January 8, 2016
“To provide a safe and secure school environment conducive to learning with the cooperation of students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and the community.”
Georgia Department of Education School Safety Mission Statement
One of the many roles I have at Almadina Ogden campus is School Safety Coordinator. It is by far one of the most important roles I play. In order to promote a positive learning environment for all who work and learn in our building—students, teachers, caretakers, office employees, educational assistants, parents, volunteers, and visitors—the need to feel safe is of first and foremost importance. Before I come into work every day, I ask myself, “Do I feel safe at Almadina Ogden Campus?” The presentation on January 4th discussed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, safety is right at the base of the needs pyramid. The only thing more important than feeling safe, according to this pyramid, is meeting one’s physiological needs. In other words, if students did not come to school with their basic needs for air, water, food, and sleep satisfied, they wouldn’t care about safety. For the majority of students, these physiological needs are being met. Therefore, if students or others who come to work do not feel safe, learning and productive work may not take place.
There are many things we as educators can do to help promote a safe learning environment. A school that is safe and responsive to all children will do the following:
- Focus on academic achievement.
- Involve families in meaningful ways.
- Develop links to the community.
- Emphasize positive relationships among students and staff.
- Discuss safety issues openly.
- Treat students with equal respect.
- Create ways for students to share their concerns.
- Help children feel safe expressing their feelings.
- Have in place a system for referring children who are suspected of being abused or neglected.
- Promote good citizenship and character.
- Identify problems and assess progress toward solutions.
- Support students in making the transition to adult life and work-place. (U.S. Department of Education, 2004)
The answer to the question I ask myself every day is a resounding “YES!” From the custodians walking through and around the building checking for suspicious items each morning to the safety drills we conduct on what seems like a weekly basis, I know that everyone who works at Almadina does everything possible to make it a safer school. I appreciate all the things you do to make school safety a daily reality! (Even those who keep us on our toes while burning yeast, popcorn, or bread in the microwaves!)
Have a great weekend!