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Connellsville Area School District

A Letter Regarding Student Safety

October 3, 2017


Dear Parents, Staff and Community Members:


Keeping your children safe while at school is our district’s top priority.

Listed below are several safety measures currently in place designed to safeguard students and to affect positive student learning in the classroom.  As always, I welcome your comments and would be delighted to discuss any ideas or concerns you may have regarding the matter of school safety or emergency preparedness.   Through the district's partnership with ABM Industries and the consolidation of buildings, the district has increased a number of security measures that are now in place.

Our nation has been impacted by frightening violence in our public schools and public places over the past few years. As a district, we are making changes to ensure we are putting the safety and security of our students and staff at the forefront in many new initiatives.  Consider the following:

Visitor Registry:  All visitors have to register with the front office before having access to the building; this is currently done with the Raptor System, which tracks a variety of information, to include Registered Sexual Offenders data.

District Identification Badges:  All district staff, as well as all visitors will prominently display district generated ID badges at all times when inside a building during school hours.

Security Camera Systems:  We have more than 300 digital cameras in our schools to monitor activity inside and on building exterior perimeters.  Through this system, we have seen a noticeable decline of incidents within our buildings.

Controlled Door Access:  All exterior building doors are remotely controlled and/or monitored.  This allows for quicker response time in the event of an emergency in which doors need to be accessed or locked.

School Police Officer Program:  The board of school directors at the September 2017 meeting authorized the formation of the Connellsville Area School Police Force.  We will be providing a guard for each of our buildings to have a presence and be in the building as a precautionary measure.

Multihazard Emergency Operations Plan:  This plan encompasses many issues designed to prepare the district for a multiplicity of emergency events.  District crisis management teams discuss these issues throughout the year in order to be prepared to respond in a timely and accurate manner should the need arise.

PBIS-Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support Programs:  PBIS is a systems approach to increase our school's ability to educate all students by implementing research based, school wide, and classroom behavior support systems.  Strong evidence supports that PBIS creates a safe and productive learning environment where teachers can teach and all students learn.

Crisis Communications Plan:  The district has a robust system in place whereby key administrators are informed of an emergency situation.  In turn, parents and other stakeholders can be informed within mere moments through the use of Edlio Parent Notification System and other forms of social media.  The goal is to quickly and accurately communicate essential information to first responders, district staff, and parents and community members such that the safety of your children is maintained throughout an event.

A.L.I.C.E. Training: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate : ALICE training has been ongoing in district buildings with both staff and student training sessions.  We will continue to foster a community of awareness and action when confronted with building situations that require lockdown or evacuation.

In light of a recent event that took place on our high school campus, the Board of School Directors policy committee will be meeting to tighten and strengthen our processes and procedures  that are in place regarding cyber bullying and the use of electronic devices that promote continued disruption within our district.  Bullying through social media, video recordings, sharing of disturbing video and photographs that continue to cause undue harm on our students must and will stop! For those who do not comply, extreme consequences will be in place. 

I trust you will agree that we have the people, processes, infrastructure, and crisis communications plan in place throughout our district to help safeguard our children.  If and when an emergency arises, our district staff is thoroughly trained to respond in a timely and accurate manner.  Of course, I consider the matter of school safety the business of the entire Connellsville Community.  I ask you to keep your eyes open and to report any unsafe condition or matter to your child’s principal, or to me...and always call 911 if an emergency exists.  Together, we can continue to create a broad and superior security network for the safety of students and staff.

In our district, your children come first.  Thank you for entrusting them to our care.




Philip Martell