Champlain Valley School District
School Safety Information
At CVSD, we believe that a safe, healthy and welcoming school environment is crucial to the development and wellbeing of students. Providing this environment is a team effort involving parents, teachers, school administrators, local law enforcement, first responders, and other members of the community. The components of our plan include strong relationships with students and effective social and emotional programs, proven physical security assets, and well-understood emergency protocols.
Here are some ways CVSD is working to make our community safe and secure.
The Three R’s of a Safe, Welcoming, and Healthy School Environment: Relationships, relationships, relationships: The key to safe school environments is strong relationships. At CVSD we work hard to ensure that every student has at least one trusted adult in the building to turn to when needed. We have strong programs, policies, and procedures for the prevention of Bullying and Harassment and are reinforcing the power of empathy and compassion with our focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills. Finally, we are building trusting relationships with law enforcement with a full-time School Resource Officer at CVU and visits from local officers to positively engage PreK-8 students.
Physical Upgrades: Through grants provided by the Governor’s Safety Council in 2018, CVSD was able to make security improvements in all of our schools. Most noticeable are the improvements at the entryways of our schools helping us to better control who has access to our students / your children, during the school day. We have also made improvements to alarms, intercoms and other emergency communication tools.
Emergency Access Protocol: To help maintain the safety and security of students and adults in our community all CVSD schools utilize an access control and visitor management procedure. Many of our schools require you to use a video doorbell before gaining entry and all schools require guests and visitors to sign in before being permitted to move throughout the building. Though our friendly and professional greeters know many of you, please be prepared to show identification in case asked.
Safety Teams: Each CVSD school has a School Safety Team which meets regularly with local emergency responders to review and evaluate our emergency procedures and stay up to date on emergency protocols from the State of Vermont. In 2019 we have established a district safety committee to help establish best practices and coordinate regional security measures.
Emergency Protocols: CVSD schools routinely practice safety drills so that staff and students can quickly and calmly: evacuate in the case of fire or other environmental hazards, secure themselves away from an emergency inside the building, or lockout a situation occurring outside the building. For many years now, students have participated in these drills on a schedule set by the Vermont Agency of Education.
Active Threat Response: At the recommendation of the Vermont Governor’s School Safety Council, the Agency of Education, and the U.S Department of Homeland Security, CVSD has begun the transition to what is known as an “options based” response protocol for addressing the unlikely presence of an active threat in our schools. The protocol we have chosen – Run, Hide, Fight – empowers people to choose a response to an active threat situation based on the information they have in the moment, known as situational awareness.
Adults in our PreK-8 buildings will be trained in these protocols. Students in these buildings will be trained, as they have been in the past, to either shelter or evacuate as quickly and quietly as possible. At CVU, students as well as staff, will be trained in Run, Hide, Fight. Parents of CVU students will be informed before and after each of these new drills. CVSD does not intend to have any unscheduled active threat drills, and we do not believe in causing trauma through play acting or other high-intensity practices.
Violence in schools is not a topic any of us want to think about, but in today’s world, it would be irresponsible to not be prepared. At CVSD we believe the actions described above strike a good balance in protecting our school community without causing undue anxiety to our children.
Messages to FAmilies and Caregivers
We use a messaging system to inform CVSD families of important and time sensitive information. It has come to our attention that often times families and staff will see a call coming in from the school number and rather than listen to the message they call to ask what the message is about. This inadvertently ties up the line for families who need to call us because of the content of the message.
We ask that you make sure your mailbox can accept messages and that you listen to the message to see if it impacts you before you call school. This will allow the school line to be available to those families who truly need to contact us.
We sincerely appreciate your understanding and support in this matter.