“They’re going back!”
In 1996, Staples debuted its classic commercial about children going back to school and late summer being the most wonderful time of the year. The humor of the spot was immediately recognized, but the real brilliance is that the office supply brand recognized that parents feel best when their children are back in school thriving in a safe, progressive learning environment.
Educators, administrators, and personnel who work in K-12 schools share the same affinity for thriving in a safe, progressive learning environment. The key difference is – teachers and school employees are typically on the delivery end of that expectation.
Parents, the public, and pupils expect K-12 staff to share knowledge with children and keep them safe. Rave Mobile Safety understands this and has spent the better part of 18 years working with educators and officials so that students, at every level, are protected from unwanted threats, adverse weather, and other challenges. That is why the Rave Platform helps to provide timely and targeted communication and situational awareness to school personnel, 9-1-1 call takers, responders, and others during planned events or crisis scenarios.
While building safety communication and collaboration tools, the Rave team and customers have exchanged countless stories and lessons about safety. This extensive K-12 knowledge base grows each year and led to the development of Rave Summit – an annual learning forum that begins on September 27. This year’s free 3-day virtual Summit has a theme of “Building Resilience Together”.
The Summit exists so that those responsible for safety are up to speed on real-world issues, challenges, opportunities, and technologies. The program begins with a training day for Rave customers and those interested in learning more about Rave’s safety solutions. Then over the course of the final two days, attendees hear from interesting keynote speakers and can choose from 21 educational and roundtable sessions – seven of which are centered around K-12 school safety.
In the two-part series, School Safety Actions We Can Take Today, officials from Greenwood Public School (AR), Okaloosa County School District (FL) and Sussex County (DE) discuss common themes as well as the characteristics of perpetrators that they have seen or heard about as they work to protect their school populations. Presenters Jim Caudle, Danny Dean, and Joseph Thomas explain that there are actions that can be taken locally and immediately to address persistent and emerging issues, and, in many cases, there are steps that require little to no additional resources. The trio also emphasizes the importance of school officials and 9-1-1 resources collaborating on the selection of technology so that the safety solution is seamless and effective for their community. Both sessions feature critical discussions about the lifesaving changes and tools that have been implemented in their schools so that pupils, teachers, and staff are protected from harm.
Feeling safe at school can mean different things to different people. Thus, the reason that each of the 50 states have their own laws, policies and regulations which have continued to evolve over time to include bullying prevention initiatives. Today, every state has anti-bullying laws. Additionally, K-12 schools and organizations are working together to raise awareness of the impact that bullying can have on a student.
The Fostering Resilience in Your LGBTQ Students session looks at suicide being the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24. Representatives from the Yes Institute will speak about LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning) youth being more than 4 times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers. Statistics show that 1.8 million LGBTQ youth seriously consider suicide each year in the US and 1 attempts suicide every 45 seconds. Sadly, 36% of LGBTQ youth indicate that they have been physically threatened or harmed and 52% report that they have been bullied in person or online. This session will provide strategies for preventing suicide and offer tips for ensuring the healthy development of all youth through powerful communication and education on gender and orientation.
With the frequency of bullying and cyberbullying incidents continuing to impact LGBTQ+ students, it’s important that schools take action against the problem – and this session offers information to help teach and empower educators to protect all youth as we prepare to observe National Bullying Prevention month in October.
The final Summit session geared toward K-12 audiences looks at AppArmor, the popular custom-branded school app solution that Rave acquired in February of this year. AppArmor co-founder Dave Sinkinson explains how the app has been helping schools with emergency response and crisis management needs, as well as incident reporting since 2011. Sinkinson and his team created more than 50 powerful AppArmor features over the years including the ability to make content changes in real-time without having to go the App store, multi-modal notification capabilities, internal command and control features, automated safety check-in systems, and advanced web and mobile reporting so that students and staff can “see something and say something”.
Sinkinson speaks about the creation of FortifyFL which was funded in 2018 by the Florida Legislature as part of the Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School Public Safety Act. In fact, the app was named and partially designed by students at the school and developed by AppArmor so that 3 million students and community members could report suspicious activity and relay important activity to law enforcement agencies and school officials. Students can share pictures and videos and submit contact information, if they want to, via text, email, and voice call. Police and school officials are immediately notified and if a tip is not acknowledged, the notifications escalate – sending more frequent messages which simply cannot be ignored. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is just one law enforcement source that knows the value of FortifyFL and AppArmor. Officers from that department arrested an individual who made a threat about using a weapon at a school within 15 minutes of a tip being reported by a student.
And finally, if you are new to any of Rave’s solutions or are a seasoned user looking to do more, take advantage of the Summit’s 30-minute training sessions. Learn how to maximize the potential of SwiftK12, a proven parent notification system that helps schools communicate more effectively with nearly 3 million students and families that can be fully leveraged within PowerSchool. Or find out how your school can utilize Panic Button, which is being used in all 50 states. Panic Button is protecting more than 10,000 customers worldwide and is deployed statewide in Louisiana, New Mexico, Delaware, and in Oklahoma where the governor of that state just mandated that every school have the app deployed by September 1.
The Rave Summit is the safe, progressive learning environment that I mentioned at the outset of this blog. It exists so that educators and others can thrive in their roles and keep safety at the forefront.