Tight school budgets and decreasing school safety grants are making school emergency planning more challenging today.
The Metropolitan School District (MSD) of Wayne Township in Indianapolis, Indiana, has a solid record of being a leader of Indiana school corporations in school emergency/crisis planning. Under the leadership of Dr. Terry Thompson, Superintendent, and a proactive school board, the district’s security/school police and emergency planning process has received consistent support for keeping students, staff, and facilities safe.
Doug Scheffel and Cheri O’Day, along with colleague John Maples, are currently leading the implementation of the district’s federal-funded Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) grant. Doug, Director of Safety and Security, and Cheri, Director of Elementary Education (formerly the Chief Communications Officer at the time of this interview), share how the REMS grant is helping their district strengthen its already solid school emergency plan:
I have had the good fortune of consulting with MSD Wayne Township not only on this REMS grant, but also on a prior REMS project at the onset of the REMS program. As noted in the interview, the current REMS grant is helping strengthen areas including:
- Revising and updating school crisis plans
- Training administrators and support staff on the latest best practices in school emergency planning
- Formalizing evacuation sites
- Creating new, updated emergency communications contact lists
- Strengthening parent-student reunification processes
and much more.
The REMS school emergency planning grant has helped school districts across the nation improve prevention and preparedness efforts to better prepare schools for preventing and managing school crises. MSD Wayne Township is a wise school district which does not rest upon its laurels, but instead works to strengthen the many positive school safety measures which have been in place for many years.
What is one of the most important lessons of school emergency preparedness? As Cheri O’Day says in this interview: Know your plan and practice it!
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