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    July 20, 2023

    School’s Out! Do You Have the Right Safety and Wellness Solutions in Place?

    It’s summer when school superintendents and administrators can put aside day-to-day teacher evaluations, parent meetings, and operational matters to focus on the bigger picture. Summer is a time to review the past year and plan for next year…and beyond. As you lobby for budget, supplies, and programs, wellness and safety programs are likely high on your list of priorities—and this is the ideal time for superintendents and board to evaluate their programs.   

    With the rise in school shootings, teen suicide, and food and housing insecurity, districts are tasked with developing and implementing physically and emotionally safe environments that foster positive student outcomes. The board demands it, parents demand it, teachers demand it, and the larger community demands it. 

    Most districts already have a rudimentary wellness program and safety protocols; some have more advanced tools and processes. Where are you on the spectrum? Equally important, what are the best solutions given your location, student population, budgetary constraints, personnel, and other resources? 

    Identify District Needs Early in the Process

    Getting lost in the web of companies, programs, and technologies offering solutions is easy. Answering some basic questions—internally and of solutions providers—is the only way to consider relevant solutions that best meet your objectives.

    Before going too far into thinking about specific solutions, think critically about the current status of your safety and wellness programs. What are some of the factors you, your board, and school administrators should consider in finding solutions that will deliver the best outcomes? 

    Decision makers can get on a solid footing by starting off with a mile-high view, coming to an agreement on basic parameters and qualifiers, including:

    • Strengths and Weaknesses: Where you are meeting—and not meeting—objectives related to safety and wellness, including processes and protocols, technologies, internal communication, relationship with first responders, mental health and special needs supports, bullying, violence, and more.  
    • Holistic Approach: The types of solutions, tools, and support the district needs to support better a holistic approach to long-term wellness, crisis prevention, and emergency response 
    • Current Capacity: Your current capacity to achieve safety and wellness goals, along with associated limitations, such as budget, counseling personnel, technology, and community resources 
    • Roles and Responsibilities: Agreement on well-defined, clear roles and responsibilities for administrators and the board.  

    It can be tempting to rush through this initial phase and jump right into looking at specific solutions. However, failure to come to an agreement on these broader issues can result in a lack of focus, disjointed decision-making, and fragmented solutions.   

    Ensure Solution Support When Evaluating Products and Services

    You'll explore potential solutions once your team agrees about district needs, priorities, and overall approach. Your decision will largely rely on the solution’s capabilities and its potential to help meet your objectives. But don’t underestimate the importance of support.

    Support can be looked at in two ways. The first is how well the solution supports your objectives and if it performs as expected. The second is how well the company supports you in leveraging the solution to its fullest, addressing any concerns swiftly and accurately. 

    The only way to know if you will have the support you need is to ask the right questions about who you work with from the company, methods of support, and how they use technology, including mobile apps. Below are 10 essential questions—and what to look for—to ensure your district will have comprehensive support if you select their solution.   

    10 Questions to Ask about Safety and Wellness Solution Support

    1. Limited Resources: Can we build capacity to expand the counseling, psychological support, and crisis support we offer—both during and outside of work hours?  

    What to look for:

    • 24/7 trained crisis counselors, with a text option focusing on immediacy, ease, and convenience
    • Training in warning signs, with a multi-focus approach that includes a SEL, Safety, & Wellness curriculum and threat assessment training
    • Out-of-hours incidents or requests for help management, with experts trained in the proper escalation of situations
    2. Speed: How can we ensure we act quickly and accurately in an emergency?


    What to look for:

    • 24/7/365 Crisis Center with certified specialists
    • Consistent monitoring, management, and immediate notification of officials and 911 (as needed) when incidents or requests for help are submitted

    3. Personalization and Flexibility: Can we provide individualized help because our schools have different environments and populations?

    What to look for:

    • Personalized reporting of incidents and requests for help are configurable to fit your district’s needs
    • Emergency processes and protocols individualized for each district

    4. Administrator Support: Who can we call when there’s a problem, question, or concern with the solution your company provides?

    What to look for:

    • Dedicated Customer Experience Manager
    • Extensive onboarding training and ongoing support

    5. Documentation and Reporting: How can we keep track of what’s going on over time to evaluate and adjust ongoing district needs?

    What to look for:

    • Reporting on both incidents and outreach for help
    • Standard reporting on tip types, day of the week, time, and other relevant data
    • Dynamic reporting system and framework that can be individual for your specific data needs.

    6. Compliance: Can the solution ensure I comply with regulations

    What to Look for:

    • A company that is knowledgeable about compliance issues
    • Documentation that allows you to reference, track, and/or gather inputs to comply with your organization, state, and federal policies

    7. Anonymity: What if students don’t feel safe reporting problems to school personnel

    What to Look for:

    • Capabilities for individuals to anonymously report safety, misconduct, or compliance concerns
    • Trained crisis counselors available conveniently through text and other online methods
    • A system that educates, gathers, manages, informs, and documents submissions and actions

    8. Team Communication: How can I be sure emergency responses are coordinated within the school and with first responders?

    What to Look for:

    • The ability for assigned team members to receive and act upon incidents or events
    • Team members can share information and dialogue with one another
    • Ability to communicate with first responders in real-time

    9. Multiple Submission Types: Can we submit incidents or events based on the available technology, whether in or out of the office.

    What to Look for:

    • Incident and event submissions are available via mobile app, website, and telephone hotline
    • Submission allows users to gather and submit actionable information, including screenshots, photos, audio, and videos

    10. Data Security & Privacy: How can we ensure that we adhere to privacy and security guidelines

    What to Look for:

    • Technology and infrastructure that ensures data is safe, secure, and kept private

    The coming school year is fast approaching, and the pressure is on to make sure your plans are in place. As you review all of your annual objectives and plans, work with the board to consider if you are meeting safety and wellness objectives and the support you need to reach your objectives.

    StopIt Solutions delivers maximum support to K-12 school districts through our comprehensive offerings and our the ability of our customer relationship staff to help you get the best results from the safety and wellness solutions you rely on. Contact us to find out how you can reach this year’s objectives with STOPit’s Anonymous Reporting System, HELPme K12, and our 911-Direct Panic Alert System.  

    school health & safety

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