The Initiative focuses on three broad areas: detection and prevention; response during a crisis; and post-crisis response. It offers a research-based structure in which school personnel, students, parents and community members can build relationships and communication channels that support school safety. The addition of School Safety Officers throughout the state allows for another layer of support to assist with organization, implementation and management of safety procedures and protocols. These individuals will not replace the Prevention Resource Officers (PROs) housed within many schools.
In addition to enhanced communication and coordination among school, community and emergency response partners, the School Safety Initiative utilizes the See Send app. This technology, created by the company My Mobile Witness, Inc., is also compatible with web-based reporting systems, and allows users to submit information easily and anonymously about potentially threatening behaviors or activities.
“We live in an age that requires this level of collaboration, planning and organization to optimize our school safety efforts,” said WVBE President L. Paul Hardesty. “The Board appreciates the Governor’s directive that allowed the WVDHS to quickly access the complexities of school safety measures and the various roles our partners serve in protecting our students. The resulting initiative offers communication and collaboration at a level that did not exist previously. The Board expects that all counties will comply with efforts to enhance security measures through the components of this plan.”
“School safety is a top priority that requires our continuous and unwavering support and attention,” said State Superintendent of Schools David L. Roach. “I am grateful for the work of the Department of Homeland Security and the collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to bring this high-level plan to fruition. We look forward to our ongoing work of protecting our most valuable resource – our children.”
The report is available on the WVDHS website.
In other WVBE news, the Board paused to honor Dr. Kathy D’Antoni for an international recognition the WVDE Office of Career Technical Education (CTE) earned during her tenure. She served as the CTE Officer before retiring in 2020.
The CTE Simulated Workplace program, an initiative implemented statewide under Dr. D’Antoni’s leadership, was named one of 16 innovations in the U.S. for pushing the boundaries of exceptionality and effective learning models. The recognition was a part of the Learning Forerunners Across America report issued by the global nonprofit education group HundrED. This organization, based in Finland, researches education innovations around the world to consider their impact and scalability. While the WVDE previously announced this important award, Covid restrictions prohibited proper recognition.
No policies were placed on public comment during the October meeting.
The next regularly scheduled WVBE meeting is 9 a.m., Wednesday, November 9, 2022, in Building 6, Room 600, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia.
For more information, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or Christy.Day@k12.wv.us.