Student safety, leadership training among upcoming KASB workshopsAndrea Hartzell
In the aftermath of school shootings, parents and educators are searching for ways to stop the tragedies.
Perhaps not surprisingly, new data reveal districts nationwide are spending billions of dollars hardening their buildings with increased security measures and the latest surveillance technology.
KASB’s Randy Weseman, a former school superintendent, however, offers research and timely data that suggest the best way to address violence in schools is to implement evidence-based models of threat assessment to mitigate and ultimately prevent school violence.
That involves opening up lines of communication and trust between schools and law enforcement, within buildings between staff, students and parents, and enlisting the aid of everyone in the community, he said.
Weseman will conduct three sessions on making schools safer. They are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. July 17 at The Cedars in McPherson, July 18 in Colby at the City Limits Conference Center and August 7 in Olathe at the USD Education Center Board Room.
“While it is important to have lockdown drills and technical solutions like video surveillance, those are put in place to react to situations that might develop,” said Weseman, who serves as KASB’s assistant executive director for operations and leadership services. “We will discuss models that are cost-effective and work to prevent incidences of violence in school populations,” he said.
Weseman noted recent data from several studies of school violence incidents show that in nearly 87 percent of instances, someone, if not many in the school population, had information on what the perpetrator’s intentions were but that information didn’t make it to those who could take action to prevent the incident.
“The best sources (of information) are the people in the schools; the kids, teachers and parents,” Weseman said.
Schools should consider implementing an evidence-based threat assessments model to complement their current safety efforts, he said.
On Oct. 28, KASB will host a school security meeting with team trainers who work with Dr. Dewey Cornell, a forensic clinical psychologist and education professor at the University of Virginia, who is the principal author of the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines, which is an evidence-based model of school threat assessment that is being used by an increasing number of schools across the nation. More details on that meeting to come.
Board leadership training
In addition to school safety, KASB is conducting numerous other workshops and events through July.
On July 22 in Garden City and Goddard and July 23 in Greenbush and Hays, KASB will conduct training for school board presidents and board leadership teams.
The day-long meetings are for board presidents, vice presidents, clerks and superintendents, said Brian Jordan, KASB’s deputy executive director of leadership services.
“We are helping board presidents work through the challenges that come up when boards disagree or struggle with focus,” Jordan said. The training will also include discussions on legal issues, bringing new board members on board and how to provide a quality board agenda.
Also on July 23 in Topeka, KASB will have training on McREL’s evaluation system — both for how principals are evaluated and how principals evaluate teachers.
Beginning July 30, KASB is starting a new structure to regional meetings, known as regional round tables, where board members will have the opportunity to network and discuss issues with fellow board members.
The meetings, which will run up to three hours, will feature important discussions on various topics through the year.
A list of these and other meetings scheduled for July and August is included on the back page of this issue of the School Board Review. Additional information and registration details can be found at kasb.org/training.