We want our schools to be safe and welcoming learning environments that nurture the cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being of all students, staff, and families. We believe that the safest schools are those that foster a climate of support and respect and that instill a sense of community. Building security, incident response and threat assessments are vital components as well.
Our schools have always had strong emergency procedures and safety protocols in place, and going forward we want to be more transparent and proactive in sharing this information with you.
We do have a few updates pertaining to Wisconsin Act 143, enacted by the Wisconsin Legislature in March 2018 to encourage school districts to analyze and improve their emergency procedures and protocols.
Included in Act 143 is a new reporting requirement mandating that all staff must report any threats of school violence directly to law enforcement officials. During Welcome Back days, all school-based staff, including MSCR staff, were trained in this new requirement.
Per Act 143, we are also currently doing new safety assessments of all of our schools. We aim to have these completed by January 2019.
Our Building Services and Technical Services staff have been working through the summer and fall to improve our infrastructure related to security, and this work will continue into next summer and beyond.
Specifically, upgrades including additional cameras, real-time perimeter monitoring with dual-authentication access control and wireless electronic classroom door hardware will take place at Lake View Elementary and La Follette High School in December and January.
Upgrades at the other high schools and up to five other schools who have the most outdated interior door hardware will be next. Our team has a goal of completing these upgrades at all sites by the end of the summer of 2019.
We also purchased 450 cameras early this fall. Most of these new cameras will be installed in coordination with door upgrades. Wiring associated with the perimeter door monitoring and access control will allow for efficiencies in this installation.
We plan on designing, bidding and installing a VoIP phone system with mass notification capabilities including reverse 911, classroom specific PA, wireless handsets capable for building-wide PA announcements, and preset mass notifications to families. Planning and bidding will happen throughout the 18-19 school year. It is our goal to have new phone system installed by beginning of the 2019-20 School Year.
We’re currently developing a website where you can learn about our current policies and procedures as well as stay updated on the progress of work being done now and in the future to keep our schools safe. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us or to your child’s school with any questions or concerns.