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Positive school safety plan moves forward; training Aug. 18

A Message from the ECHS School Safety Committee…

August 15, 2005

Dear El Cerrito High School Community:

This summer, parents, students, community members and ECHS/district employees
(teachers, administrators, and classified staff) have been meeting together to
develop initiatives designed to promote safety at El Cerrito High School. Our
efforts have built upon the foundation of previous work undertaken in this area
at ECHS. Other models developed within our school district, notably at Pinole
Valley High School, have also inspired us. We have received assistance and
support from Diana De Gracia (Coordinator, Comprehensive School Health) and
Howard Cohen (WCCUSD Regional Superintendent for Secondary Schools).

Our plan is to develop a strong safety committee that reaches out and
incorporates the input and active involvement of all portions of our wonderful
school community. We know that the issues that give rise to unsafe conditions at
ECHS are complex but we are also convinced that, working together, we can build
a positive, supportive climate for all students and employees.

No room on the sidelines…
We wanted to take this opportunity to update you on some of the key initiatives
that will be implemented this coming school year and invite your active
participation. Guaranteeing the safety of our students and school employees is
ALL of our responsibility ---- there is no room on the sidelines for any member
of our community on this issue. YOUR school needs YOU. Starting with the new
school year, three efforts will be implemented simultaneously:

- Increased Parent/Community Presence on Campus;
- Use Lanyards (hanging ID tags) for Students and Adults on Campus; and
- A New Student Code of Conduct (for review and signature by students and
parents/guardians).

Increased Parent and Community Presence
We are convinced that providing a heightened level of adult presence on campus
will indicate to our students that the adults of this community care about their
well-being and help to discourage negative behaviors. To this end, we are
inviting parents and community members to volunteer to take shifts to be present
on campus. Your presence on campus will not supplant in any way the work or need
for our professional staff but will serve as an enhancement to their efforts.

We are asking all persons who will take part in this activity to participate in
a training, which will take place:

Date: Thursday, August 18, 2005
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Location: PE Room 72

The training will cover key logistical elements of how we will be providing a
campus presence (where we will be walking, where to pick up materials, etc.) as
well as procedures for interacting with students and employees.

All volunteers participating in this activity will be required to fill out a
volunteer questionnaire and provide this as well as evidence of a tuberculosis
test to the district’s personnel office. Volunteers will also need to receive
fingerprint clearance. The safety committee is working with the WCCUSD personnel
department to set up a special evening for fingerprints to be taken and
submitted to the Department of Justice. The cost that the Department of Justice
charges the WCCUSD for providing fingerprint clearance is $32. El Cerrito High
School will pay this fee for anyone who requests this assistance.

For more information on how you can get involved in providing an adult presence
on the ECHS campus, please email Michelle Jawad at: EcMJawad@aol.com

Lanyards for All!
This coming school year all students and adults working or volunteering on the
ECHS campus will be issued lanyards, which must be worn on campus at all times,
and will be used to quickly and easily identify them as members of the ECHS
community. The WCCUSD has purchased equipment for this purpose, which has
already been delivered to ECHS. This will allow for the replacement of lost
lanyards and the creation of new ones for new students as necessary. The ID card
on the student lanyard will also be utilized for all other student ID card
needs.

Like all new initiatives, this will require all of us working together to make
it successful. If you are an employee or student please wear your lanyard every
day as soon as it is issued to you--- it is for your safety!

Code of Conduct
By now, all students and parents/guardians have received in the mail a Code of
Conduct from the WCCUSD. Please take a few minutes to read this, familiarize
yourself with its contents, and sign it (students and parents/guardians). The
Code of Conduct describes both the rights and responsibilities of students and
ECHS. It must be completed and submitted to the school to complete the
registration process. Let’s all sign it and encourage EVERYONE to live by it!

How the Safety Committee Works
In order to maximize participation and involvement in building a safe climate at
ECHS, the Safety Committee has formed a steering committee where safety programs
and plans will be developed and evaluated. The Safety Steering Committee is
composed of representatives of “home groups” representing the key constituencies
of ECHS: students, parents/community, teachers, and classified employees. Each
“home group” is being asked to provide two representatives to the steering
committee. So far, both the student and parent home groups have held meetings.
Michael Gacutan and Jenya Jawad are the student home group representatives to
the steering committee; Lynn Chung and Leah Fuller are parent representatives to
the committee. Al Miller, parent of an ECHS alum and ECHS neighbor, has
personally delivered a letter to 262 neighbors of the school seeking their
involvement in this work!

The initiatives described above are just the beginning; the committee intends to
develop a more comprehensive plan once school starts and active input can be
garnered from all home groups. We are literally building this plane as we are
flying it so any and all suggestions on process and structure would be welcome.

Please circulate this message to all of your friends, fellow students, teachers,
parents, neighbors, employees, local businesses, city officials, and anyone else
with a stake in maintaining a safe and supportive school environment. Our
community is large and it is often difficult to get clear messages out ---- now
is the time for active communications on this issue ----don’t wait for someone
else to do it!

This will be a year of many firsts for ECHS. It will be the first time in 68
years that classes will be held in a new environment. Let’s seize this
opportunity to make sure that all of students and employees enjoy a safe
environment where everyone can achieve to their full potential. We can do it!

Very best wishes,


Glen Price
Co-Chair
ECHS Safety Committee
Run dates: 2005-08-16 - 2005-08-18
 


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