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Safety

Avonworth Safety Information


Safety will always remain a top priority. Below is a brief overview of items we have in place throughout our district. All families must be aware of the resources we have in place to collectively make Avonworth the safest environment possible. 


All families must update emergency contact information for each child in our student information system, ALMA. In an emergency, the individuals listed in our system are the only people allowed to pick up a student. 


Directions for Updating Emergency Contact Information in ALMA


Proactive Systems:


Proactively approaching safety is the best way to maintain a safe environment. We work hard to find ways to be proactive in identifying students and families in need of assistance. We do this by utilizing all available resources. Forging relationships between students, parents, teachers, staff, and administration is paramount to maintaining a supportive culture. The school fosters this through mentoring programs, advisory, and connections programs. Our goal is for all students to have a go-to adult in their school. A team approach allows adults to become aware of student needs and proactively address them. 


From a proactive support perspective, we have the following programs/resources. 


School Counselors - Each building has a school counselor. After the teachers, the counselors are the next level of support for all school-related matters, from social relationships to school performance. 


Student Assistance Program (SAP)- Group of teachers, counselors, and administrators trained to support students and families in need. The SAP team can help families navigate challenges by providing resources as needed. 


Family Behavior Resources-School Based Therapy  The District has liaison partnerships with FBR, Mercy Behavioral Health on-site mental health services, and partnerships with the Department of Human Services and the Office of Behavioral Health.


Social Worker -Works K-12 to coordinate student support through connecting schools, home, and community resources for mental health interventions, crisis management, and support services


Licensed Professional Counselor-  Works K-12 to coordinate student support through behavioral plans, mental health interventions, crisis management, and support services. 


School Resource Officer- The Avonworth School District has a fantastic relationship with the Ohio Township Police Department (OTPD), the Ohio Township Fire Department (OTFD), and other local municipality support.  The District's Memorandum of Understanding with the Ohio Township Police Department formalizes this support relationship. Included in the support that the OTPD provides is a school resource officer. 


Safe 2 Say- Act 44 mandates establishing and using the “Safe2Say Something”(S2SS) anonymous reporting system by every Pennsylvania school entity.

 

S2SS is a life-saving and changing school safety program that teaches students, educators, and administrators how: (1) to recognize the signs and signals of individuals who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others and (2) to anonymously report this information through the S2SS app, website, or 24/7 Crisis Center Hotline. 


Threat Assessment Teams


Avonworth School District has a trained threat assessment team for both campuses. All threats of violence are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.  The entire process is used to determine the threat level, and support needed moving forward. Teams are listed below. 


School District Safety & Security Coordinator: 

Mike Hall (both teams)

Elementary/Primary Campus Team

Scott Miller, Bill Battistone, Barb Baur, Emily Hough, Barb Bauer

Middle/ High School Campus Team

Keera Dwulit, Kaitlin Remensky, Aaron Pellicano, Dave Como, Nicole Levis

When Needed On Both Teams

Ashlea Rineer-Hershey (Student Service Director)

Nadine DeLeo (Social Worker)

Chris Simcoviak (Ohio Twp SRO)

Kristina Busti (School Psychologist) 


Reactive Systems:


Unfortunately, we also need to be prepared and able to react to an emergency situation if it were to arise. Below are some of the training and systems we have in place should an emergency situation present itself. 


Lockdowns


We conduct “Lockdowns” for a variety of reasons. The three general categories are explained below: 

  • General Lockdown/Shelter In Place - Implemented when we need the hallways clear for medical reasons or a routine canine search of the building/parking lot. It allows for confidentiality to be preserved.    

  • Lockdown-Exterior Threat - Implemented when students are not permitted to be outside the school building due to an emergency or potential danger in the community. 

  • Lockdown -Interior Threat - Implemented if there would be an active danger in the building (Run-Hide-Fight approach).

    

Run-Hide-Fight 

RUN. When an active shooter is in your vicinity: 

  • If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate. 

  • Evacuate if the situation warrants it. 

  • Leave your belongings behind. 

  • Help others escape if possible. 

  • Call 9-1-1 when you are safe. 

HIDE. If an evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide.

  • Lock and/or blockade the door. 

  • Silence your cell phone. 

  • Hide behind large objects. 

  • Remain very quiet. 

  • Turn lights off, close blinds, and move students to an area of the room out of sight of the door.

     Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the shooter's view. 

  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction. 

  • Do not trap or restrict your options for movement.

FIGHT. As a last resort, and only if your life is in danger:

  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter. 

  • Act with physical aggression. 

  • Improvise weapons. 

  • Commit to your actions.

Safety Measures 
 
The Avonworth School District has a fantastic relationship with the Ohio Township Police Department (OTPD), the Ohio Township Fire Department (OTFD), as well as other local municipality support.  The District has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ohio Township Police Department that formalizes this support relationship. Included in the support that the OTPD provides is a school resource officer.  Corporal Chris Simcoviak has served as the SRO for Avonworth for twenty years. He serves on the High School Student Assistance Team, The District Safety/Security Committee, facilitates the Elementary School DARE program, and provides safety support District-wide.  

The OTPD includes regular walkthroughs in all school buildings as a part of regular patrols.  Students and staff are used to seeing officers walking through the hallways during the day and after school.  The District has also provided maps of our schools to the OTPD and OTFD in case of an emergency. District has also labeled entrance/exits for easy reference for both departments.  The Police and Fire Departments also provide feedback to the District through safety audits with how to improve safety in the buildings and grounds.

The building entrances all have magnetically secure door entrances with a safe holding area.  Access is monitored by a camera and intercom system. Security cameras are located internally and externally for all District property.  Each building also has direct access to 911 services.

The School District requires that all classroom doors are locked at all times.  Employees wear identification badges at all times. Each building conducts drills for emergencies such as fire, severe weather, and evacuation.  The district also has secure off-site locations for evacuations with detailed plans, responsibilities for staff, and coordination with local authorities.  

Bullying and safety concerns can be reported anonymously via the District website.  The bullying and safety portals are listed on the main page of the website under the Quick Links section.  Also, Avonworth has a policy and procedures that governs clearances for adults working with students in various capacities.  
 
Connecting with Community Partners

Five years ago, the District established a safety/security committee with representation of parents, teachers, nurses, administration, maintenance, athletic director, transportation, police, fire, and EMT.  Dr. Mike Hall, Middle School Principal, is the Chair of the Committee. The committee usually meets the third Wednesday of the month at 9:00 a.m. in the Administration Board Room.

The committee discusses thoughts and ideas of how to enhance a safe school environment for all stakeholders. 
 
Connecting with Students
 
It is the goal of our district that every student feels a sense of belonging in our schools.  The building principals continually work with staff to ensure that various strategies and methods are used to build an inclusive environment where students feel valued.  In addition, each of our school buildings have counseling services in place that provide a variety of programs including classroom lessons, individual, and small group counseling.  

Avonworth Middle School has a connections/advisory program to foster meaningful relationships between students and adults in the school.
 
Cyber Security  
 
The District educates our students to use technology appropriately.  Avonworth’s schools are Common Sense Media certified based on the focus on digital citizenship with the instructional program.  Common Sense Media has been a great partner to help keep our students safe online. In addition, the District Technology Director, Mr. Brandon Gary has particular expertise in the area of cyber security.  Mr. Gary and the IT team continually monitor the network and management system for multiple dangers. 
 
Safe2Say Something: Information for Parents/Guardians

In 2018, the General Assembly passed Act 44 mandating the establishment and use of the “Safe2Say Something”(S2SS) anonymous reporting system by every Pennsylvania school entity by January 14, 2019.

S2SS is a life-saving and changing school safety program that teaches students, educators, and administrators how: (1) to recognize the signs and signals of individuals who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others and (2) to anonymously report this information through the S2SS app, website, or 24/7 Crisis Center Hotline. The following provides an overview of how the program works and will be implemented in schools:

S2SS works through 5 easy steps:
1. A tip is submitted via mobile app, website, or by calling the PA based 24/7 Crisis Center
2. The tip is then triaged by the Crisis Center to gather enough information to act on it
3. The tip is delivered to the impacted school and, as needed, local law enforcement via 911 County Dispatch 4. The school and, as needed, local law enforcement assess and intervene with the at-risk individual
5. The school then closes out the tip and reports actions taken as a record for their school

Safe2Say Link

All students, parents, and school personnel are encouraged to download the Safe2Say app, which will be used to report a tip.  Here is an image of the app to help you locate it in your app store.
 

                                                                                                      

Safe2Say Something Parent Letter

Safe2Say Something One Page Overview

Safe2Say Something Parent Brochure

Safe2Say Something Program Overview Slides 

Trainings
The District conducts many trainings for staff for a variety of situations to ensure the safety of our students and staff.  
 

   
 
NARCAN -  Opioid overdose treatment.

Food Allergies/ Anaphylaxis/Diabetes/other health impairments

Managing Biases in Threat Assessment

The American Problem: Understanding What the Evidence Really Says about Gun Violence, Mass Shootings, and Mental Illness.  Presented by Dr. Jack Rozel, local UPMC psychiatrist and Medical Director of the Resolve Crisis Center.





Contacts

Hall, Mr. Mike
Middle School (7-8) Principal
Office: 412-369-8738 x 1700
Safety Committee Chair
Simcoviak, Mr. Chris
School Resource Officer
Office: 412-369-8738
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