BILLERICA, MA — On Wednesday, October 24, 2018, Shawsheen Valley Technical High School welcomed community safety officials and State Representative Marc Lombardo to review and demonstrate the school’s updated security systems and recently-constructed Crisis Command Center.
Superintendent-Director Timothy Broadrick and the District School Committee have been engaged in a three-year campus security project to bring the 49-year-old Shawsheen Technical High School building and grounds into the cutting edge of school security. According to Superintendent Broadrick, “One of the challenges of an aging facility is making the right kinds of thoughtful investments that preserve the usefulness and longevity of the structures. Our School Committee and our five member communities understand this, and they have annually supported a capital plan that keeps this place in great shape.”
State Representative Marc Lombardo has been a champion of public safety as well as all forms of public education in Billerica, both in the Billerica Public School System and at Shawsheen Tech. When he heard about the Shawsheen District’s plans from the Superintendent, he committed to lending a hand. As a result, Representative Lombardo introduced a FY19 state budget line item for $50,000 to support the school’s efforts. Shawsheen Tech is using the additional support to integrate a software system – Sielox Class – in a dedicated crisis management facility that will enable school officials as well as the Billerica Police department to respond to a variety of different kinds of emergencies in real time.
Principal Jessica Cook and the high school’s Crisis Team have been working with the District’s security contractor and the Billerica Police to design protocols for a variety of potential safety threat situations. “It’s certainly a shame that educators have to spend time thinking about some of these things,” said Cook, “but, our students and staff have to feel safe in order for quality teaching and learning to occur.”
The system will link the school to the Billerica Police department to allow instant notification when a “lockdown” or other crisis response occurs. Additionally, Cook says that the system can link to parent notification systems and the school’s website to make public announcements when necessary. Cook and her team have also been focused on the constant evaluation and growth of the school’s safety and security protocols to ensure and provide a safe and supportive learning environment. Staff at the school have begun training on enhanced crisis response routines, which will soon include student drills, after communication with parents and additional staff training. Says Cook, “Some of these changes feel overdue, but every school is racing to ensure its students are as safe as possible. We are taking steps to not only catch up with the times, but to be on the leading edge of this kind of work. This Crisis Command Center will be an invaluable resource to us.”
(NOTE: The above press release is from the Shawsheen Tech.)
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