School safety plans reviewed

By Drew Stambaugh - [email protected]

The Swanton Board of Education heard an update on safety planning from high school assistance principal Steve Smith at their meeting Wednesday.

Smith first spoke of ALICE training, which in an emergency moves away from doing everything a possible gunman might ask to being more proactive. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate, which are the steps to take in an active shooter situation.

Smith, placing a blue bucket on the podium, told the board about safety buckets, which are sometimes known as “go buckets.” Every classroom in the high school has the buckets and there are plans to place them in each building. They could be used inside the classroom or brought when fleeing a room or the school.

Anything can go in the buckets, but Smith first pulled out golf balls. “The idea is that you throw these things head level to distract the gunman,” said Smith.

The buckets could also include tennis balls, a ball peen hammer, and gauze or cotton for injuries.

“The idea is that you’re buying time until law enforcement gets there by putting up resistance so we don’t have as many causalities,” said Smith.

The emergency response safety system, NaviGate Prepared, was also discussed. NaviGate Prepared was developed by Ohio-based Lauren Innovations specifically for K-12 schools, and uses cloud-based technology to better prepare and assist school officials and first responders before, during, and after a crisis.

“They have so much more visuals to work with through using this program that the police know everything there is to know, pretty much, about your building, each of the buildings, before they get there,” said Smith. They can pull it up on their phone or computer and based on information from the district, they can see what they are dealing with, he added.

Also at the meeting, as part of the treasurer’s report, the board approved several donations to the district. Among them were donations of $2,500 from the Dorothy Louise Kyler Foundation to both the football team fundraising account and the wrestling team fundraising account.

Other donations approved included $1,800 from Savage & Associates to the permanent improvement fund, $1,410.50 from Friends of the 8th Grade Class to the eighth grade trip, and $1,000 from Swanton Church of Nazarene to Backpack Buddies.

Other business

• The board approved a list of 2016 graduates, pending completion of requirements.

• The board approved a service agreement with the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center. The item was approved 5-1 with Chris Nijakowski voting no.
• The term of Roger Truckor on the Swanton Public Library Board of Trustees was renewed. The new term expires December 2022.
• An overnight trip for the girls basketball team to a camp at the University of Notre Dame June 24-26 was approved.
• The board approved a middle school student council leadership trip. The trip is to attend the Ohio Association of Student Councils retreat this March in London, Ohio.
• Multiple personnel items were approved including the retirement of bus driver Margie Baumgartner and resignation of Ella Shelley, librarian. A one year contract for Marla Kusz to be a library aide was also approved.
Building Reports
Crestwood Elementary School Principal Angela Belcher reported that kindergarten screening will be March 23-24 this year. Kindergarten will not be in session that day because every kindergarten teacher, as well as some other members of the staff are involved in the screening.

“Having five subs in an entire grade level for two consecutive days becomes problematic for students in general but especially for students that depend on consistency and their teacher’s expertise,” she said.

Belcher also reported that the school is appealing inaccurate reports that affect the recent K-3 literacy grade.

At Park Elementary School, principal Paulette Baz reported that state testing will begin in April. She also reported that Dental Health Associates had healthy teeth presentations with third and fourth graders.

Middle school principal Matt Smith reported that the school has begun working with Penta Career Center on a plan to partner with them for the after school program. Penta recently sent three instructors to conduct a science lab and future plans include showing students how to program video games.

At the high school, a Junior Achievement Day was recently held for juniors, according to the report. It was also reported that the school will host teachers from Mali, Egypt and Latvia.

The transportation report included an update on how bus inspections will be done. They will now be done by only civilian inspectors, as the Highway Patrol has the desire to put more officers on the road. Due to this more help will be needed from school officials.

Transportation director Jason Divoll also reported that the district is short on substitute bus drivers.

By Drew Stambaugh

[email protected]

Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise

Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise