Engaging the Community Tools for Safer Schools Webinar
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Hello everyone and welcome. Thank you for joining today’s Webinar hosted by raptor technologies. I’m Eileen Shahada, senior vice president at Raptor, former educator, active PTA member and most importantly mother of two school aged girls. The fact that you’re all on this call indicates that school safety is a priority for you and depending on our roles within the education community, we may be coming at the topic from different perspectives, but there are three common pillars of an effective school safety plan, people, processes and technology. In today’s Webinar, our guest speaker, Michelle Gay will touch on all three and provide information and resources on engaging the community in your school safety plan. Then towards the end of the Webinar, Jim Vesterman, CEO of raptor technologies will give a brief overview of the raptor solutions available to support your security, safety and emergency management initiatives. So without further ado, I’m thrilled to introduce Michelle Gay as our speaker today.
I had the privilege to see Michelle speak at a school safety symposium in Minnesota two weeks ago and I think you’ll find a lot of value in her presentation today. Michelle Gay is a mother, former teacher and founder of safe and sound school. After losing her daughter Josephine Gray on December 14th, 2012 at Sandy Hook elementary, she chose to take action as an advocate for improved school safety and security in our nation schools working with law enforcement, school administrators and the best minds in school safety and now has become an expert in the topic herself. Okay. Michelle’s background as a teacher and involved parent along with her personal law and post tragedy perspective, uniquely positioned her to help school communities prevent tragedy and better prepare and respond in the event of an emergency in their own schools. Michelle, thank you for joining us today.
Thank you Eileen for that introduction to wraps are for bringing us all together today. It’s a big group that’s really exciting from all over the country and um, and to all of you for taking time out of your busy day to join us in talking about how we can engage our school communities and the work of school safety. Like Eileen said, all of you are here today because you already get it. You, you understand that learning and growing and building the future can’t happen if our schools aren’t safe. Most parents and educators, students and community members, you know,
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Sorry about that. Um, I’ll understand this basically as common sense, but there may be a variety of barriers to their full involvement and buy-in when it actually comes to school safety. Things like denial, budgets, feelings of helplessness, lack of awareness and time to, to name just a few that we’re facing. So how do we get these important stakeholders of safety to the table up to speed and a part of the culture of safety that’s needed to grow our youth to their full potential? That’s what we’ll talk about today. I’m going to begin by sharing a little about the day where I realized in a very personal way that I had to become more actively involved. On December 14th, 2012 I was a former elementary school teacher from the Maryland and Virginia public schools and I was living in Connecticut with my family. I was a stay at home mom at the time and I was getting my three girls ready for school that morning, much like all the other parents in new town.
My husband was away. He was at work in nearby Massachusetts. So I was going in alone with the three girls that morning, packing lunches, putting in ponytails and barrettes, um, putting out fires. Many of you are familiar with the drill, but, uh, I did manage to get all three off successfully to my fifth grader, to the intermediate school in town and my two younger girls, fourth and first graders to Sandy Hook school. I was home. In fact, just for a few minutes, when the phone began to ring and caller id indicated that it was the town of Newtown that usually meant that school was calling to let me know that I had forgotten to send something in with one of my kids, you know, a permission slip or a lunchbox, glasses, um, you know, something like that. But instead, when I picked up the phone, I heard something very different.
I quickly realized that this, this call was no ordinary call. It was our superintendent on the line. Um, it was a recording very obviously, and she said, all of our schools are in lockdown. There’s been a shooting. I remember swallowing really hard, um, trying to get my mind around the word shooting. I’m trying to grapple with what I had just heard and what that meant. But there wasn’t any more information coming from the phone. Um, her message had ended. So before I knew it, I was on the road, uh, determined to find out where this shooting had taken place and desperate to know that my children were safe. I followed a steady stream of response vehicles past the intermediate school where my oldest daughter was, has the high school where I have to be honest, I, I figured I would be stopping. I figured that must be the site of, of anything that could possibly be called a shooting.
But we proceeded on to Sandy Hook School, although we never made it to this school. The drive was already clogged with so many emergency vehicle. We did make it as far as the firehouse on the corner of the drive up to our school. And the first thing that I noticed as I was putting my car into park was a line of students evacuating. It was actually my fourth grade daughter’s line. I couldn’t believe how calm the children and teacher appeared and I just remember realizing gratefully that this was probably because we had planned and practiced for emergency evacuations. In fact, we had just practiced a full lockdown and offsite evacuation draw with the entire student and staff of our school. I hugged my daughter and I sent her off with her class to the firehouse, determined to find my youngest child. I would walk along the j shaped drive between the firehouse and the well four hours and I would see a lot of lines just like that line, but I wasn’t finding Josephine’s line. I continued on this j shaped drive that you see just kind of walking back and forth between the firehouse and the cool and it’s [inaudible]. The hours were on more and more parents and community members began arriving and whisking children out of this chaotic scene. But amidst the confusion, it became really difficult to account for who’s left, who was missing and who was still inside the building.
There were a lot of parents running around desperately searching for their children. As a matter of fact, neighbors were showing up. Community members were showing up and the scene was becoming increasingly chaotic, but on that walk, I began piecing together what had happened at our school that morning. As I was running into other parents, teachers, and responders on scene, I learned that a young man from our community had broken into our locked school by firing his rifle at one of our entrance windows. Then he was able to step right in in a matter of seconds. He was inside our building with access to our children and staff. He attacked our administrators first killing two and wounding another as well as another teacher that was running up the hall for the sound of trouble.
After addressing the women in the hall, he walked around our front office unable to find the staff that was hiding for their lives, and he finally made his way to two of our first grade classrooms down that front hall that you see there, he killed four more teachers and 21st graders, one of whom was my daughter, Josephine. Our gunman ultimately killed himself before he could be confronted by the stream of police officers that were arriving on scene. In fact, they arrived in less than four minutes, but there were survivors too. One did. Educators survived the initial tack on the Hallway in the hallway, one playing dead and the other retreating to her classroom. Several children hid and were undetected by our attacker, and two small groups of children ran from their classroom to safety outside the devastation of this attack and a loss of our children and teachers left. Our families and our community forever changed. But those of us involved in safe and sound schools are left determined to see that our hindsight becomes the foresight of others that are lost, prevents the loss of others. We’ve learned many lessons from our children and teachers that can help others to better prepare for safety in even the most unthinkable circumstances.
Perhaps the most striking to many of us was that in moments of crisis, there’s just not nearly as much time as you might think to plan for the best course of action without other options. Our children and teachers defaults into their instincts and so what they knew or had practiced before, we began thinking differently about how we prepare people for safety, not just in our communities but also in our schools. We also learned that simple measures can be the ones that save lives, that make all the difference in a crisis. Our teachers simply didn’t have time or keys on their person to lock their doors as they had planned to as they had practiced, but we believe had they been equipped and prepared to secure their classroom locations quickly, the outcome of this day may have been exponentially different.
We also began thinking differently about how our schools are equipped for emergency basic security, who’s coming in and out, access control, visitor management and communication. For instance, our little school was like most others in the United States. We were equipped with only a fire alarm and a PA system and a handful of outbound phones for emergency communication. Of course, no one could get to the PA and those that got to the phones to call for help knew that they were risking their lives. Communication is key as well as many of these other basics like security, controlling who’s coming in and out of our buildings and and being able to secure our classroom locations.
We had a wonderful school community. Everybody knew everybody. Crime was low and test scores were high. We valued safety. Here’s a tweet from our beloved principal a few weeks before the attack. She says, safety first at Sandy Hook. It’s a beautiful day for our annual evacuation drought and on this grainy smartphone picture she snapped. You can tell everybody’s proud. They were planning, they were practicing, they were doing everything that they knew how to do, but I believe if we are honest with ourselves, we hadn’t planned for anything like this. Our plan for for something like this or a crisis of this scale or this magnitude, I believe. I believe that plan was simply not here and I think if many of us are honest with ourselves that that’s the plan and a lot of our communities, it’s inconvenient. It seems intimidating or expensive. It seems impossible. And again, that brings us back to some of the barriers that are referred to. At the beginning of the presentation.
We were surrounded by a lot of people who came to take care of us, first responders, mental health professionals, national level experts in the field of school safety and wonderful neighbors, friends, parishioners. That all came to stand beside us together. We began rethinking what school safety is. What does it mean? We all had to send our surviving children back to school and to be honest with you, this seemed like an impossibility for many of us. Out of these conversations at all of the work that we were doing together in our community came the desire to do something different and it came to be called safe and sound schools. We’re a nonprofit organization that’s devoted to empowering other school communities to create an inch or the safest possible learning environment for our children and educators. I invite you to visit us and check out the free resources that we offer and the programs that we’re developing for your school community.
For us it wouldn’t be about politics, finger-pointing or casting blame. It would be about bringing everyone together in a collaborative approach to safer schools and communities. And you can see here is a graphic that kind of outlines for you three core circles, spheres of influence, if you will, that exist in all of our communities. We’ve got our safety professionals, our police, our fire, our emergency, our medical folks as well as our community members, like students, parents, families, physicians and Mental Health folks and our school personnel, administrators, educators, school based mental health, school staff and so on. And then of course these fears are, are all supported by by many other groups that are attached to an a part of our communities. But when they all come together over the school and begin sharing expertise, begin sharing in this common mission of ensuring the safety of our schools. That’s where we see the most complete. That’s where we see school communities that are really moving the needle in terms of keeping schools as safe as possible.
Together we began working to gather and curate the best practices, resources and information in the form of our toolkit based on our school safety improvement model. Straight a safety. You can learn more about the strait, a safety model of assess act and audit, which is an active process involving all community members involving representation in front, a lot of different disciplines and perspectives in the community to really move forward and engage in a process firm rather than a checklist. These tool kits are available on our website for free as well and they’re designed to bring busy community members and safety professionals together around the same table. These toolkit tools are free and in use in schools across the country. Today, we’re very proud and honored to have that across the country in schools that we have been blessed enough to work with.
We create a community activities to, to gather stakeholders from parents and students to busy educators and first responders to mental health professionals and community members. This one, the school safety social is also available on our website and our toolkits and soon to be introduced as a complete program whereby local safety resources and experts offer workshops, activities and games that parents, students and staff can rotate, rotate through and an effort to increase their education awareness and the safety of the community. This is how relationships and trust are built. Resources get shared and marginalized community members become activated. This is how improvement is made together. I have to share with you a little bit about a school safety social that took place in a school that we work with in Oklahoma. More high school. Um, they put together a student led team of, of school safety leadership.
And I’ll tell you a little bit about more about that program later. But one of the projects that they engaged in was setting up this fare for their school community. Um, and their, their administrators, their school leadership put a lot of support into this and allowed the kids to take an entire school day, which is, that’s pretty big stuff for us educators to give up the school day. But, um, they, they had a full day and so they reached out to different resources in the community. Um, being in Oklahoma, it was important to them that they have an activity or a presentation about weather safety as well as CPR. They also had, um, active shooter training that they ran for kids. Uh, they did a variety of, of different, um, different presentations, activities and games. And it was a big head with, with all of the students and staff and a great way to make sure that everybody was on the same page and, and all together buying into school safety.
So thank you for letting me brag on them a little bit. We got our inspiring ideas from others in our travels to school and professional communities around the country. This one is a simple idea that was shared by a cub scout. Actually. Um, we’re not a cubs. Got, I should say an eagle scout or something different. Um, he was going for his, his Eagle Award and he wanted to do something important for the safety of his community. So he started reaching out. He reached out to school leadership, um, who then connected him with the facilities directors in the community. And um, they began looking at their list of priorities. And one of the things that responders in the community had been after this school district to do was make sure that all of their exterior exits and, and the interior sides of those exits were labeled with corresponding numbers or letters.
It’s very important to a lot of a lot of our responders arriving on scene that they get there as quickly as possible and they’re getting to the right, the right spot and the best location to provide assistance. So knowing this, um, this eagle scout rounded up all the other scouts in town and they began reaching out to the community and they found, uh, parents who owned a assigned making business in the community and provided printed, uh, produced all of the signs for, for all of these exits and entrances. And then these kids work together in, in teams with all of the facilities managers in the district to install the signs. And they were done with this project in about a week. And those of you who live in school world know what a massive undertaking, something like this could be, how much manpower it takes, how much, how much time it can take from, you know, the day to day, um, obligations that many of our staff members and our facilities directors have.
Um, but this is just one classic example of how, how involving the community in this case, particularly youth, um, has, has turned into something really positive that promotes safety and increases the buy-in and this community. This is another idea that was shared by a secretary and a PTA member. Um, just kind of new to the, the school safety team. She sat down and was just kind of listening to the, the major issues that were being discussed. And one of them was, do we give keys to our itinerant staff? Do we give keys to our substitute teachers? Because of course we want them to have those keys in the event that there is an emergency and they need to secure their location. But of course, controlling those keys, managing them, making sure that they come back is, is a longstanding problem for a lot of school communities.
So believe it or not, many school communities do not give keys to itinerant staff and, and substitutes. Uh, but this, this secretary, this mom knew how important it was. Um, and especially in light of what we had learned at Sandy Hook. So she came up with a simple idea and instituted a policy whereby substitute teachers, uh, would, would come and receive their sub plans, badges and classroom keys. Itinerant staff would have to check in with her as well, using the same system. And once they check in at the front office, they would deposit their car keys as a form of collateral and instantly the problem was solved. So all of these staff members now have the tools and the capability to secure their classroom location while they were there. But of course, um, they were returning the keys at the end of the day because frankly they couldn’t leave without their car keys. So simple solutions, um, but great ideas, inspiring ideas that come when you start involving and engaging the community.
We’re thrilled to to announce the release of our safe and sound youth council program. Uh, we just released it this fall. It’s a high school chapter based program designed to get our youth to the school safety table through work on safety related community service projects with school safety and community leaders. You can check out and download this free program on our website. Um, we were pleased to have many students across the country reaching out to us and really kind of, uh, pushing us along to develop something like this. And, uh, the, the group of kids that more high school, um, were one of our first groups to, to form their own leadership group and really, um, contributed greatly to this project. So I encourage you to check it out. It’s so, it’s a wonderful program and it’s, um, it’s already gained a tremendous amount of, of traction, so we’re excited about it. I also encourage you to check out the community based presentations and workshops that you’ll find on our website. Um, we’re pleased to offer those around the country as well. It’s a wonderful place for us to share what we’re learning and gather more to share with others.
At safe and sound, we focus uniquely on the positive on what we can do and how we are able to do it together in our travels to communities across the country, we’ve seen that this is how the job gets done. We know that better, safer, stronger is possible and that together we can and will ensure the safety of our nation school. And speaking of together, we’ve been blessed to find the best partners in the field to help us see this mission through. Um, our team talks a lot about what an honor it is to work with the best and most dedicated people. Like so many of you on the call today, raptor is one of those partners that got behind safe and sound early on donating to our mission and helping us share our message and materials across the country. There’s an obvious connection here as raptor is an industry leader and an innovator in the field of school safety.
But something that’s unique about this organization is that Raptor’s unique and understanding how tools and technology are, are an important part, an important support, um, for people and processes that create a safe school community. So it’s, it’s not all technology. Um, it can’t be all people and it can’t be all prophecies. It’s, it’s putting those three together, those three legs of the stool, if you will, to provide the best support for the safest possible learning environment. So I’m pleased to introduce Jim Vesterman, CEO of raptor technologies, so he can share with you a little bit about how raptor supports all of us on this mission. But before I do that, I want to encourage you to enter any questions or comments that you might have for me or for Jim in the chat field on your screen for the Q and a session that we’re going to have following these words from Jim. So thank you everybody for walking with me on this journey. Thanks for your dedication and interest in schools. And without further ado, here is Jim Vesterman.
Well, thank you very much, Michelle. I have had the privilege of seeing Michelle speak multiple times across the country and I’m always, um, very, uh, impressed by, uh, her dedication to helping improve school safety for the entire country. So thank you Michelle. A wonderful presentation and thank you for your, for your dedication. I am going to, uh, use this time as we collect some Q and a for, uh, for Michelle and perhaps for me, I’m going to use this time to just give a brief overview of raptor and what school safety technologies we do, uh, provide to the country today. Uh, and then we’ll once, once we pass about five minutes, we’ll have collected all the Q and a and we will start with Q and. A four. Those of you who aren’t familiar with raptor, we provide three basic technologies, a visitor management system, a volunteer management system, and an emergency management system.
And I’ll go through a little bit of a, an overview of each of those here in the next five minutes. We serve today, um, almost 20,000 k through 12 schools across the United States. We serve everything from the top 10 largest districts in America down to single school districts. Uh, we serve public schools, private schools, Catholic schools, charter schools, Jewish schools, and everything in between. Um, so if, uh, no matter who is on the call, we probably have dozens, if not hundreds of buildings or districts exactly like yours. Across the country. So we’ve, we’ve seen a lot over the last 15 years of, of helping provide these technologies to the country. One of our flagship products is called the raptor visitor management system. I’m showing, uh, the sign in sign out page of the raptor visitor management system here. And what it does is it replaces your pencil and paper sign in sheets.
So I know still today there are many, many schools across the country that use paper and pencil just to manage everyone coming in and out of the schools. But as most of you know, there are many problems with paper and pencil sign in sheets, not the least of which is anyone on this call could write down my name or I could write down anyone’s name on a paper and pencil sign in sheet and no one would know the difference. So at the most basic, we allow the school and the building and the district to know everyone who is coming in and out of the buildings. We do that by signing you in with an ID. So we pull your actual name, we can pull the picture off the ID or take a Webcam picture and we require the date, the time where they went, et Cetera, et cetera.
And now the district and the building has an electronic log of everyone coming in and out. That electronical lag allows us to do a couple of instant checks. They take about a half of a second. And so we do two instant checks. We do an instant sex offender background check. So we take that person’s name and we check it against the registered sex offender databases in all 50 states and about a half of a second. And to put that in perspective, these days we’re flagging about 40 registered sex offenders every single day attempting tend to our client schools across the country. The second check we do is against the custom database database where the district or the building can put anything they want in their band visitors, known gang members. But most districts put in custody issues basically to remind the front desk staff, no matter who is sitting at the front desk, basically remind them who can pick up whom.
And we issue about a hundred of those custody, uh, alerts every single day. As you see here, we have five basic modules. You can turn off any of these modules if you don’t choose to use the module and all disappear from the sign in sign out screen. But we have five basic modules. Visit are contractors, students, staff and volunteer and the visitor, contractor and volunteer modules. We do those too. Instant checks on every one of those individuals coming in and out of the school, the instant sex offender background check and the instant custom alert check on the student module. We track what usually happens in the front office of the school. We track student tardies, recording student tardies as they come in through the front office. And we also track student early dismissals. Basically we, uh, we log the student and which approved Guardian actually pick them up and for what reasons.
So now we give you an electronic trail of information on that student early dismissal. And on the staff module, we a track mostly itinerants that you can track all your staff with the staff module. But it usually works for itinerant staff, the maintenance staff, it et Cetera, and substitute teachers that signs them in and signs them out so you know which buildings they’re in and how long they spent in those buildings. So any and all of these modules come included in the raptor visitor management system. At the end you see they’re the volunteer module that also tracks volunteer hours as they sign in and out. But rafter also has a fully functional, an integrated volunteer management system that will help you with everything from the online application for the volunteers volunteers through to the full criminal background screening for the volunteers through to signing them in and out and tracking their hours through to running reports on top volunteers or total volunteer hours, et Cetera.
So we also have that full functional function volunteer management system. And finally we have a an emergency management system. It includes both raptor unification, what we call raptor unification and raptor drill manager. This application again transforms paper and pencil into electronic emergency management. It will help you with everything from setting up your drill schedule and tracking the drills that have been run by building or at the district level all the way through to practicing those drills. Everything from fire drills to lock down drills, shelter in place, even all the way through to what the most complex thing that can happen. As you know at a school, which is an evacuation with an offsite parent unification, it does it all electronically. It gives you mobile access to your emergency plans in any of these situations and and takes your paper and pencil systems up today and puts it onto mobile devices and other 21st century technologies. So all of these, uh, systems are available. If you’d like to learn more, simply reach out to raptor and we’ll have some contact information at the end and we’re happy to show you demos or provide you any further information you’d like about any of these products at this point. I think we’ve compiled the list of questions, so, uh, I will turn it back to here, those questions, um, with Michelle and myself. Thank you so much.
Thank you Jim. And for those who miss the introduction to the Webinar, my apologies for those technical difficulties. My name is Eileen Shahada. I’m with raptor technologies and I’m facilitating today’s Webinar. We do have several questions from the audience. So we’ll start off with a question for you, Michelle.
The question is, how can we engage young children in safety preparedness and not frighten them? Such a great question. I lean and, um, it’s one, I think that was especially pressing to me, uh, as, as a former elementary educator and the mother of young children as well as my co founding partner, Alyssa, who, who had, you know, at the time, very young children. Um, it’s obviously it’s important for us to, to find a way to provide the, the education, the resources, the proper steps, you know, to, to take during a crisis just like we do and in fire safety. Um, you know, what are the steps that we want to teach them. But we, of course, we don’t want to do anything that’s going to scare them or give them the sense that, you know, the, the school is unsafe. Um, so, so I think it’s, it’s appropriate that we all take pause before we begin.
Um, kind of heading off in this uncharted territory. So what we did at safe and sound schools was, um, as always, you know, consult our, our expert team and all the wonderful people and school communities that we get to work with across the country and, and just started pooling ideas and, um, for me just doing what what teachers do, um, just Kinda distilling and curating and boiling it down. And, and so if you go into the toolkit on our website, you’ll see three tools that we developed that target this particular question. Um, the first one is the developmental levels of safety awareness and that just sets the up kind of, uh, a great foundation I think for this discussion. Um, which we would like to see happening with the multidisciplinary school safety team, you know, with educators, mental health, folks with parent representation, um, even some student involvement.
Um, but we want to see all the stakeholders present for the conversation. I want to make sure everybody’s on the same page about what is appropriate to ask of different age groups and developmental levels. So there’s a scale that exists, uh, on that tool, those developmental levels. And it, it just provides basic guidance for, you know, what can we expect of say, a kindergarten or versus a fifth grader versus a, an 11th grader versus a staff member. Um, all, you know, all the way up to a professionally trained, um, first responder. Um, because it’s important that we always keep in mind that the, those are very different levels and very different capabilities just like we do. Um, when we’re teaching math, um, just like we do over teaching, reading, um, we, we sell them start at the top. We, we build our way up there.
So that’s a really helpful tool that I, um, encourage folks to check out as well as we have another tool called stay safe choices. And that tool serves as an example for how you might introduce basic safety actions and options to even the youngest and most early developmental levels. Um, taking ideas and concepts like say, run, hide, fight. Um, or, or different active shooter, um, protocols and programs that exist out there and just boiling them down to what is appropriate to ask of our, our youngest of the youngest of our children. Um, and so those three stays safe choices that we came up with are to get out if there is an emergency to keep out danger if danger is approaching or, or to hide out and be out of sight from danger. So we talk about different ways to get out of a room or an area to get to safety.
We talk about different ways to keep danger out such as locking a door and blocking the door. And we don’t use, you know, big adult words like barricade. We, we try to use kid-friendly words and non frightening words and then we talk about hideout. Where are all the different places that we could be out of sight from approaching danger and when is it appropriate. For instance, it would not be appropriate to be hiding out from a fire danger. So activities like that, language like that that’s there to support our communities as well as one other tool that that’s the hierarchy of education and training activities in our toolkit. And that provides a, a menu of different things that can be done. Of course everybody goes right to drills, I think in their minds only think about safety. Um, you know, safety preparations in education. But, uh, there there’s a lot more that we can do to teach.
There are games, there are activities, there are discussions that we can engage youth in. So I encourage folks to, to check those out as well as, um, we features several different pieces of children’s literature that are wonderful. Um, elementary school teachers do a lot of teaching with literature. Uh, we’ll, we’ll start, um, you know, we’ll start a lesson with a, a book as our anchor and then we’ll lead off into an activity. So I do recommend for our parents and educators of younger children to check out some of that literature and certainly everyone should check out those tools on, on our, um, available on our website in our toolkits. Great. Thank you. Michelle. Here’s a question that probably both of you want to comment on. So I’ll start with Jim. You mentioned the PA system earlier. That is a huge piece of our safety procedures for lockdown. What is an alternative method of notifying the staff and students if the active shooter is in the office and we can’t get to the PA?
Sure. Well, in the raptor, uh, emergency management application, we do include, uh, push notifications to staff in that building when an incident is initiated. So in our application you initiate an incident and immediately pushes out, um, email and text alerts too. All staff members in that building indicating whether it’s a locked down with an active shooter or a shelter or whatever that might be. So it’s Mo more often than not using combination, the PA system. But if the PA system is not working, it itself does send out those alerts to all staff members across the entire building.
Alright, thank you. Jen, do you have anything? I, I do. Um, I think, you know, a lot of our school communities are, are looking at these types of op options. Like, like what your, what Jim is describing. Um, and I think the key thing here is to be thinking of redundancy. Just like when we do all of our, um, all of our emergency planning and preparation, we’re learning from, you know, our public safety folks, our safety professionals that, um, it comes down to redundancy. So it many different options and channels as we can give that, that can be very helpful when, you know, um, time is scarce and the crisis is imminent. So, um, in our case, the, the PA, you know, it’ll be, could get to the PA, the PA was really only in three main locations in our building and the front office where everyone was hiding for their lives, um, in the conference room down the hall where folks were also hiding for their lives.
Um, eventually a staff member calling nine one one from that office accidentally, um, you know, engage the PA system. Um, so, so some information was getting out that way. Um, and then we also had the, um, the media center had a, had a landline that was also pa capable. So, you know, stepping back and looking at how many different landlines do we have in the school. Um, and, and are those, are those phones, PA capable? Um, you know, I’ve taught in a variety of different schools and in some of the schools that I worked in, there wasn’t a phone in the classroom except my cell phone. Um, but in other newer buildings I had a phone that was pa capable. The only thing was I didn’t know how to use it. I was never taught, um, how to, how to utilize the PA from my classroom phone.
So it’s important that we take a step back and make sure that, um, we are taking stock of the equipment we have and also that everybody knows how to use it. Um, so for instance, in my classroom it would’ve been great to have a little sign posted next to my classroom phone that in case I had a substitute teacher or in case a student even needed to get to the PA, uh, to, to inform others of an emergency, they could do that. So, um, the PA capable phones, um, the vocal warnings like our, our, um, custodian, he went running through the building when he figured out what was going on and was just shouting at the top of his lungs. Um, so, you know, he really, he, he knew how important it was to get that information out and he just risked his life to do so, um, as well.
Two way radios are another thing we see a lot of, uh, school systems using. Um, in fact on our website, in the inspiring ideas section, there’s a great idea that I’m a school resource officer had when his police department was retiring their two way radio system, they, they gave it to the nearby schools. Uh, so that the schools, you know, we’re able to use the, the two way radios, um, and now had direct communication with police. So just looking a lot of the technology options that are out there and of course, making sure that everybody’s familiar with them, knows how to use them and that we’re practicing those with our, you know, our plans and our, our jobs as well.
Great. Thank you. Another question that you both will be able to comment on. So we’ll start with you Michelle and then see if Jim would like to add anything. The question is, are there any materials, videos or training procedures for school secretary to help them have a common foundation about managing the secure entry of people to the school and how to handle the wide range of scenarios that they could potentially deal with in an emergency. Michelle,
you know, there are some out there. I think one of the best resources for videos like that is another organization that we work with called safe havens. Um, so if you go to the safe havens website, I believe it’s just safe haven stop or
Mike Dorn is their, um, their executive director and uh, they do a lot with videos and, um, you know, scenarios for staff and, um, I know that they have some that, that address this issue of, you know, our, our, our, our office staff is, is often the first line of defense in terms of who’s who’s coming and going from the building. Um, but I think it’s really important for us to, you know, address not only the training, give them the language, um, but they also will need a lot of support. You know, they’ll need tools, they’ll need technology, um, and they’ll need practice. So, um, I encourage folks to continue to look for, for those types of things. But I think, you know, scenario based training, practicing having exercises together, I’m kind of walking through and modeling different situations that they may encounter that really empowers staff. Um, they feel more comfortable, um, because you, you just never know what’s, what’s coming in your door. Um, especially in the front office. So it’s, it’s wonderful for them to have, um, not just the tools and resources, but also the practice. But I do encourage you to check out some of the videos at, uh, safe havens.org
and I would say from a raptors perspective, we, I would say two things. One is we have a lot of districts that we add as, as new clients that don’t necessarily have a district wide set of policies as to how handle different types
of entrance. And, uh, even how to handle registered sex offenders who are attempting to enter and things like that. So one thing that we’ve done for our new clients is we’ve put together, we’ve actually had donations from a few of our clients who have donated their a visitor management and entry policies and said that other wraps or clients could use these policies. And so we actually have examples and we give those examples to our new clients so that they can then help that can help them to develop their set of policies. At the end of the day, raptor never dictates policies, but we do like to ensure that our, uh, new clients have all the tools they can to, to create their policies. And then with respect to training, we do both onsite and remote training to train the personnel as to exactly how to use, uh, the raptor system and, and manage the alerts that might come up for custom alerts or for registered sex offender alerts. And then finally, what we also have ongoing training and something we call Raptor University. And as many of you know on the call there’s a lot of, sometimes there’s turnover in front office staff and so we have throughout the year a training on a weekly and during back to school on a daily basis for anyone who is using any element of the raptor system. There is both live and recorded training to make sure that they know exactly what to do and how to do it.
Thank you Jim. We have a few other questions specifically for you on the raptor technologies. A couple of them revolve around price, um, and the cost of the technologies at per school, per number of students, monthly fee, yearly fee, et Cetera.
Sure. So I’ll address uh, a couple, the different systems in our visitor management system for a basic version of the visitor management system, it’s approximately $1,600 per building in the first year that a mountain gets you everything you need and year one, everything from the ID scanner to the badge printer to set up and the software fee and all of that afterwards. Once you have all that equipment, all it is is an ongoing subscription costs, which is approximately $540 per building per year. So there’s the year one and then there’s the a after year one. Once you have your equipment with respect to raptor’s emergency management system, it actually depends upon whether you’re a raptor client or not. If you’re not a raptor visitor management client, it’s approximately a thousand dollars per building per year for that entire suite. Emergency Management Suite. That includes rapid reunification as well as raptor drill manager.
If you are a raptor client, uh, there is uh, a discount and you get it at $600 per building per year if you’re already using the raptor visitor management on the volunteer management side, it’s really if you’re wearing the, the basics of volunteer management is included in the regular system as you saw in that screenshot. But if you want to do full criminal background screenings for volunteers, which we can do for the districts, uh, that’s based on a a per check price and there’s three different levels, but anyone can reach out to us and we can give them the pricing on that. But it really depends on the Le the depth that they want to do the full criminal background check. So that’s the basics of raptor pricing. Okay.
Thank you Jim. Another question for you is around, um, have you coordinated your program with the, I love you guys foundation safe standard response protocol. Could you address that?
Sure. Uh, the simple answer is yes, we have, um, we work very closely with the, I love you guys foundation and the emergency management product very closely aligns to the standard response protocol as well as the standard reunification method. If you don’t use those methods, it can be adapted to whatever methods you do use. But yes, we are, we’re very close with the, I love you guys foundation and made sure that the product could follow that Schema for both standard response protocol and standard reunification method.
All right. Thank you, Michelle, for you. In reference to the key system where car keys are given in place, um, in place of school keys, I think the question should read, it’s the, if the school keys are lost by the substitute, what is done in that situation? Yeah, I mean, that’s the, that’s a policy that’s a policy issue. But you know, I think oftentimes when keys are lost, um, employees are reluctant to report it or, um, you know, they’ll, because it’s expensive and there might be some repercussions. They’ll, they’ll wait a little while and search a little bit longer and we just can’t afford that. We can’t afford to have keys floating around in our, in our community. So I think the most important thing is that that can’t happen when, when you’ve got a system like this in place, um, you know, the day ends and in order to get your car keys back, you, you have to produce the classroom key.
If you don’t have it, um, well we’ll then, you know, we have to work together to figure out where it might be or we need to, um, you know, replace it or, um, or even maybe even look at changing the locks. So, um, I think that the critical piece there is just finding out as quickly as possible if, if there is, you know, a key floating around in the community. Um, and you know, the schools that we work with that are employing a kind of giving get system like this are reporting great success with it.
Great. Thank you. Okay. I’m also for you Michelle. Um, do you recommend that students near an escape window, um, use it if they have the chance to get out into safety? That’s a great question. It’s going to be very dependent upon their circumstances. Um, and so I think that’s why it’s really important to have these conversations in the classroom, to have them with our school resource officers, um, you know, to, to not, so not just the educators, um, but, but parents get to know how this conversation goes. Um, we’re talking about all of our different options for safety and these are options that will serve our children, um, you know, out out in the world and the grocery store and the house of worship. Um, you know, at concerts, at the movies. Um, we want them to, to feel empowered and feel as though there are actions that they can take to protect themselves rather than just, you know, sitting still and waiting. So, um, you know, it certainly depends, uh, using the window. Is it a second story classroom? Um, is there another safer way to get out? We want, um, all of those to be conversations that students are having ahead of time with administrators, with educators. Um, and particularly with school resource officers. We really want to see, um, the school resource officer used as that safety resource in, in the community, um, to help guide our students and our staff towards the best and the safest options.
And forgive me, Michelle, if I’m, uh, jumping in on, on some of the details that I do very vividly recall [inaudible] your story about one of the classrooms, uh, that, that gunman entered. And, uh, and he began to fumble with his, his weapon or reload or something like that. And it was stuck in my mind that you mentioned that the kids are many kids in the classroom took the initiative to simply run out the door at that. Let, let me let you say it, but uh, that has stuck in my mind from hearing that in your presentation.
Yeah, I’m glad that you brought it up. Um, because they, they did just that, um, while the gunman was distracted momentarily, um, you know, two kids went and hid in the bathroom and were never discovered. And then two other smaller groups of kids just ran. They ran right past him to get out of the classroom and to get ’em out of the school ultimately. So, you know, in that case, uh, instincts kicked in for them. This was not something that we had practiced, um, or even a discussion that we had had. But here are these six and seven year olds. We’re able to determine, okay, this place is not safe for us right now. We will be safer out of this place. The quickest and best way for us to get out is this door. You know, we were a first story classroom that, that classroom as well as my daughter’s classroom.
So of course, you know, they could have gone to the windows, but, but they knew, um, even, you know, at their young age that that would’ve taken time and that would have been dangerous and so on and so forth. They went for the quickest, safest possible route out. And we’re just encouraging, um, conversations like that to take place in the classroom when it’s not an emergency situation. Um, if, if for any reason we ever have to get out, um, you know, let’s, let’s look around, let’s make sure that we know how we’ll get out of if we need to and, um, and make sure that everyone’s comfortable with that and everyone’s, uh, practiced that, um, and, and, um, and, and feels empowered by that.
Okay. Great. Well, um, I apologize to those, um, who had submitted questions that we aren’t able to get to. Oh, I have one more to toes. It’s for you, Jim. Um, and rest assured if you would like, um, responses, we will be happy to answer these questions after the Webinar. I’ll put up some contact information that you can use. [inaudible] um, this question, this final question, Jim is about specifically wrapped the raptor program and how it is different from other a program. Um, and they specifically ah, mentioned identikit. Yeah. But the general question is, yeah, what, how does, how does raptor differ?
Sure. So I think there’s a cue, a few key differences between raptor and, uh, some, some other products out in the market. And I think those differences kind of add up and show themselves in, in the number of schools across the country that use raptor, which is almost 20,000 schools across the country that use raptor. I think that number is, is comes from a few different things. One is we are very, we’ve always been focused on K-12. Um, that’s not to say that, uh, you know, businesses and healthcare facilities and things like that don’t need these systems. They do. But, uh, we’ve for 15 years been focused on, on K-12. So we have built into the system
a a large amount of depth for the needs that K-12 finds themselves having. So our focus on K-12 I think is one of the key elements. The second key element is that we’re designed from the beginning to be an enterprise system. That means, uh, a district wide system. So if you’re a two school districts, you know, might not be that important that you can manage the system and report on the system at the district level. You might be able to add those reports up. But when you get to via a five school district, 10 school, 50 a hundred, 200, 300 school districts, it’s very important that you have enterprise level management. So raptor was designed from the beginning to be an enterprise wide system for the whole district. Obviously it can be managed, uh, pieces at the school level, but it’s, it’s designed to be an enterprise wide system where you can report and administer at the, at the district level.
So I think that’s very important. I mean, another key differentiator is you can buy the best software in the world, but if you get off to a bad start, it’s not going to go well. So we spent a lot of time making sure that our implementation and training get districts off, uh, on the right foot. Um, we, we actually have a 99% annual customer retention rate. So I think that, uh, that’s, that’s in part because we make sure with those policies that I’ve mentioned, those sample policies that I mentioned, we also have sample parent communication letters. We also have sample staff communication letters, things like that. So we make sure that our implementation and training gets them off on the right foot. And then finally, I’d, I’d say, uh, uh, we have a tremendous, uh, technical support department that makes sure that clients are, uh, get their issues solved extremely quickly and are very happy. And again, I think that leads into our 99% annual customer retention. So I’d say there are a few important things that do differentiate us.
Thank you, Tim. Um, and thank you both to Michelle and Jim for joining us today. And speaking with us. Um, the work that you do is, is critical and important. Um, and thank you to all the attendees for taking the time and, and clearly, you know, school safety is a priority for you as well. Uh, and um, and we’re grateful that you joined us. For more information about raptor technologies, please visit us at this [inaudible] a URL or email [email protected] or give us a call at the phone number on the screen. Um, and just before we sign off, um, Michelle, did you have any last comments that you’d like to make?
Yeah, I just wanted to put in one more plug and it reminded me that I love you guys came up to, I love you guys. Foundation is another wonderful resource for all of the schools. Um, you know all of our members on the call today, so if you haven’t checked them out, definitely check out. Uh, I love you guys.org. Um, as well, you can check that on our [email protected] We have a resource page that, um, we’re always adding to that, you know, has other organizations, great organizations out there working in this shared mission. Like, like, I love you guys, um, like safe havens that I had mentioned, um, as well as a lot of other great resources out there. So definitely check those out and please do let us know if they’ve been found safe and sound schools as well, if, if there are others that you want to see added on there, because that’s, that’s what we’re all about is, is sharing this mission together. So thanks from us as well.
Okay, wonderful. Well, thank you everyone and have a wonderful rest of your day. This concludes today’s Webinar.