Priority Number One (By Dr. Dawn Nichols, Head of School)

Dawn Nichols
As we head into the final quarter of the school year, and before we become immersed in all of the end-of-school activities, I’d like to share upcoming initiatives in our continuous efforts to address campus and student safety, one phase of which will be implemented during the summer months.
 
As any parent would, you likely have concerns regarding your child’s safety as it relates to drugs and alcohol.  As educators, we have the same concerns. Our campus should be a place of safety to ensure a positive, secure learning environment for all. In support of that goal, we are taking a two-pronged approach: education and monitoring. We encourage students to think critically and make good decisions. During all-school assemblies, we invite professionals in drug and alcohol counseling to speak to the student body. In fact, this week we are extending the invitation to parents and caregivers to participate in such a presentation by Jeffrey Swan, M.A., LPC, “Drugs and Alcohol, a Parent Primer,” on Wednesday, April 12, at 7:00 pm in the Gloria Delgado Theatre. All parents are encouraged to attend the presentation and discussion about this important issue. Upperclassmen already participated in Mr. Swan's presentation, and lowerclassmen will attend next Wednesday during school. Another method for sending a strong message regarding any infraction is to invite the local police and a K-9 unit to campus.  We will partner with law enforcement to conduct random K-9 patrols during school hours.
 
We continue to oversee campus activities closely, and we are augmenting our abilities to further campus safety in two ways: video monitoring and anonymous alert reporting.  Regarding the first initiative, we are in the process of upgrading our camera surveillance of common areas around campus. When the project is completed, we will have 47 cameras to help with campus security; one of those will be placed on a corner of the gym with the ability to read a license plate as far away as the parking lot entrance. This will be a complete upgrade of our current video surveillance, replacing three different systems with one. A further means of aiding campus safety is to introduce a software application that allows anonymous reporting of concerns by students and staff. We have researched the idea and have learned that it is an effective tool. We are considering a product for that purpose for use by our entire school community to call attention to safety concerns, drug and alcohol issues, or other situations that may warrant attention by school officials. The app allows students, parents and other school personnel to maintain their confidentiality, while providing an important service.
 
Please rest assured that our school respects the right for your children to feel protected and confident while they are at school – every day and at every activity. Should you have any questions, please direct them to Mr. Brian Moreland, Dean of Students.
 
Sincerely,
Dawn Nichols
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