more timely communication. Members plan to invite additional staff from the Superintendent's office, MMSD's legal department, and the district's critical response team to a future meeting to discuss these concerns and learn more about current practices. It was also suggested that some principals from elementary, middle, and high schools be present as well for their perspective.
At the last committee meeting on April 12, 2022, the committee agreed to build on their exploration of their guiding questions (what is your vision for student safety and wellness, and what would you like MMSD to do differently or more) as they prepare to eventually make formal recommendations to the Board of Education.
However, with the Uvalde, Texas school shooting massacre occurring just two days before this meeting, members paused to take time to process and reflect on their feelings about the tragedy and how the incident is impacting their feelings about school safety.