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Safe Schools

As we have evolved into a more sophisticated and more complex society, individuals, schools and communities have had to adjust to new ways of living.  Whether we like it or not, the today that we know and the tomorrow that we anticipate will never again look like the yesterday we remember.

To this end, Parkland School District has prepared programs and processes to respond to the ever changing challenges of our times.  We believe that the planning efforts of the Board of Directors, administration and staff have resulted in a Safe Schools Program that will ensure the safest possible learning environment for our students.

As you review the information provided in this website, please feel free to contact your child’s school should you have any questions.  Your suggestions and reactions are certainly welcomed.

Richard T. Sniscak, Superintendent of Schools


Parkland School district is committed to the goal of providing a safe and supportive school community that fosters good citizenship and an environment conducive to learning.  In compliance with state law and current best practice, the district provides programs and curricula addressing substance abuse and other risk factors to every student and in every grade level.  Included on these pages are the programs and initiatives supported by our Safe and Drug Free School and Community Advisory Committee.  The purpose of these pages is to provide a description of the scope and types of programs offered in every grade level to keep Parkland students safe—physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually.

Tips For Supporting Children and Youth After A Crisis

Parkland School District does have procedures and practices available for any students in need of counseling.    Parkland has made district counselors and psychologists available to provide services to any students who request it.   In addition the district has reached out to the Intermediate unit 21 to use the "Flight Team."  The Flight Team are specially trained professionals through the crisis management institute.   District and supplemental resources will be available throughout the day to assist staff and students process the information and assist them in getting the support they need.   In addition, the district is aware that keeping a routine and avoiding repeated exposure to the television or social media coverage of the incident is advised.

A resource is available from the National Association of School Psychologists by clicking this link:    http://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis

If any parent has a specific concern, please have them call their guidance counselor.

Resources

Crisis Management Plan

Safety and Crisis Management Response: To prepare district staff and facilities for a crisis/emergency situation.

Visitor Policy
The physical safety of our students is at the top of district priorities.  The district has established a comprehensive security system, which locks exterior doors during the school day.  All visitors, including parents, are required to make an appointment with the school staff before arrival, except for emergency situations.  When a parent or visitor arrives at the school, they will be asked to state their name and nature of their business.  Parents should be able to identify the name of their child, their grade, and the name of their teacher or the person they are trying to see.  All visitors should utilize the schools’ main entrances, which are monitored with security cameras and equipped with door buzzers that allow school staff to screen visitors before allowing access to the building.  It is possible that the administration may ask parents to come at a different time if they do not have an appointment or do not have sufficient information identifying the purpose and/or knowledge of their visit.  By working together, we are able to support each other and provide a safe and successful learning environment for all students and staff.

Crisis Management Plan
A Crisis Management Plan has been implemented in all of the schools.  The plan identifies a crisis team in each of the buildings and specifies procedures for administrators, teachers and students in the event of a crisis.  The plan addresses potential emergency situations with specific direction for all school personnel.

Administrative Discipline Policies
Each building has a written discipline code and a corollary bus policy code which is administered by the principal and assistant principals.  The discipline code is consistent with district policy as well as state and federal law.  It identifies unacceptable behaviors and defines the consequences for various behaviors.  Swift and consistent discipline is complemented by providing necessary assistance for students who may require social, emotional, and/or behavioral support.

Formal Prevention Programs

Formal Prevention Program: To explain the dangers of substance abuse and promote conflict resolution techniques.

Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program
The Parkland School District is committed to the goal of providing a drug-free educational environment and school community.  In compliance with state law requirements, the district provides programs and curricula addressing prevention of substance abuse to every student in every grade level every year.

Curriculum Presentations
Additional presentations are made to students every year including programs designed to assist in decision making, problem solving, and being aware of the potential dangers of drugs, alcohol, and other risky behaviors.  Lessons regarding the appreciation of diversity, suicide awareness and prevention and issues arising from cyber-bullying are also incorporated into the curriculum.

Peer Mediation
The Peer Mediation program helps elementary and middle school students find nonviolent ways to deal with conflict and settle disputes.  Through conflict resolution, students are taught the skills to manage conflict and express their feelings in a positive manner.

S.A.D.D. Program
Students Against Destructive Decisions, a chapter of the national S.A.D.D. organization, encourages students to be involved in the education of the student body, the community, and younger students about the dangers of alcohol, drugs, and other destructive decisions that may arise during the adolescent years.  The club organizes ongoing drug-free school activities.

D.A.R.E. Program
The Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program is presented by two specially selected and trained members of the South Whitehall Township Police Department.  The officers present 17 lessons to each fifth grade class culminating in a graduation ceremony involving parents.  Presentations are also made to students in kindergarten and fourth grade.

Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
The Olweus Program is a research based bullying prevention program.  Parkland elementary and middle school staff have been trained on the principles of the Bullying Prevention program.  A core team has been trained in strategies and interventions designed to foster a community of respect and acceptance.  The program operates through the school, classroom, individual, and community level.  Parents are included in the process and encouraged to contact their child’s school for further information.

School Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS)
School wide positive behavior support is a researched-based methodology that encompasses systemic and individualized strategies for achieving social and learning outcomes for all students within the elementary schools.  This is accomplished by focusing on the critical link between instruction and desired student behavior.  All students are instructed in the behavioral expectations of the school through systematic lessons.  Students are recognized when they demonstrate these expectations at school through a school wide behavior program.  In turn, this creates a positive school culture and climate by emphasizing appropriate social interactions and learning expectations for all students at the elementary level.

Intervention Through Teams

Intervention Through Teams: To identify and design appropriate interventions for at-risk youngsters.

To inform the school about an incident or to make a referral for a program, please contact your student’s guidance counselor.

District Counselors/Psychologists
Every school is staffed with a guidance counselor who provides social and emotional support to the students through formal and informal programs.  The counselors provide direct interventions to students in crisis in addition to making referrals to appropriate mental health professionals.  Parkland School District also employs school psychologists who contribute additional professional expertise to crisis management and mental health interventions.  The school psychologists work closely with various support teams in the school and community to assure that recommendations are appropriate and comprehensive.

Student Assistance Teams
The Student Assistance Teams, referred to as Student Support Teams (SST) in Parkland, grades 6-12, are mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  They are involved in identifying students who are experiencing barriers to learning and who are at risk due to becoming involved with alcohol or other drugs.  Students who are experiencing significant mental health problems are also identified in cooperation with the school counselors.  Referrals are made to appropriate community-based agencies for evaluation and treatment.  Parents, students and teachers may make a referral to the SST program by contacting their school counselor or one of the SST members.

Daily Intervention and Enrichment
At the elementary level, the schedule allows for a daily intervention and enrichment block of time that gives struggling students a chance to practice concepts and gives other students instructional opportunities designed to promote problem solving and higher order thinking.  The new schedule allows for all students within a grade to attend “specials” together such as art, music, gym and library and in turn, gives teachers across a grade level to have some common planning and collaboration time.

D.E.A.L. (Disciplinary Educational Alternative Learning) Program
D.E.A.L. is an alternative disciplinary program afforded to middle and high school students, which provides academic support during an out-of-school suspension period.  The behavioral component provides the student with behavioral skills as they relate to the four domains of adolescence (self, family, peers, and community) followed by group discussion, activities, and the completion of a goal oriented action plan.

Crisis Response Flight Team
Parkland’s Crisis Response Flight Team assists schools in providing immediate crisis intervention services as well as training for post-intervention activities to meet the needs of the school and community.  The team is comprised of a diverse group of professionals including psychologists, counselors, administrators, police officers, and teachers.  All team members have participated in a 5-day Crisis Management Institute training and have a variety of experience in responding to crisis.

Parkland School District Safe and Drug Free School and Community Advisory Council
The council identifies, approves and monitors substance abuse prevention and intervention programs and activities funded by the federal government through the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1994.  The council includes representatives from the community, school district, clergy, law enforcement, medical profession and business, in addition to parents and students.

Other Outside Agencies
The guidance counselor and school psychologist make appropriate referrals when the needs arise.  Outside agencies are utilized on an on-going basis to provide a full continuum of support.  These agencies could include the Department of Children and Youth, Department of Mental Health, Department of Intellectual Disabilities, area hospitals, etc.

District-Wide Initiatives

Post Prom Party
The Parkland High School Parent Forum committee instituted a post prom party in June 2002.  The event following the prom offers numerous activities for students including athletic events, dancing, music, games, and prizes.

Parkland School District Emergency Task Force
In existence since 2006, this committee is comprised of school administrators and first responders from South Whitehall, North Whitehall and Upper Macungie.  The purpose of the committee is to develop a cooperative partnership to promote safety and well-being for the students in the geographic area of Parkland School District.  The Task Force has improved communication between agencies, participated in a variety of prevention oriented drills and exercises, and remains informed of current best practices in the field of school safety.  The following is a listing of the participating agencies:  American Red Cross, Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21, Cetronia Ambulance Corps, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, Lehigh County Emergency Management, North Whitehall Township, Parkland School District, Pennsylvania State Police, St. Joseph The Worker, South Whitehall Emergency Management, South Whitehall Fire Inspector, South Whitehall Township, South Whitehall Township Police, The Jewish Day School, Upper Macungie Township, Upper Macungie Township Police

Counseling
The district counseling plan identifies competencies necessary for personal and social growth.  These competencies are provided through classroom, small group and individual activities implemented by the guidance staff.

School Resource Officer
Beginning in the 2002-2003 school year, Parkland School District incorporated a South Whitehall Township police officer as a School Resource Officer at the high school and in 2013-2014 school year at the middle schools.  By providing a visible presence in the high school and middle schools, these specially trained officers work in partnership with staff to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment.  The resource officers are available to consult with various school-based teams as well as to work with high school and middle school administration to deter inappropriate behavior by students.  The ongoing positive relationship with the township police department allows the district to provide proactive informational sessions with students in addition to having a police presence.

Parkland Police Pals
Beginning with the 2013-2014 school yearthere is a standing invitation with the South Whitehall, Upper Macungie and Pennsylvania State Police departments. Police officers will be welcome to visit our schools, have breakfast and/or lunch with the students or stop in for a bagged lunch to eat on the go.  The officers will also be provided a workspace with access to a phone and a computer.  The goal of this program is to create a daily police presence in all of our schools.  It’s a great opportunity for police officers to be more visible in the schools and for the students, teachers, staff and parents to recognize the police officers who are integral in protecting our community on a daily basis.  In addition, you can expect to see marked police vehicles at front entrances to our schools and in our parking lots at various times throughout the day.  This initiative is part of the ongoing effort on behalf of the South Whitehall Township, Upper Macungie Township and Pennsylvania State Police Departments and the Parkland School District to ensure the safety and security of our children.