An overview of the Oakdale Joint Unified School District’s safety plan and coordinated crisis response plan was presented to the district Board of Trustees at the Jan. 14 regular meeting. In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, information about school district safety plans has been in the forefront of people’s minds.
OJUSD Director of Pupil Services Larry Mendonca presented the report to the board and talked about why crisis response plans are needed. The primary reasons are to: mitigate the effect of chaos; have a stabilizing effect for calm, coordinated, reasoned response; coordinate expertise and service; have a healthy response to emotional needs; and facilitate a quicker return to normalcy.
“Planning is first and foremost where we need to begin,” Mendonca said. “…but we don’t want these documents collecting dust…”
California Education Code requires that schools have comprehensive safety plans and also that they prepare for emergencies using a Standardized Emergency Management System. Mendonca reported that Oakdale created a district-wide emergency response plan in 2000 and then embarked on creating a comprehensive plan in 2008 by hiring a consultant to incorporate the most current safety practices and procedures. It was approved by the school board in 2009. The plan is updated every year. Mendonca gave a detailed overview about the services that the consultant provided, how they addressed all safety issues, and he also talked about the procedures and equipment that were put into place due to that information.
Mendonca reported that the consultant provided the district with a Comprehensive School Site Safety Plan (CSSSP), which is a public document, and also Emergency Procedure Manuals and Grab-n-Go manuals, which are private documents, and classrooms are equipped with Wall Flip Charts for teachers to refer to for safety procedures. He noted that the pre-determined response “teams” at each school have attended trainings and have had practice drills. Students also participate in safety drills each school year.
Mendonca also reiterated to the board that the core value for the district is to maintain a safe school and learning environment.
A special board meeting on school safety plans will take place on Monday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Oakdale City Council Chambers, 277 N. Second.
In other business, Chief Business Officer Susan Dyke reported that second quarter developer fees collected by the district exceeded the first quarter. Further, she stated that so far, the fees collected are almost double of what was collected in developer fees for all of last year.
The next regular meeting of the OJUSD Board of Trustees will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4 at the OJUSD Technology and Staff Development Center, 331 Hinkley Ave., near Oakdale High School.