Articles in the American School Board Journal category

Safety experts to advise school leaders in NSBA webinar

The school shootings in Newtown, Conn., have left school leaders searching for ways to make sure they are keeping their students, staff, and communities safe from harm.

When looking for advice, it’s best to seek out people who have experience – and Shamus O’Meara and Rick Kaufman certainly fit the bill. O’Meara, a partner with the Minneapolis law firm Johnson Condon, Attorneys at Law P.A., represented and advised the Red Lake and Rocori school districts in their school shooting incidents. Kaufman was the communications director for Colorado’s Jefferson County School District during the Columbine High School shootings 13 years ago.

Both men will be featured in a free webinar for school leaders, administrators, and school attorneys: “Planning For and Managing the School Crisis You Hope Never Comes.” The webinar, sponsored by NSBA’s Office of General Counsel and the Council of School Attorneys (COSA) will be held Friday from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST. Register at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/219019864.

“We hope that this webinar provides school leaders and attorneys with a solid foundation for review or development of school emergency plans and procedures,” says Sonja Trainor, director of COSA. “We are deeply thankful to Shamus O’Meara and Rick Kaufman, both national experts on school emergency planning and response, for giving their time and expertise for this webinar.”

O’Meara will discuss the importance of school safety plans as “living and breathing, not stuck in drawers,” he says. “School leaders, administrator, parents, and students — everyone involved with the school should take ownership of plan, so we are safely educating our students.”

In the decade since the Columbine High School shootings and 9/11, awareness about the need for security in public buildings, including schools, has been heightened, says O’Meara. And schools also have recognized that they are not alone in dealing with security and safety issues.

“A number of partners have to be involved, not just law enforcement,” he says. “Mental health, counseling services, and social services – they all need to be part of a dialog that is in turn part of school safety planning.”

One aspect of a good safety plan is how to communicate to parents, staff, students, and the community during and after a crisis. Kaufman, who is now director of community relations and emergency management for Minnesota’s Bloomington Public Schools, lived through the nightmare of Columbine.

The Columbine shootings changed the landscape of school security and raised questions of school climate. The biggest change that Kaufman has seen since the Colorado shootings has been the rise of social media use and the speed in which information travels. He encourages school districts to consider communications through many different ways.

“Districts must respond very quickly through different channels. If your district doesn’t use social media, you will be caught behind the eight ball in dealing with the crisis,” he says. “You can’t rely on just email or a rapid notification system.”

Through his work with the National School Public Relations Association, Kaufman helped in the development of rapid response teams of school communications professionals that are available to help districts that are dealing with a crisis.

O’Meara and Kaufman will offer strategies and resources for school leaders, and will be responding to questions during the webinar.

 

Kathleen Vail|December 19th, 2012|Categories: School Law, Announcements, School Security, School Climate, Board governance, School Buildings, American School Board Journal|Tags: |

School security articles available at American School Board Journal

In her 2006 article, “A Measured Approach,” which was written after several school shootings by individuals with no connection to the schools, American School Board Journal editor Naomi Dillon wrote: “From fostering a positive and inviting school climate, to teaching and modeling good behavior, to encouraging students and staff to be the eyes and ears of the building, schools can do a lot to make themselves unsuitable targets for unstable individuals.”

The horrific events in Newtown, Conn., have most of us looking for answers again. As school leaders, you are searching anew for information on security – disaster planning, safeguards, and the kind of prevention described in Dillon’s article. ASBJ can help provide that information for you: The magazine has published many articles on school safety for school leaders over the years. Usually only open to subscribers or available for purchase, the articles will be open to the public at our topical archive, Safe From Harm.

At the top of the list of articles is a look back at the Columbine shootings – interviews with the principal, counselor, superintendent, communications official, and others who experienced the events on that day in 1999.

Other articles include: “Communicating During a Crisis,” by school safety expert Ken Trump, who gives tips on how make sure your schools have well-developed and exercised safety and crisis plans and your staff is trained to implement them.

In “Safe From Harm,” ASBJ law columnist Ed Darden notes that a get-tough stance is tempting, but compassion and conversations are just as important.

Dillon writes of the importance of disaster planning in “Do You Have a Disaster Plan?”

Many other articles are available for reading and for download.  Please give us your feedback on what other kinds of security articles you’d find most useful.

 

 

Kathleen Vail|December 17th, 2012|Categories: School Law, Crisis Management, School Security, School Climate, School Buildings, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , , , |

School security issues at the forefront of December ASBJ

Vandalism — destroying school property — remains a constant problem for many if not all school districts. Senior Editor Del Stover, in American School Board Journal’s December cover story, online now, looks at ways that districts combat the issue. Cameras, lighting, and extra personnel are all options. However, some districts are looking at how caring  relationships among adults and students can be the ultimate deterrent.

Also in the new issue: After a national report revealed that black and hispanic students are suspended at a higher rate than white students, many schools are backing off from rigid zero-tolerance policies. Senior Editor Lawrence Hardy chronicles how districts are working to decriminalize student discipline.

When you visit ASBJ online, take the Adviser Facebook poll on whether school security cameras work and check out our webinar offerings.

Kathleen Vail|December 4th, 2012|Categories: School Law, School Security, School Climate, School Buildings, American School Board Journal|

Nov. ASBJ explores the role of civics education, social media in creating engaged electorate

The presidential election has dominated the campaign season, but local leaders know it’s not the only thing of importance on the ballot. Along with bond referendums to fund capital projects, school board candidates will be vying for open seats— and many will be employing social media to help them do it, as you’ll learn in November’s issue of the American School Board Journal.  

In “Campaigning with Social Media,” Senior Editor Naomi Dillon explores the role Web 2.0 tools like Twitter and Facebook have increasingly played in school board elections. 

It’s a companion piece to Senior Editor Lawrence Hardy’s article on civics education, which many say is essential to getting the next generation to understand the importance of engaging in civic life in the first place.

And on that note, don’t forget to exercise your right and vote on Election Day.

Naomi Dillon|November 2nd, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , , |

What would you do if parents wanted creationism taught in science class?

In the November edition of the American School Board Journal, the Adviser Poll poses this scenario to our readers:

A group of parents and others who attend a large church in the school district began regularly attending board meetings to lobby for the teaching of creationism in the science curriculum. Administrators strongly objected.

The board wanted to be respectful of cultural and religious beliefs in the community, but also felt it was their responsibility to provide a strong foundation in science to the students. What should they do?

Vote and tell us what you think on ASBJ‘s Facebook page.

Naomi Dillon|November 2nd, 2012|Categories: Curriculum, Religion, American School Board Journal|Tags: , |

Nominate your district for a Magna Award – deadline extended to Nov. 9

The Magna Awards 2013 program is extending its deadline for nominations to November 9 because of the widespread power outages in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and eastern portion of the Midwest following the recent storms in those regions.

The Magna Awards is a national recognition program co-sponsored by the American School Board Journal, NSBA, and Sodexo School Services that honors school board best practices and innovative programs that advance student learning. Three grand prize winners each receive a $4,000 contribution from Sodexo.

Learn more about the Magna Awards and nominate your program.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|November 1st, 2012|Categories: Announcements, NSBA Publications, NSBA Recognition Programs, American School Board Journal|Tags: |

Magna Awards featured on Education Talk Radio

If you’re planning to nominate one of your school district’s programs for American School Board Journal’s (ASBJ) Magna Awards, be sure to listen to Pittsburgh Public Schools Board Member Mark Brentley talk about his district’s experiences as a Magna Awards grand prize winner. He joined by ASBJ Publisher Glenn Cook and Sodexo’s National Wellness Director Roxanne Moore on Education Talk Radio.

Pittsburgh Public Schools, was a 2012 Magna Awards grand prize winner in the more than 20,000 enrollment category for their “Take a Father to School Day” outreach program aimed at increasing the participation of fathers and other male role models in their schools.

Listen to Education Talk Radio on Blog Talk Radio

The Magna Awards is a national recognition program co-sponsored by ASBJ,  National School Boards Association, and Sodexo School Services that honors school board best practices and innovative programs that advance student learning. Magna nominations are judged according to three enrollment categories (under 5,000 enrollment; 5,000-20,000 enrollment; and over 20,000 enrollment). One Grand Prize Winner in each category receives a $4,000 contribution from Sodexo School Services. There are five additional winners and five honorable mention winners within each enrollment category.

Learn more about the Magna Awards and nominate your program on ASBJ’s website. The deadline is Oct. 31, 2012 for nominations for the 2013 Magna Awards.

Alexis Rice|October 12th, 2012|Categories: Urban Schools, Board governance, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , , , , |

Linking schools and businesses: An ASBJ webinar

School and business partnerships can be tricky. Hear how one school district has navigated the challenges of these partnerships in an upcoming webinar presented by the editors of American School Board Journal. It will be held Thursday, Oct. 18, from 1 to 2 p.m. EDT. Register here.

Virginia’s Newport News Public Schools has developed a Career Pathways initiative to create “college, career, and citizen-ready” students. These school-business partnerships have garnered widespread community support and convinced a growing number of business and community groups to invest human and financial resources to help create a better-educated and better-trained workforce.

The free webinar will feature Newport News Public Schools Superintendent Ashby Kilgore, along with other key players of the initiative, explaining how school leaders can use partnerships to transform the educational experiences for students while providing a payoff for the business community. And be sure to read the recent ASBJ article on creating school-business partnerships.

Kathleen Vail|October 12th, 2012|Categories: School Boards, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |

October issue of ASBJ highlights the importance of building bonds

Perhaps only in Hollywood, does the phrase “If you build it they will come,” make sense. In contrast, school districts, must convince taxpayers to come along and help fund capital improvement projects before ever breaking ground.

It’s a tall order and an increasingly difficult one for districts in today’s political and economic climate. But a series of articles in October’s ASBJ illustrates how savvy school districts can improve their success rate, before, during and after launching a bond referendum campaign. 

Speaking of campaign, this month’s edition also features a special section on the 113th U.S. Congress and the issues these two chambers will face.

This probably goes without saying, but don’t forget to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6!

Naomi Dillon|October 2nd, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal|Tags: , |

What would you do if your community was reluctant to pass a bond issue?

October’s ASBJ Adviser Poll asks readers to weigh in on this scenario:

A school district badly needed to repair and rebuild several school buildings, but the community kept voting down the bond measures. The school board had always been fiscally responsible and frugal— so frugal voters were not accustomed to being asked approve a tax hike. In the midst of yet another bond issue campaign, what should the board do?

Tell us what you think and cast your vote on our Facebook page.

Naomi Dillon|October 2nd, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |
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