The principals of Eyestone and Rice elementary schools and Wellington Middle School are diligent about assuring the safety of their students and staff. Poudre School District policies and procedures play a critical role in making this possible.
Following the school tragedy in Connecticut, PSD reported working with law enforcement across the district to implement security measures to ensure that schools remain safe learning environments. These measures include single points of entry to each school, security video cameras at each school, sign-in procedures for all visitors with identifying badges, lock-down and lock-out drills practiced routinely at each school, ongoing threat assessment protocols and emergency response training and heightened awareness for building leaders.
Alicia Durand, principal of Wellington Middle School, starts each day with a mile walk — four times around the school building — with the custodian. “We talk about what needs to be done at the school, we’re visible to the students — and we get in a healthy workout,” Durand said.
A Larimer County Sheriff’s deputy serving as school resource officer at Wellington middle gives great on-going support during the school day, Durand said. Other deputies visit periodically. “We require all visitors we don’t recognize to show identification before they enter the school, and in accordance with PSD policy, all school doors other than the front door remain locked at all times.”
Eyestone Elementary principal David Sobson likes the increased presence of deputies throughout the district. “As they patrol, they interact with the kids and create a sense of community.”
A security camera at Eyestone has been upgraded and a door between the outside and interior main door has been added. “We’ve been upgrading gradually for several years now,” Sobson said. Since December, travel patterns within in the school have been changed slightly to improve safety, he said.
Sobson said the district has paid special attention to confirm the staff is trained in lock-down and lock-out drill procedures. The district now requires a report after each drill.
Two or three adults have been added to the roster of people keeping watch outside Rice Elementary. Early childhood teachers now meet their students outside and enter the building together. Any student who arrives at school after 8:25 a.m. must be accompanied into the building with an adult and make sure to sign in.
“We have a secure building,” principal Karen Koehn said. “All doors except the main entrance remain locked and no one can enter the building without passing through the office.” The school completed a lock-down drill in late January.