Community Message March 2018

Community Message March 2018
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March 2018

Welcome back from spring break! It is always nice to have this break as we head into the last months of the school year, but that was particularly true this year in the wake of the tragic events in Parkland, Florida. It has been a difficult time for school communities around the nation as we all try to make sense of the heartbreaking loss in Florida and take action to ensure that our own communities remains safe.

Today, safety precautions and procedures are embedded in how we operate as a school district. We train and prepare for emergencies and have systems and people in place to prevent them, including our School Resource Officer (SRO). Our SRO is a member of the Windsor police force and part of our school community, building trust with students and keeping our schools safe every day. Additionally, in partnership with North Range Behavioral Health, we recently funded a full-time mental health professional who, like the SRO, serves students across the district.

While each Weld RE-4 building is getting important security upgrades (funded by the 2016 bond), keeping our community safe really comes down to relationships. Reporting information to a trusted adult or Safe2Tell is the best way for students to keep themselves, their friends, and our community safe. Time and again, our students have shown courage and done the right thing, speaking up when they become aware of something that could put themselves or their school in danger. As a community, we need to continue to encourage our students to speak up.

If you are not aware of Safe2Tell Colorado, we encourage you to spend a few minutes learning about it. Safe2Tell Colorado gives students, parents, and community members a safe, anonymous way to report any threats to their safety or the safety of someone else, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reports can be made via phone (1-877-542-7233), web report, or mobile app. A trained Colorado State Patrol dispatcher reviews tips, collects information, and puts that information into a report sent to the school and law enforcement officials.

As a district, we are tremendously fortunate to have such a strong relationship with our law enforcement agencies. Our discussions over the past several weeks, following the Florida incident, have been about preparedness and prevention. We are committed to doing more to ensure that our staff understands the procedures we have in place and to offer them additional training opportunities to increase their confidence. We also hope to fund another SRO position starting in the 2018–19 school year to grow the already positive law enforcement presence in our schools. In addition, we believe that North Range Behavioral Health’s new counseling center in Windsor (opening spring 2018) will have a positive impact on our entire community, with its services for those who are facing life challenges, including substance use, stress, depression, and anxiety.

Over the past few weeks, as we have taken parent calls, sat down with law enforcement, and spoken with school leaders and educators, it has become clear that the safety of our students and staff is a priority shared by all. Our community is filled with caring people whose instinct is to reach out and be there for each other, as evidenced by Windsor Kindness Week. Events like this build a sense of community and facilitate critical connections among even our youngest residents. Kindness Week may have a designated spot on the calendar, but the ideals it promotes are practiced every day in our community, and that positively impacts the safety and well-being of our students as much as anything else does. Thank you!

Dan Seegmiller
Superintendent, Weld RE-4 School District