Activity 1: A Comprehensive Framework for Safety and Security in Schools

Activity Guide

Safety and security in today’s schools encompasses a broad variety of factors that contribute to well-being and learning. NASSP has collaborated with five organizations to provide you with a framework for school safety as well as for increasing social and academic support for your children and youth. “Efforts to improve school climate, safety, and learning are not separate endeavors. They must be designed, funded, and implemented as a comprehensive schoolwide approach that facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration and builds on a multitiered system of supports.” (“A Framework for Safe and Successful Schools: Executive Summary,” p. 1).

To inform a conversation with your administrative team/steering committee, school leadership team, and other school staff and community members,  “A Framework for Safe and Successful Schools” is introduced here for investigation and discussion. The Framework, informed by research and proven practice, uses the process circle to guide school teams as they implement and monitor effective safety improvements for schools in the K-12 continuum. This activity will enable your school teams to address school safety and security in a systematic and effective way.

Activities for Collaborative Staff Conversation

Resources

Materials

This activity begins with using the discussions and research of the administrative or leadership teams to facilitate the introduction of this information to the full school faculty. Suggest to team participants that they read and highlight/underline all evidence that they find in the framework that emphasizes the importance of process and planning for safety and security in their school. Call attention to the fact that the components of the process wheel are identified in Module 1, Activity 1 of Leading Success. After participants have read the executive summary, debrief the reading in two parts-Part I: Policy Recommendations and Roles, and Part II: Best Practices for Creating Safe and Successful Schools.

Part I:  “Policy Recommendations” (pp. 1-4) and “Roles” (pp. 8-10)

Process

  • Convene the school leadership team for a discussion and exploration of ways to use the process/strategies in the executive summary.
  • Distribute links or copies of the reading to each member of the team prior to the meeting. Encourage the participants to read the selection-highlighting, annotating, and noting important points.
  • Divide the team into discussion groups of three to five people and distribute the Discussion Prompts for Part I to each discussion group. Ask each group to assign a recorder to summarize the responses to the Discussion Prompts for debriefing. Allow sufficient time for rich discussion.
  • Allow readers to share several observations from the text about the importance of policy recommendations and roles to support effective school safety. Consistently ask, “How well are we doing with implementing these recommendations in our school?”
  • Reconvene the leadership team to debrief and summarize the small group discussions.
  • Again, have the team sit with the discussion groups of three to five people and distribute the Discussion Prompts for Part II (below) to each group. Ask each group to assign a recorder to summarize the responses to the discussion prompts for debriefing. Allow sufficient time for rich discussion.
  • Reconvene the leadership team to debrief and summarize the small group discussions.
  • As a team, begin to plan the process of bringing the staff together as a whole for a rational and productive discussion of the policy recommendations, best practice recommendations, and staff roles in the Framework. The presentation process used by the leadership team can be replicated easily for the presentation to the whole staff. Leadership or administrative team members might be assigned as facilitators for the full faculty. Collect the recorded discussion summaries for use in planning by the safety team.
  • The executive summary-which condenses the powerful information detailed in the full document-along with the team summaries of the policy recommendations and best practices recommended for implementation at your school will provide the safety team with information to review and potentially use in revising plans and processes. Use the techniques in the Extend and Apply section for an in-depth discussion of the complete document or the excerpts valuable to your school environment.

Extend and Apply

  • Convene a meeting of your safety team. Divide the group into small groups of three to five, depending on the size of your team. Provide the link to the “Framework for Safe and Successful Schools.” Ask the participants to read the selection prior to the meeting-highlighting, annotating, and noting important points.
  • Have the group use the discussion prompts in Part I and Part II to begin the conversation. Ask a recorder to summarize the responses to the Discussion Prompts for debriefing. Allow sufficient time for rich discussion.
  • Allow safety team members to share several observations from the text that are important to support effective school safety.
  • Allow readers to share several observations from the text about best practices for creating effective school safety.
  • Ask the team to prioritize its top three recommendations from each section in the reading and check for gaps or overlaps in information.
  • Distribute and/or post on chart paper the summaries provided by the reporters in the team and faculty meetings. How do their recommendations compare with those of the safety team? How do your discussions impact the policies and practices in your safety plan?
  • Have your facilitators work with your safety team members to develop or revise your safety plan and strategize to implement the needed recommendations. Use the Discussion Guide Planning Template to plot changes to your school safety plan and lay out the processes for implementation. Utilize the planning templates to identify personnel and implementation timelines.
  • Utilize the planning templates to identify personnel and implementation timelines.