Dear Chimacum Families,
I hope this new month has started well for you. I want to share a little about our work for student safety- kind of a mid-year report and update. Safety is our number one priority and that means we have to think about possibilities we’d rather not think about. My hope is that we at the district can think about them so you don’t have to. This long summary might take a few more sips of tea or coffee but please settle in!
First, we will have some important campus projects all wrapped up by this fall. This includes the safety entrance vestibule at the junior/senior high school, an office visitor “buzz-in” system at each school campus, enclosing the breezeway at CES, and fencing and gates around our main campus (project postponed and rescheduled because of the December snow). I am proud of our facilities team and administrators who have made our places more secure.
In addition to these changes, we have improved our communications and planning efforts with Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, East Jefferson Fire, and Jefferson Emergency Management. Our meetings have gone well beyond introductions and getting to know each other, and are now getting into the weeds on communications protocols, planning for disasters and active shooters, and getting clear about incident command, post-disaster plans, and other emergency needs. We have had two “tabletop” exercises with more planned before year’s end. You may have also noticed that deputies and firefighters are making more informal visits to get to know our students and staff.
We are also addressing school-based concerns regarding school violence, bullying, harassment, and the like. We have updated policies at the board level on everything from child abuse and neglect to discrimination. We have increased our counseling team by 1.4 people and are piloting a violence prevention program called Yes! at CJSHS in collaboration with the University of Washington. We will be finalizing a comprehensive counseling plan this spring. Our teachers and support staff continue to engage the social and emotional needs of students at all levels. These efforts will improve emotional and physical safety for our students and staff at school.
We have had staff training focused on developmentally appropriate active shooter response, suicide prevention, supporting escalated students, and reporting suspected abuse or neglect. We have monthly drills at all levels that help students and staff practice evacuation and other moves in an emergency.
Last but not least, here are some things to know about communicating with you about emergencies and safety.
In the event of a school emergency, you will get text and email, and we will make website changes as quickly as we can and update you as any ongoing event unfolds or shifts.
If a safety incident occurs we (either the district office or the school, and in some cases both) will communicate to you about the event if the event was close to your student or student’s class, had the possibility of affecting more people than just those close by, or merits a communication about a more substantial or unusual event. We will err on the side of telling too many people and endeavor to balance rumor control and keeping your trust and confidence. You may receive communication after an investigation is complete and/or safety precautions are in place- this could slow some communications down to hours rather than minutes.
We are obligated to protect every student’s privacy in our communications.
Every situation is different and we endeavor to keep everyone safe and informed.
If you have any questions about our emergency planning, please let me know or reach out to your principal.
On a separate note, I will be on family leave from February 13 through March 7, and Dr. David Engle will be here in my stead. You can contact our office or Dr. Engle if you need to.
Dr. Scott Mauk, Superintendent