As schools rushed toward the conclusion of the calendar year 2012, the usual omnipresent flurry of holiday-themed activity and celebration was shadowed by the horrific events visited upon the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the town of Newtown, CT. Millions of tears, millions of reflections and millions of supporting gestures were not able to significantly mitigate the pain of the victims’ families…but each of those gestures represented the resilient “best” in human beings: the indefatigable desire to believe that light will overcome dark and that goodness will, ultimately,triumph over evil.
All of us at TregoED join now, as we did when the tragedy struck, in sending our heartfelt sympathy to the educators and townspeople impacted by the tragedy …and we vow to do whatever we can to assist school leaders as they grapple with the problems and decisions connected to school safety.We rejoiced as we watched the coverage of children returning to their “new” school in the neighboring community and we wish them, their teachers, and their families only the best in the new year.
A stalwart determination to improve the daily operation of how schools do business every day is evident in the efforts made by school leaders who strive to find solutions to problems that can capitalize upon the strengths of people in varying situations:academic, financial or safety-centered.
Right now, there is little doubt but that most school leaders are turning some attention to the question of how to strengthen the security…both internal and external…around their campuses. Perhaps never before have we, as a group of thoughtful decision-makers, recognized that we cannot continue to do business as we always have…that the old, tried and true, solutions to problems are, often, no longer up to the challenge of the world in which we now live.
School Safety and Analytic Process…
Two of TregoED’s problem solving tools are especially suited to conversations about how schools can best assess their current level of security as well as determine how to improve it. Although the tools have most often been used in other areas congruent to school organization and administration, their applicability to this newest looming problem is evident to all of us who are familiar with the flexibility of the analytic tools.
Situation Appraisal, a wide-lens assessment protocol, allows objective and thorough observation of situations as they currently exist…in reality. Potential Problem Analysis, a more tightly focused and future-oriented process, assists in the development of plans to safeguard against impacting forces that might become factors in a given situation.
School leaders who have used these tools in varying applications have reported that the clarity their use brings to analysis is invaluable. One school superintendent implemented a large scale Situation Appraisal while attempting to determine how to make budgetary cuts in ways that would have the least negative impact upon existing programs, staff and students. Following the facilitated SA, he and his cabinet members rolled not Potential Problem Analysis in order to mitigate against the anticipated and inevitable push back that would result from any budget cut. The Superintendent observed that he was amazed at one result of the process: the leader of a program designated to be eliminated said to him ” While I do not agree with your decision, I do understand how you came to it.”
The issues of school safety and student safety can be immediately assessed and better clarified through application of these tools…and a long term plan can be shaped that will be not only responsible but reasonable and achievable.
As schools ready themselves to return to the rigor of the standard academic year, we hope that 2013 will usher in a new period of peace for all of our the children….with blessings abundant for them and for those who guide and teach them every day.
We’re Here For You…
TregoED and its proven collection of task-specific tools continue to be a significant “starting place” for leaders to implement systemic change. Please feel free to visit our website or call us for assistance in your quest to improve your school communities.