Moving Towards Safety at the National Coalition for Safe Schools Summit
September 30, 2019

Moving Towards Safety at the National Coalition for Safe Schools Summit

There comes a point when action needs to take place. After so many tragedies that have occurred in schools, many students, families, and educators have carried trauma with them throughout their daily lives. It’s a hard process to bear the pain that has been caused by these tragic events. So thankfully, educators from around the nation, including Renton Prep’s executive director Dr. Michelle Zimmerman, gathered at the National Coalition for Safe Schools Summit. Their goal through this event was to address the issues and figure out solutions to ensure safety for all schools.

Ensuring Safety

Education leaders suggest that schools perform safety training in order for all students and faculty to be prepared for the worst. Renton Prep Christian School is one step ahead. With the help of New Dawn Security, our school has developed personalized security and training plans. We take safety very seriously at Renton Prep and will explore every opportunity in order to obtain it. We also had a comprehensive anti-bullying protocol and training session.

“Those traumas led us to revisit our training, protocol, and focus an even more concerted effort in strengthening school culture across our entire staff and defining values for a stronger foundation before it reaches a point of violence.”

Dr. Michelle Zimmerman on school safety

10-Year Plan

As trusted educators, we cannot sit back and expect for things to improve themselves. It is our responsibility as leaders to develop enhancement strategies that will in turn, benefit our school. Tomorrow is not promised and there is no space for unwanted surprises. In the summer of 2016, Renton Prep created a 10-year vision plan that involved putting ourselves out there.

“It meant speaking with people around the world, talking with consultants, attorneys, and taking school law seminars. We needed to help our faculty know how important developing trust, relationships, and training for students at all levels is.”

Dr. Michelle Zimmerman: 10-year vision plan

In addition to the 10-year plan, the National Coalition for Safe Schools Summit divided each of the participants into categorized groups. Dr. Michelle Zimmerman and her team worked on a Design Thinking Challenge to lay the foundation for further action.

Enforcing Change

In order to attain school safety, participants at the National Coalition for Safe Schools brought light to the changes that need to be met. Many educators brought back some of the worst cases. For example, the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 students and 6 adults were shot and killed. It was difficult to discuss the burdens caused by such violent acts. Hearing other educators share stories of trauma from these events was an eye-opening experience. However, if we never address these topics, how will they change? There are many cases that go unnoticed or are not given much attention.

“These are the realities we face as educators on a daily basis.”

Dr. Michelle Zimmerman

Tragedies happen and over time, people forget they took place. But the fact of the matter is, they will continue if we don’t take necessary action.

Where Does Renton Prep Stand?

As a WE school, Renton Prep believes in coming together to create a better world. Whether using technology or simply our voices, we can eradicate negativity and encourage effectiveness. For instance, Renton Prep implements positive strategies by highlighting the positive and praise-worthy moments that occur in our lives every single day. One of the ways we carry out this practice is on our social media. As we model positivity and document the incredible things that take place in our classrooms, we are able to make perspective and joy the ultimate focus.

Training in Etiquette

According to Dr. Michelle Zimmerman, intentional training in etiquette has been part of Renton Prep for years. Through all aspects, we also build social and emotional learning.

“It has been a training in how to value and respect others, how to show gratitude and appreciation for others, and how to respect their immediate environments, inside the school building and out in the community”

The National Coalition for Safe Schools mentioned etiquette training as a method for social and emotional learning and as a prevention strategy for school violence. We all have the power to captivate good if our focus is on the good. Engraving respect as a core value in our students and school has helped to identify when something is out of the ordinary. We are so thankful for how motivated the students are to inspire respect and enlightenment. As a school, we have been able to grow mentally and spiritually while changing the world around us.

It Starts With Today

The key component to take away is that Renton Prep commits to safety. We work hard towards our values, so that every single student does not have to be fearful of what may come. We recognize a problem and aim to change it because all students deserve an education that is not at risk of danger. Every calamity that has taken place in an educational setting has strengthened our inclination towards safety. The National Coalition For Safe Schools Summit was just one way we hope to achieve a change. Starting with today, we can better our communities and take initiative for the sake of our students. After all, they are the future. To learn more about our school and our purpose, contact us today.