Improving school safety is rarely simple, and it's never as easy as flipping a switch. Often times, small, piece-meal improvements can be made over the course of the school year, but major changes in school safety require rolling out a comprehensive initiative.
District administrators understand the frustration of trying to improve school safety using new programs, only to fall short and lose the confidence of staff. Building-level administrators feel the pressure as well. With so many safety concerns to address, it can be hard to cover everything without overwhelming your organization. Luckily, there’s a better way to use technology to make school safer for your students and staff — the school safety platform.
1. Education Grows with Technology
Technology has not only evolved in the classroom for learning, but technology solutions are also recommended for overcoming many school safety challenges.
In times past, administrators and staff had to rely on stand-alone software programs to fulfill everyday educational needs. Grades, attendance, health records, discipline, etc., each had their own system, with a unique interface and yearly updates. New technology offers schools the ability to manage most, if not all, of these areas from a single, user-friendly interface.
Nowadays, almost every school district in America has one of these student information systems. These systems have all the modules that were available previously and offer a single interface to access the software. In the near future, the cost of maintaining, training, and integrating separate systems will make the ownership of multiple products unaffordable or unmanageable for many schools. With a single student information system, staff are more comfortable with using all available programs, because the interface provides a familiar foundation. The school safety platform does the exact same thing—except for school safety.
2. Save Time and Money
So why should school districts invest in a school safety platform? A lot of school districts are still using multiple software programs to address all of their safety needs. This means that administrators and staff have to learn different programs in order to send emergency alerts, communicate during a crisis, report bullying, report tips, report and handle incidents, manage emergency plans, arrange for reunification, and more.
When provided with a single interface and database, administrators and staff are able to extract the highest value from the investment, not only in the first year, but for every year after that.
According to Career Trend, the average pay for teachers with benefits in the U.S. is $46 per hour. Every year, your teachers will need at least one hour of training per software program. For 200 teachers, you will wind up spending a total of $9,200 to train them in just one software program. Now imagine if you have 3-4 different software programs that require at least one hour of training each per year. Not to mention, the hours your teachers spend learning new technology instead of teaching their students quickly add up. A school safety platform is simply a better use of your district's time and resources.
A school safety platform also allows your district the opportunity to collect and analyze safety data in more meaningful ways. Safety data is a mix of daily incidents, bully reporting, tips, serious incidents, and emergencies. If you are using individual software programs, there's no easy way to compare this data and learn valuable safety insights. A school safety platform, on the other hand, will collect, store, and analyze all your data together to give you the big-picture view of your safety measures.
3. A Comprehensive Platform Yields Comprehensive Data
Every school district could stand to improve their safety protocols, and it's best to base any improvement on relevant and reliable data, not just thoughts and ideas.
When you have a comprehensive school safety platform, you can review data from all aspects of school safety without having to coordinate multiple data sources. A school safety platform gives you a streamlined look at all of the information, which creates a clear picture of your district’s current safety status, as well as the information that can lead data-driven improvements to your safety protocols. Instead of managing multiple sources, a comprehensive platform can showcase your safety communication messages, emergency alerts, safety tips, bullying reports, panic button activations, and more from an easy to use dashboard.
In addition to providing a window into the safety activity of your school district, a school safety platform also allows you to practice and improve your safety responses with safety drills. Though safety drills can be seen as a logistical obstacle, they are absolutely critical for school safety. Many times, safety drills become routines that are merely performed, when they should be utilized thoughtfully and strategically.
With a school safety platform, you can perform, review, and report all your safety drills through a unified system. This allows you to focus on the successes and shortcomings of your safety practices to help improve safety drills and, by extension, the overall safety health and culture of your district.
Weighing the Options
School safety is never done, so one of the most important safety tasks a district can do is to evaluate the data and build individualized safety improvement plans. Remember, training is expensive. If your district trains on evacuation instead of bullying, but bullying is a core cause of your incident and emergencies, then your limited resources will not have been optimally used.
School safety is a whole system, not a bunch of products sewn together to give the impression of safety. Safety platforms come in all shapes and sizes. CrisisGo's digital safety and crisis response platform allows school districts to cover the full scope of safety from crisis prevention to emergency response. To gain a better understanding of your district's safety and security needs, download this guide.