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From Superintendent Ryan: Responding to the Tragedy in Florida

From Superintendent Ryan: Responding to the Tragedy in Florida

Dear Friends of Clarkston Community Schools,

When tragedies like yesterday's unspeakable events in Parkland, Florida occur, our thoughts immediately turn to the questions: how could this have been prevented? How can we ensure safety and security in our schools? These questions keep me up at night. Providing a safe school community has long been our priority in Clarkston, and in light of yet another senseless attack on our schools, I wanted to take a moment to share our district safety protocols with you.

As you know, one of the major improvements of the 2016 bond was the enhanced safety and security at each of our school buildings. This includes new, secure entries which have already been constructed at Andersonville and Bailey Lake Elementary Schools and all other elementary buildings and Clarkston Junior High School will follow this summer. We also have installed upgraded surveillance and communication systems for additional layers of security in and around our campuses.

We are coordinating training with our local and county law enforcement to prepare our staff and students as much as possible for emergency situations. Our entire staff is versed in crisis response procedures and we have a plan in place to engage in additional training in this area over the next year. A district crisis team also meets with law enforcement and emergency responders on an ongoing basis to discuss new standards and practices, and we are working to plan a simulation for multiple districts to be trained later this year. Regularly scheduled lockdown and evacuation drills are also conducted in each building with students and staff.

The emotional health of our students is also critical, and I've shared some of the efforts we've made to better recognize distress in students. This includes a focus on addressing the warning signs of troublesome behaviors through student threat assessments, continued staff training, and more. Beyond that, we must continue to insist on a culture of kindness and compassion in Clarkston.

Though we grieve over the violence we see with an increasingly unsettling frequency today, we can't accept it as the "norm." Be assured that we will be proactive and diligent in maintaining a safe environment for our staff and students. If your child would like to speak with someone regarding this tragedy, we have trained staff in each building who can assist.

Shawn Ryan
Interim Superintendent

About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 8,000 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Each Clarkston Community Schools' student is fully engaged in a globally focused education, from preschool through graduation, that fosters in students a sense of self, perspective, responsibility/ownership, and contribution. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to cultivate thinkers, learners and positive contributors to a global society.

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