School Security and Emergency Preparedness Assessments…
- Identify specific strategies to make your schools better prepared and more secure for children and staff
- Reduce crime, violence, and disruptive behavior risks
- Reduce potential liability risks
- Improve school-community relations on safety issues
What is a “School Security and Emergency Preparedness Assessment”?
Our security and emergency preparedness assessments provide educators with an independent appraisal of safety measures already in place, and recommendations for enhancing those measures with improvements at the building and district levels. School leaders use our security and preparedness assessments in multiple ways:
- Risk management tool for reducing crime and violence threats, risks, and potential liability while strengthening emergency preparedness.
- School-community relations tool to demonstrate a district’s commitment to security prior to a crisis.
- Documentation of school district needs in advance of a levy campaign, or as part of a grant proposal.
School security and preparedness assessments are district-specific to address your unique concerns and needs, not pre-packaged comments and forms with a few name changes. They are designed to help educators be proactive, not reactive, with school safety.
And at National School Safety and Security Services, we believe it is important for our assessments to reflect both the positive safety measures already in place, as well as the areas for continued planning and improvement. Our final assessment reports are designed to be used as a strategic planning tool — not an attack on a school’s management and credibility.
What is evaluated in school security and emergency preparedness assessment?
Areas reviewed by National School Safety and Security Services can include:
- School emergency and crisis preparedness planning
- Security, crime and violence prevention policies and procedures
- Physical security measures including access control, communications, intrusion detection systems, perimeter security, after hours security, physical design, and many related areas
- Professional development training related to safety and emergency planning
- Examination of support service roles in school safety and security, including facilities operations, food services, transportation, pupil services, physical and mental health services, technology services, and associated school departments
- School security and school police staffing and operational practices,
- Linking of security with prevention and intervention services
- Personnel and internal security
- Communications and social media strategy, crisis communications, and community building techniques
- School-community collaboration and partnerships with public safety agencies
What methods are used by our team?
Our preK-12 school-specific security and emergency preparedness experience has allowed us to create a structured, specialized assessment process which can include:
- Analysis of policies, procedures, emergency and crisis guidelines, and other safety-related documents
- Surveys and structured interviews with staff, students, parents, first responders and other members of the school community
- Crime and discipline data review
- Examination of physical facilities and grounds, physical security measures and related issues
- Analysis of related news, crime, and other information from public sources that may indicate how the community views the schools
- Review of crisis and other communications mechanisms, social media strategy, and related areas
- Examination and problem-solving of safety concerns unique to a given school and school district
To save you time and money, we provide a pre-assessment checklist of documents and data we would like to review to help us identify specific information for analysis before we arrive on-site. As consultants who have first-hand experience working in school districts, we are flexible and will try not to disrupt the educational process while working in schools with our clients.
The number of evaluators can range from a two-person consultant team to multiple teams of evaluators, depending on the size of the school district and nature of the assessment. This will be discussed in advance with the client district. Each lead evaluator/consultant has over 30 years of full-time experience in the school safety field and every project is led by our president, Ken Trump. On-site assessments may also be linked with our training programs.
Communications and social media evaluation in safety assessments
We can work with your administrators and communications staff to review communications policies and protocols, identify ways to coordinate messaging with partner agencies, and share the latest strategies, from traditional to digital media. Our expertise comes from extensive news reporting and newsroom management at media companies across the nation. Our work with preK-12 public and private schools connects us to your challenges: from dealing with violence to building support for a school levy campaign. We can give you skills to take control of this critical aspect of managing school safety and running a school system. See our study of more 800 violent threats to schools which found more than 1/3 of the threats delivered by social media and other electronic forms.
Our final assessment consultation report
Our findings and recommendations are submitted in a final written report to school officials. We focus our reports to reflect both the positive school safety measures already in place at the time of the evaluation, as well as areas for continued planning and improvement. The final assessment report can be used as:
- An independent source of professional information to create realistic activities and measurable goals for short-term security and emergency preparedness improvements and long-term strategic plans. Our assessments provide detailed recommendations.
- Part of an overall program evaluation to periodically measure progress and make revisions in established school security and preparedness programs.
- A concrete public relations tool for demonstrating a commitment to having a thorough, external, and professional assessment of security and emergency preparedness, as part of an overall prevention, intervention, and school safety program.
- Evidence of having conducted a professional needs assessment that can be used to meet federal and state grant proposal requirements for safety and emergency planning funds, as we all identification of specific local needs for future district funding plans.
Should we expect security assessment recommendations to focus on hardware and manpower?
As school security professionals, we recognize the unique needs of elementary and secondary schools when applying security concepts. We understand that educators wish to take a balanced, rational approach to improving security without adopting a siege-like mentality. In conducting an assessment, we approach the process with the idea that security needs and strategies often vary from community to community, district to district, and even school to school within a district.
While our assessments for some districts may result in recommendations for security equipment and/or staffing, we believe that even then, these tools are a supplement to, but not a substitute for, an overall comprehensive security program. A predisposition toward equipment or any other single approach is unfair, and may be unnecessarily costly to schools.
A camera, for example, could cost you unnecessary expenses – or it could save your school thousands of dollars. An assessment of your unique security needs can help you manage your limited resources effectively.
What do assessments cost and what funding is available for assessment services?
Costs for assessments are based on the number of sites to be evaluated, on-site time, pre-assessment material review, completion of the final report, and travel time. Quotes are given based on this information and will reflect consulting fees, plus all expenses (travel, lodging, meals, etc.).
Progressive school administrators know that school safety can no longer be viewed as a luxury that can only be addressed if one-time grant funding exists. School leaders are learning that safety is a “pay now or pay later” situation. Investing in safety up-front can minimize your risk of crises that can impact children, staffers and families for the rest of their lives. It can also mitigate recovery costs, lawsuit losses, and long-term damage to your school-community relations.
Have other educational leaders found your school security and emergency preparedness assessments to be helpful?
Our assessments have consistently received top grades. We have extensive written reference letters from school boards, superintendents, and administrators that we provide to prospective clients considering our services.
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