Talon News - Good Local News

By Kirk Carpenter



November 2, 2018


By Kirk Carpenter, Special to TALON

Sandy Hook Promise Program Implementation and Other Safety Updates

As you all know, as a district we are committed to doing all we can to keep our students and staff safe. A lot has happened since the last time we wrote about safety in our district and more will be happening in the coming months and throughout the school year.

Say Something Anonymous Tip Application

We have fully implemented two of the Sandy Hook Promise Programs, Say Something and Start With Hello. Say Something was implemented on September 11, 2018 and is an anonymous tip application that we are using in our secondary schools. This has proven to be an amazing application in improving safety and has saved lives and helped us get students the help they need when it comes to mental health related issues. As of the time this article was written, we have had about sixty tips that we have received and of those about thirty two have been what are considered life threatening. We have had a couple of hoaxes and the remainder were non-life threatening. The most important issue is our students are using it and we along with law enforcement are getting information in a timely manner so we can be proactive in many situations and deal with issues before they happen, or before they become too big and unmanageable.

Start with Hello

This program is designed to help children in grades K – 12 to learn how to become more socially inclusive and connected to one another. We officially rolled out the program in all of our schools the first week of October. This is not something that will come and go, it is something that will be embedded into our school culture. Schools will be doing different things each month to highlight this endeavor, but it is the day to day things that will make the difference with this program.

Signs of Suicide (SOS)

Prevention and intervention is paramount to the safety and well-being of our students and staff. With this is mind, Aztec Schools has been working diligently to bring SOS (Signs of Suicide) training and education to Aztec Municipal Schools. Intervening before self-harm or violence occurs is paramount. This program is designed to train students and adults to identify the warning signs of youth depression and signs of suicide. On October 29, 2018 all four county districts had Social Workers, Psychologists, Counselors and Nurses trained to be implementers of the SOS (Signs of Suicide) curriculum.  SOS is a researched based program from the Sandy Hook Promise. This collaborative effort among all the districts is yet another example of how we are all working together to help our students and to help each other. Now that we have over fourteen of our staff trained, they will be providing training for the rest of the district starting in early December. Teachers, administrators and other school staff will receive training on December 3 or December 10, 2018. It is imperative that we also provide information to parents because this is about a partnership, so we will be offering a parent night for Koogler, AHS and VNHS on January 15, 2019. Finally we also need to train our students in grades 6 – 12th grade.  These trainings will take place on January 16 and 17, 2019.  This is an important issue and one that our community has been affected by way too many times. It is up to all of us to do our part, and the first step is to become involved by becoming and staying informed. 

Safety Assessment and Intervention – Threat Assessment

This program is designed for schools and community organizations on how to assess and respond to behaviors before they lead to violence. We have not confirmed a date for this training, but we are working with Sandy Hook Promise and the other districts in our county for a tentative training date of January 7, 2019. We will be partnering with the other districts in the county for this training along with local law enforcement and mental health specialists. Members of the Sandy Hook Promise will provide training.

Finally we have received word on our grant from the state. We received over $500,000 from the state and there is a matching requirement from our district and the state. We have to pay 58% of the project cost for the new bridge we are looking at putting in so that we can focus on having one entrance on the front of main campus. Now that we have this grant secured we can concentrate on other projects there and at other locations. We know that safety is up to all of us and that is why we are fortunate to live in a great community. We also realize that safety is a journey not a destination.

For more information, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org .



Office of the Superintendent

"Building a Foundation of Success"

All In, All the Time


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