February Message from Superintendent

February 28, 2018
 
Greetings to Pine-Richland Students, Parents and Community,
 
Recent acts of violence in multiple schools have the attention of our country. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to those directly impacted by these tragic events. The loss of sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters is devastating. Concerns of safety and fear exist throughout the country and in our region. As educators, we have the additional responsibility of supporting our students as they grapple with these events. We live in an age of social media news coverage that keeps events in front of us and our children in multiple settings.
 
We continue to work in collaboration with the Northern Regional Police Department and community partners to review and revise safety and security measures. Students and staff can expect an increase in drills - both with and without students - to ensure clarity and understanding. Strengthening relationships with students and helping to ensure that every single student feels engaged and connected to school is a priority that aligns directly with our mission.
 
Resiliency again comes to mind as I write this month's letter. As a school district, we know from our time spent on this topic that we have internal and external protective factors. As a school community, we play a key role in strengthening protective factors for students. The quality and depth of our professional relationships with students is critical. We are also fortunate to have a knowledgeable and talented pupil services department. Our school psychologists and counselors have tremendous responsibility to provide direct supports to students and families. They also form relationships with outside agencies and work to connect students with services. While these resources from the National Association of School Psychologists were shared a couple weeks ago, we want to again provide the link for your review.
 
The district continues to be proactive with safety matters and encourages the community to work with the district and report any concerns. School safety is complex, and safety/security measures have elements of culture, behavior, and physical/structural design. Examples at Pine-Richland include:
  • Maintaining a daily, visible presence at all schools by the Northern Regional Police that also include walk-throughs at each school;
  • Building connections and positive relationships between students, between staff-and-student, and with families;
  • Encouraging responsible reporting by all stakeholders, including students, to trusted adults;
  • Publicizing and utilizing the TIPSline as a reporting mechanism (724) 449-TIPS;
  • Reviewing the Emergency Operations Plan on an annual basis with the Northern Regional Police Department;
  • Initiating multiple drills in each school throughout the year;
  • Evaluating and improving safety design elements (e.g., doors locked, captured vestibules, badges for adults, camera systems, etc.)
  • Implementing a strong Pupil Services program with mental health supports that includes relationships with outside agencies. 
We are listening to feedback provided by our community, and we will continue to work with appropriate agencies. One topic that has been discussed in recent months relates to the restriction of people on our campuses during the school day. Public access to the PRSD campuses is prohibited during the school day and signage will be added to that effect. An additional communication is planned in the near future that will address some of the specific details around access on our campuses.
 
Thank you again for your commitment to and support of the Pine-Richland School District.
 
Respectfully,
Brian Miller
Superintendent