THE ONLY SYSTEM THAT MEETS THE USDOE ‘CLIMATE ASSESSMENT’ REQUIREMENT FOR IDEA
- Special Education IDEA Compliance [Federally required Climate Assessment]
- Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
- Bus Transportation
- Superintendents / Principals Management
- Classroom Management
SERAPH SCHOOL SECURITY AUDIT CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
The School Security Audit Certification Program provides school officials with unique training in the planning and execution of a complete audit of school security equipment, management systems and polices as they relate to the proper management of a safe school environment.
Participants will be trained to access the following: Exterior access to each building Interior security procedures for each building Sub cultural group aggression Vendor process Liability assessment Computer access Internal theft Management procedures Construction issues Law Enforcement / Emergency Response Integration
- Phase 1 – Research and preliminary assessment of crime, social issues and population growth
- Phase 2 – On site physical assessment and interviews
- Phase 3 – Report design and live report review for school board or safety committees
- A 4 hour [plus 1 hour of break time] – one day initial training [Level 1] is performed on site.
- Within 10 days of the initial training date, a 3 hour [plus 30 minutes of break time] – [Level 2] training is performed onsite.
- An online meeting will be held by SERAPH with the team to assess progress on the time line developed at the end of the training.
- SERAPH will provide remote oversight during the audit process for the certified team.
- After the dual training sessions the district team will be qualified to use the SERAPH audit process for a period of 12 months.
A Complete Assessment of All Security Systems and Policies Within Schools or Districts
In 1989, SERAPH developed and executed the first school SCHOOL SECURITY MANAGEMENT AUDIT – SCHOOL SAFETY ASSESSMENT in the United States. The SERAPH propriety system is a unique way to completely assess the needs of a school or district as they relate to safety and security issues.
- Exterior access to each building – PREVENTION INTRUSION
- Interior security procedures for each building – PREVENTION OF CRIME
- Sub cultural group aggression
- Vendor process and SECURITY
- Liability assessment and SECURITY
- Internal theft PREVENTION
- Management procedures and the Prevention of Crimes
- Construction issues and Security
- Law Enforcement / Emergency Response Integration
Meeting LEA Minimum Standards.
Audit assistance in securing new Federal Grants.
Lowering of Liability – Negative Behavior Cliques and Crime.
Improved Building Management. Significant decrease in Operational costs.
The SERAPH School Safety Audit Safety Assessment Approach: SERAPH begins each audit project with a primary standard in mind; life safety before physical asset protection.
Our standard also emphasizes Relationship Building/Maintenance: We always reiterate that written rules, policies and procedures can only be as effective as their actual utilization and that there must be an insistence on consequences that are enacted regularly. “What we practice, we become.” We state in several places of all reports that all of the technology, all of the policies and procedures, rules, regulations, etc. are not enough.
IT IS CRUCIAL that each building work on establishing relationships between students, parents, teachers, administration, staff and Board, especially in light of the recent incidents occurring across the country in our school systems. This would help assure that the urban/suburban “crack kids”, that is not to say those who use “crack”, but those who “fall between them” in our over-populated schools, those who commit crimes and those who feel disenfranchised, feel they are part of a safe, caring, learning environment. The beauty of these types of approaches are they generally don’t cost in “dollars” but just in “time” on the part of all the members of the school community. They still offer the best prevention strategy against the terrible events that have occurred in our schools recently.
SERAPH works diligently with the District to assure that School Security is more than what has transpired since Columbine: the creation of the Illusion as opposed to the Reality of Actual Security. There are many commonly held myths of school security. SERAPH identifies reasons why the mere purchasing of technology can lead to a greater risk to safety and security, as well as exploring ways to maximize the use of security technology will be implemented.
SERAPH demonstrates the importance of ensuring school safety before any substantial investment in technology and looks at ways for districts to actually assess their own schools’ state of readiness. The SERAPH approach is a purposely conceived one of safe people as opposed to the old approach of reaction, which asserted it would protect people and was asset driven and.
SERAPH emphasizes a conceptual approach as opposed to non-conceptual approach based on the best vendor sale pitch approach.
SERAPH offers a focused proactive approach based on staff education to deter, prevent and identify potential events integrated with a proactive hardware design that enables staff to easily recognize and diagnose potential risks and situations.
SERAPH recommends fortifying the exterior entry and exit points through automatic notification of a potential threat before any contact with the facility thus preventing a potential intruder from gaining any access. Periodic audits and inspections are made to verify that current security practices are being met. We offer a totally proactive approach.
Understanding the Community Before we begin the audit process we want to understand more about the community at large. The Intel that we require includes crime statistical data, gang related activity, the proximity of the community to large cities, the proximity of the community to major transportation arteries, the proximity of the community to critical infrastructure installations such as airports, military complexes, nuclear power plants, dams and waterways etc. We will also want to gain an understanding of the first responder and municipal government’s relationship with the district.
Understanding the School District Community We next will do a “ten thousand foot” study of the school district itself. We will want to understand the size of the school district, the proximity of all of the buildings to one another, traffic patterns around the campuses, the complexity of bus routes, the physical parameters of the district, the proximity to neighboring district schools, faculty size, staff size, student body size, parent and community involvement, parent and community involvement in emergency response and disaster planning and the administrative makeup, to name a few.
School District Historicals The SERAPH team will then want to get a pre-audit understanding of chronic or acute issues that have occurred or are ongoing within the district. We will seek information on major events, the outcomes of those events and lessons learned. We will want to know about evacuations, history with the staffing of SRO personnel, sheltering experiences, sheltering in place experiences, known hazards, drills, alarms, training, workshops, tabletop exercises and their outcomes. We will also seek Intel on incidents of suspicious mail, missing students, fire alarms, emergencies, after school activity incidents, transportation incidents, field trip incidents, bomb threats, actual lock downs, actual shelter-in-place events, suicides or attempted suicides, hostile parents, staff misconduct, responses to natural disasters, issues with the media or issues with non-custodial parents at parent-student reunification points. The above is a sampling of our pre-audit “Historicals” process.
Student Services & Business Systems Pre-audit, SERAPH personnel will want to know the School’s strategic vision of topics such as smart classrooms and the use of electronic devices to enhance education. Each can affect the overall policy and physical electronic security solution recommendations. We will also seek an understanding of the School’s success rate with new HIB practices and reporting procedures, student services success stories, the makeup of the school psychology and counseling staff as well as Intel relating to other student and community related services, systems and programs.
Initial Contact: Understanding Expectations The official initiation of the audit and gap analysis process begins with a “Kickoff” session between School District leadership and SERAPH Senior Audit personnel. The primary reason for the kickoff meeting is to establish a clear understanding of one another’s expectations throughout the process, the rules of engagement for the audit and gap analysis process, a clear understanding of communications protocol. We will also expect the delivery of physical copies of documents to Senior Auditors including a current employee handbook, a current student handbook, floor plan and riser drawings, response plans, electronic security device specifications, bus routes, industrial control emergency shutdown procedures, drilling procedures, a current emergency management plan, any crisis intervention plan, policy and procedure handbooks and any other material pre-requested by SERAPH that administrators are agreeable to provide. SERAPH’s perspective: Although we believe that current plans are excellent roadmaps to local expert logic and important templates on which to build, we also believe that the proper perspective is one of planning and not static plans. Crisis situations are dynamic. They are always evolving until they have reached their conclusion. A crisis event is either degrading or improving or morphing or spinning into secondary events. Planning for contingencies through an unfettered use of imaginative brainstorming is critical in keeping the mitigation and or containment of an incident on track and not veering out of control.
Initial Interviews: Understanding Need Through all of the above the auditors will gain a firm understanding of projected needs but until supported by the position of school leaders along with the audit process itself, initial conclusions are merely assumptions. From the highest level of leadership to an impromptu meeting with building level school leaders our auditors will seek to understand the district position and perception of need as it relates to an overall safe and secure learning environment school community ecosystem.
Audit Phase One: Campus and Grounds In phase one auditors enter school grounds thinking in terms of contingencies related to situational awareness including the proximity of fire hydrants to known or potential assigned student assemblage areas in the case of a building evacuation due to fire, the potential of sniper positions in secondary shooter events and a number of other potential scenarios. From the aforementioned perspective we will examine the logic of roadways, the efficiencies of pedestrian walkways, out buildings, athletic facilities, gated roadways, the systemization of parking lots, the luminance quality of outdoor lighting, the effectiveness of directional wayfinding – does signage direct visitors to a singular point of entrance, is there external surveillance, the effectiveness of the placement of surveillance, is there appropriate fencing, proximity to drainage ditches, proximity to tree lines, gang related graffiti, does it appear that safety and security physical installations are in place based on school policy and how effectively are they accomplishing that mission. The above is a sampling of phase one audit considerations.
Audit Phase Two: Building Perimeter With the next phase of the audit process our auditors take a very close look at the effectiveness of the overall visitor management system, access control system, building mounted surveillance systems (including the effectiveness of position), unlocked or propped doors or evidence of the same (we conduct the hardened perimeter examination before school, during school hours and during after school activities), unlocked windows, any blocked area of designated egress, the security of vendor and vendor control processes and procedures “from the loading dock to the freezer”, the effectiveness of exterior contacts, audibility of intercom systems, hardware locking systems vs. wireless locking systems and pedestrian traffic patterns (Both Visitors and School Community Members). The above is a sampling of phase two of audit considerations.
Audit Phase Three: Building Interior SERAPH begins the building interior audit by examining the proximity of administrative offices to the primary entranceway. We will audit the visitor management process internally. We will examine the vulnerability of administrative and high asset rooms, audit IDF and MDF closets looking for neatness in wiring – switch load balances – switch age and other factors, we will audit fire systems searching out NFPA 72 AND NFPA 13 compliance, fire extinguisher inspection histories, unlocked electrical panels, industrial control and HVAC systems, the effectiveness of electronic security, the placement of AED devices, elevator usage, stairwell mirrors and tread riser ware, kitchen sanitation and security, empty classrooms for locked doors, two way intercoms between the classrooms and the office for clear communications capabilities and doors leading to court yards or industrial control rooms. The above is a sampling of phase three audit considerations.
Audit Phase Four: Evaluation of School Culture, Practices, Policies & Procedures Phase Four begins with an evaluation of school culture, its openness, student attitude between classes, leadership interaction with students, wall signage, the interaction of SRO or hall monitors with students, the interaction of faculty with students, the understanding that faculty has of evacuation and lock down plans (is there a plan handbook or check down list in each classroom) and crisis intervention from defusing to reporting, is faculty aware of the importance of accountability in reverse evacuation procedures and do they understand PAR systems. We will also assess the secondary role of staff and faculty in emergency roles, building based crisis response teams, staff specialization skill levels and knowledge in primary and secondary assignments and overall training. We will look at before and after school programs, administrative and medical “GO BAG” availability, post-traumatic stress service availability, first aid and emergency supply locations, hazmat considerations, faculty and staff training in the debriefing of first responders. The above is a sampling of phase four audit considerations.
Audit Phase Five: Evaluation of Systems In phase five auditors evaluate emergency procedures, evacuation protocols, assembly areas, standard communications systems, emergency communications systems (including two way mobile devices and strobe based pagers for the hearing impaired), adherence to ADA procedures, an understanding of the chain of command, utility and industrial control shut off procedures, reporting systems including NIMS, HIB, EVVRS, SSIR, systems for assisting the special needs population, primary and secondary evacuation systems including staging-triage and incident command areas, continuity of operations in business – education – food service and information systems and communication procedures as they relate to students / parents- guardians, staff, The media, emergency first responders and other community members. The above is a sampling of phase five audit considerations.
Audit Phase Six: Interview with Non District Personnel SERAPH attempts to conclude the audit phase of the process by leading a round table discussion between school administrators, fire personnel, law enforcement, EMS / Rescue Personnel, EMA personnel and any other stakeholder that the district may find pertinent. The purpose of the round table discussion is to gauge an overall understanding of communication and concepts such as a unified command, crime and violence trends and potential growth areas, drug related concern growth areas and an all hazards approach to emergency management. Also we are able to determine levels of interagency cooperation, the potential for mass human or natural disaster and the plans currently in place, first responder response times (helping you to plan more efficiently), to create dialog concerning ongoing training and tabletop exercises, drills and building by building pre planning. The round table discussion is an opportunity for the school district and municipal first responders to strengthen dialog relating to unified planning and communication systems. We will also examine the effectiveness of campus warning system and mobile alert system effectiveness. We will seek feedback regarding media relations, Avian Flu planning and active shooter scenario planning.
Audit Phase Seven: Policy Review SERAPH will provide a policy document review on all subjects relating to school district safety, security, HIB policy and procedures, emergency response, crisis intervention, planning practices (all levels), visitor policies, delivery procedures, vendor and contractor policies, student transportation policy, parent student reunification policy, door to door policy, overall chain of custody policy, conflict resolution, peer mediation policy, gang related policies, cyber bullying policy.
Audit Phase Seven: The Audit Report and Recommendation Process SERAPH will compile a detailed audit report containing our findings as well as a policy review. Each comment will have an attached solution building recommendation.
Audit Phase Eight: Exit Meeting SERAPH Senior Auditors will; upon request, conduct an exit meeting with school administrators with the purpose of mapping out further actions including grant fund pathway building as well as a follow up schedule and to provide an opportunity to attempt to answer any final questions.
Audit Phase Nine: Board Presentation SERAPH Senior Auditors will attend a school board meeting to present in detail (executive session) and in brief (public forum) our findings and recommendations and to attempt to answer any questions that board members may have.
Audit Phase Ten: Follow Up Procedures SERAPH will provide follow up consultations at the district’s request. The frequency of the follow up meetings can be determined at the time of the exit meeting.