Hello IDEA Families,
We are incredibly excited to welcome over 83,000 students to IDEA campuses for the 2022-2023 school year. Over the summer, our campus leaders and operations teams have been working hard to prepare for the new school year, and safety is always our main priority. As part of our commitment to safety and security, IDEA will make a multi-million-dollar investment across the district in campus security measures and upgrades.
We believe the best school safety and security program is multi-layered with components of both emotional and physical safety. We’d like to remind families of our safety and security measures and share a few updates on how we are expanding safety resources across work to strengthen safety and security at every IDEA campus.
At IDEA, our campuses are closed campuses with only IDEA students, staff, parents, and authorized visitors allowed on the premises. Approximately 93 percent of IDEA campuses are surrounded by seven-foot iron fences and motorized gates, and we are currently working with city and neighborhood officials on fencing options at the few remaining campuses that will complete perimeter fencing.
All campus visitors must check in at the main entrance of the campus, present a photo ID, and be scanned through our Raptor visitor management software. All exterior building doors are always to remain locked, and campus facilities teams will perform daily sweeps to ensure doors remain closed. This summer, we examined every gate, exterior door, and interior door to ensure all locking and closing mechanisms function properly.
Crisis Prevention and Response Training
Every IDEA staff member is required to be trained annually in safety and emergency operations planning. In addition, every IDEA campus has a crisis response team (Campus Crisis Team) comprised of campus principals, counselors/social workers, health aides, PE coaches, and other team members. Each crisis response team member must undergo 30-36 hours of training in campus security, crisis prevention, and crisis response.
Every IDEA campus conducts a minimum of 23 drills per year, including fire, hold in place, building evacuation, shelter for severe weather or hazmat, securing all exterior doors and gates, and active shooter drills. While we hope never to have to use these drills in a real-life scenario, we know that it is critical to prepare for any situation.
We know emotional safety is an incredibly important aspect of student safety. IDEA students will engage in lessons with their teacher using the curriculum “Move This World.” The program provides social-emotional learning (SEL) training using interactive videos, movement, and creative expression to help students develop emotional intelligence skills for long-term wellbeing. In addition, each campus has a school counselor available for ongoing emotional support for IDEA students. Your school counselor will share more about how to access “Move This World” from home and ways to support your child’s social-emotional health in the weekly parent newsletter and on your campus Facebook page.
Campus Health Clinics
Every IDEA campus has a campus health clinic available to students throughout the school day. This year, we’re excited to announce IDEA has invested in hiring a second health aide at our 34 fully-scaled K-12 campuses to provide additional health support in our busiest clinics. We’ve also expanded our in-clinic telehealth services to all IDEA campuses and parents can opt-in to this service that allows their student to see a doctor through video conferencing.
As always, we believe students learn best in person and that schools can operate safely with responsible health and safety precautions in place. Our campus is a safe learning environment, and we have incorporated many of our COVID sanitation practices into our daily operations to keep our students, staff, and communities healthy and safe. Masks are available at every campus but not required, and we ask that all families continue to screen children at home for symptoms.
We will continue to share additional campus-specific safety information as needed throughout the year. Thank you for entrusting us with your most precious assets. We do not take this responsibility lightly and look forward to seeing you on the first day of school.
Collin Sewell and Jeff Cottrill