October 2019: Safety Is Our First Priority
From Superintendent Jodee Brentlinger
The start of a new school year is a wonderful opportunity to discuss safety. The Solana Beach School District (SBSD) Board of Education, myself, our school leaders, and staff put your children’s safety as our number one priority. We know that a crucial part of academic achievement and success is students feeling safe and comfortable in their learning environment, which includes classrooms, school grounds, and traveling to and from school.
Safety is a collaboration between schools, families, and community organizations, including our parent organizations, cities, county, local law enforcement, and fire agencies. We have worked diligently to build strong relationships and stay informed and communicative about safety protocols, practices, and technologies. We believe it is equally essential that our families take time to review age-appropriate safety topics, such as safe routes and staying alert to your surroundings while walking to and from school.
I would like to highlight some ways in which SBSD prioritizes safety among students, staff, volunteers, and families.
- Social Emotional Learning (SEL). You will hear us continuing to talk about and practice SEL this year, including the message of #YouMatter. Each school has a team approach involving professionals, such as school psychologists, counselors, guidance assistants, teachers, and professional support staff to incorporate SEL strategies and practices that promote student learning, life strategies, and more.
- Safe Routes to School. It is a good idea for families to practice walking to and from school with their children to ensure safe routes. We also recommend reminding children about putting cell phones away while walking in order to stay aware of their surroundings. Children should stay in a group or with a walking buddy, and pay attention to traffic and crosswalks when crossing streets. If a child encounters a “stranger danger” situation, students should notify a trusted adult at school or at home immediately.
- Safe Campuses. Our schools have up-to-date safety plans in place, which are supplemented by a countywide School Protection and Evacuation Plan. Also, District facilities staff, plant foremen, and custodians work hard to keep our campuses in tip-top shape throughout the year. SBSD schools should not only be sources of community pride, but also places where we feel safe and comfortable to learn, teach and gather.
- Safety Drills. At the start of each school year, we review earthquake, fire and lockdown procedures with students and staff. We want to ensure that we all know what to do and where to go in an emergency situation. Our local law and fire agencies collaborate with us and will often visit our schools to share tips and important information. On the morning of October 17, all SBSD schools will again participate in The Great California Shakeout, an annual earthquake drill.
- Cybersafety. How students are taught to use technology, the Internet, and other forms of entertainment today is incredibly important to safety. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. SBSD incorporates cybersecurity practices into its schools and classrooms as part of the academic program, but we ask all families to help us keep children safe when using these tools. Common Sense Media is a great online, nonprofit resource for our schools and families to use for advice and tips on keeping our children safe. I strongly encourage you to look at their website, www.commonsensemedia.org.
- Anti-bullying. Our Board of Education has established policies to promote anti-bullying throughout our schools. Students learn about ways to promote kindness and respect in their interactions with others. I encourage you to discuss any bullying concerns you may have with regard to your child with your child’s teacher or principal.
- Red Ribbon Week. Nationally, schools participate in “Red Ribbon Week” activities each year. This year’s national event is October 23-31, and the theme is “Send a message. Stay drug free.” The theme is a call to action to speak out in support of healthy choices.
- We Tip (800) 78 - CRIME. If you witness a crime on or near one of our schools, please report it to: (800) 78 - CRIME.
The safety of students, staff, and visitors to SBSD schools is always at the forefront of our work, so please feel free to share information with your children’s teachers or school principal in order to continue our collaborative commitment to keeping our children safe.