In light of the recent school shooting in Florida, I wanted to ensure you are aware of the multiple ways that we ensure safety in our schools here in G-E-T. There are three primary ways we address school safety: physical security measures, emergency training and drills, and socio-emotional learning and supports.

Regarding physical security, all doors to our buildings are locked throughout the school day and there are buzzers with cameras at each primary entrance. This allows us to control access to our buildings and determine if there is a threat before individuals enter the building. Classroom doors are always locked and can be quickly closed and barricaded. Additionally, we have cameras with recording systems at the middle and high school and we have intercom and PA systems at each building to ensure we can communicate with all staff at any time.

For emergency training and drills, we have a certified ALICE trainer on our administrative team and all of our staff are trained in these procedures. ALICE training gives our staff skills in assessing a threat and reacting in a number of different ways based on the circumstances. We have worked with the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s department in delivering and practicing this training. We practice emergency drills throughout the school year with staff and students in an age appropriate way. While this can be scary, we take the appropriate amount of time to prepare students and to present the drills in a way that conveys the seriousness while taking into account the age of the students.

Lastly, we focus most of our attention on socio-emotional learning and supports. Physical security measures and training are only useful after something bad is happening. We want to ensure something bad does not happen by addressing students’ and families’ needs before they become an issue. We provide socio-emotional learning opportunities 4K-12 through classroom teaching, responsive classrooms, PBIS, classroom guidance lessons, and health classes. We meet as building teams to discuss students who seem lost or need additional support to ensure they have a positive connection with others in the building. We also provide additional support through school counseling, special education, the school social worker, County services, and site-based mental health treatment.

We feel confident that we are doing as much as we can to ensure the safety of our students and we are continually seeking new ways to provide a safe learning environment. If you have concerns or would like to learn more, don’t hesitate to call your building principal or the district office.