During November, we asked the parents and staff at each of our schools to respond to the question: “What concerns do you have regarding safety and security in our schools?” The purpose of this exchange was to let us know what topics and information will be the most helpful and of the most interest as we communicate on this important topic either in person or in print in the coming semester.

The idea behind ThoughtExchange is to gain consensus around issues, as well as to identify areas in which there are highly disparate views. In this regard, we believe this first exchange has been extremely successful. We are pleased to report that we will all benefit from the thoughts shared by the 717 people who participated in the exchange, including 426 comments and 9,283 ratings.

Today we are sharing the initial results which include the “top 20” thoughts from each of the three exchanges -- one exchange for the four k-4 elementary schools, one for the Fifth Grade Center and middle school combined, and one for our high school. These are the 20 individual thoughts that received the highest number of star rankings from other participants.

Our sense was that the concerns of these groups could be very different and having all levels in the exchange simultaneously could obscure important findings. This turned out to be true. Please take a look at the “Thank You” section for additional information, as well as an update on what results will be made available following winter break.

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Thank You

Thank you for your interest and input into this important topic. As noted in the introduction, we are just beginning to identify trends and dig deeper into the information.

For example, as an overall theme, we noticed a shift in the areas of concern most often expressed by staff and parents associated with younger versus older grade levels. Those associated with younger grades were more concerned with the physical structure, particularly those features involved in keeping out intruders. Conversely, at the high school level, concerns were much more focused on wanting to be sure significant supports were in place to identify and help students who could be at risk for violent behavior.

This is simply the first level of information available to be shared. After Winter Break, additional information will be added, including a list of the “hot topics” - those which received both very high and very low ratings, bar charts indicating what areas of safety and security were most often discussed by level, as well as a break down of the demographics of the overall population who participated in the exchange.

Even more specific analysis of this information will be done at the building level so that when our Safety Team visits each school in the coming semester, they understand and can address the specific concerns of the staff and parents associated with each building. This information will also be shared with your building and district administrators. However, for security purposes, thoughts and opinions about specific features and procedures of individual buildings will not be disclosed publicly.