Once again, we have seen the reality of a school shooting. This time, it hit closer to home. We now find ourselves wondering how we will be able to prevent something like this from happening again. And, we pray that nothing like this will happen in our own district.
Over the past few months, we have heard from many of you regarding ways to keep our kids safe. While there is not one answer or one solution, we know that something must be done—we must work together to make an impact. We promised parents and staff to listen and be intentional in the tools and tactics selected to help provide the safest possible learning environment for our students and our staff. On behalf of the board of trustees, we intend to keep that promise.
PARENT AND EMPLOYEE SURVEY RESULTS
More than 1,500 of you took the time to respond to our safety and security survey. From reviewing your feedback, we now know the vast majority of you feel that Wylie ISD schools are safe. We appreciate your confidence in us, and we will work hard to maintain this trust. We also requested ideas for improvement and asked you to rank the safety initiatives in the order you would prioritize them. Here are the results:
1. Installation of buzz-in systems
2. SRO’s at every campus
3. Staff members in the front offices at all times
4. Bullet-proof glass in campus windows
5. Implementation of the School Marshall Program
6. Requirement of students and staff to keep doors locked at all times (not propped open)
7. Safety training for students on safety plans
8. Installation of metal detectors
9. Practicing of enhanced drills
10. Safety training for parents on safety plans
11. Additional fencing added to all campuses
Thank you for your feedback, suggestions, and patience in this process. We have explored all of these initiatives with the goal of finding solutions that are consistent, sustainable, and practical. There are many things that could be done; but, we are going to balance what the community wants with what first responders say has the greatest potential for keeping kids safe.
NEW SAFETY AND SECURITY MEASURES
If you read my blog back in March: Vinson Safety & Security Blog, you know that we have a comprehensive emergency plan and work very closely with our first responders on any decisions we make. We are moving forward with the following safety initiatives at all Wylie ISD campuses.
SCHOOL ENTRY-CAMERA/BUZZER SYSTEMS
(Priorities 1, 3, & 6)
Installation of camera “doorbells” at all campuses, requiring visitors to request access for entry this summer, ready for 2018-19 School Year.
Installation of additional entry camera/buzzer systems at larger campuses based on size and need.
Limits access and provides entry to visitors using the camera and buzzer systems.
UPGRADED CAMPUS ELECTRONIC ENTRY SYSTEMS
(Priorities 1 & 6)
Upgraded campus electronic entry systems (Priorities 1 & 6)
Upgrade and standardize door access control systems software.
Standardizes all software systems.
Allows for easier automated scheduling that is upgradeable and expandable.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED STANDARD RESPONSE PROTOCOL (SRP)
(Priorities 7, 9, & 10)
Enhances and standardizes our current plan.
Nationally recognized system utilized by schools and universities across the country.
Includes training for staff, students, and parents.
Endorsed by the Texas School Safety Center.
REVISED/ENHANCED LOCKDOWN DRILLS
Varies the time of drills to provide realistic emergency scenarios.
INCREASE PARENT AWARENESS OF AND PARTICIPATION IN EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION PROTOCOLS
Wylie ISD utilizes a variety of communication tools all designed to keep parents informed. These include:
Wylie ISD (Award Winning) mobile app (PLEASE ENROLL!)
Parent notification systems
Assist county and state officials in providing them with a better understanding of how safety legislation affects us at the campus level.
Share survey data and other feedback with our elected officials.
Collaborate to find practical solutions for issues related to mental health.
SCHOOL RESOURCES OFFICER/SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR MONTHLY MEETINGS
(Priorities 2 & 9)
Increases consistency, collaboration, and communication.
Timely forum to discuss threats, climate, current issues, and other items related to safety and security.
SCHOOL MARSHALL PROGRAM
Survey results also conveyed a strong support of the School Marshall Program. We heard you and will be spending next year reviewing how this program works and how it could be a benefit if implemented in Wylie ISD. Consideration of a program like this takes time and a great deal of collaboration from multiple agencies, thank you for patience as we provide more consideration this option.
Following the Santa Fe High School shooting, Governor Abbott talked about two areas that he believes can make an impact on school safety: securing entrances and focusing on the mental health of students. We agree with his mindset, and many of the new safety plans are related to these specific concerns.
Recently, Wylie ISD was featured on a national news story for the design and safety features at George W. Bush Elementary. The link to the story can be found below.
Bush is a new campus, and its features will serve to guide the way for changes being made at campuses across the district. Very soon, all Wylie ISD campuses will have the same entrance enhancements and protocols that are currently present at Bush. For some campuses (Akin and Birmingham), this will call for renovations to provide office staff with a better view of who is approaching the school. Later this summer, we will be sending more information regarding new visitor procedures.
Securing/Limiting High School Entrances
Our high school campuses have multiple entrances. Securing and limiting entrances is a consideration Governor Abbott is asking schools to review. With both campuses located in Wylie, we are working with Mayor Hogue, Wylie Fire & Rescue and Police Department to evaluate and secure high school entrances and exits.
Beginning this fall, we will have a crisis counselor at both high schools. This trained mental health professional will work with our most at-risk students and help ensure no child “falls through the cracks.” Working together, we can make a difference for our students with the hopes of tackling and treating students with mental health issues.
HELP, SUPPORT AND LOVE FOR OUR KIDS
We will never be “done” with safety. However, we can always be proactive in doing all we can to make safety a priority. We will continue to listen to our teachers and families. Our goal is that together, we will make decisions that help you feel safer. YOUR INPUT AND VOICE IS VITAL! If you have a question, idea or concern, please let us have a chance to help you before it’s posted on social media. My email is email@example.com, if you don’t hear back from me in a day or two, you got spammed, please call my office at 972-429-3000
Please keep both the school board and me in your thoughts and prayers as we move towards these decisions and find even better ways to keep our babies and employees safe. I love your kids like my own and keeping them safe from harm is my priority. I am so grateful for our Wylie family and consider it an honor to serve you. The greatest is love, and we love your kids, the Wylie Way!