To all who are associated with the Pendleton School District, I want to assure you that we take school safety and security very seriously. We have and will continue to focus much time and energy to ensure our buildings are safe and inviting places to learn, grow and work. The district’s Strategic Plan (view the Strategic Plan Summary), which I invite all of you to review, embodies the work we do and will continue to do into the future. Our vision statement, “The Pendleton School District is a place where I belong, where I can succeed”, is intended to be embedded and evident in everything we do. It is my hope you will see evidence through our daily actions that these are more than words.
The events around the United States and most recently at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida illustrate the very worst of our society. As we watch the events unfold before us, the aftermath of such a tragedy and the resulting diversity of emotions and solutions, I believe there is one constant theme -- we all want our children to be safe at school and to know that schools are doing everything within their power to make sure they are.
To that end, the Pendleton School District focuses on safety and security every day through planning, prevention, intervention and response. Many systems have been implemented and refined over time to address this topic. At this time I would like to share a number of examples:
- We have invested thousands of dollars in the design of our newer buildings and retrofitting of our existing buildings with safety features such as limited access points, enclosed perimeters, keyless entry and camera systems.
- The Pendleton Police Department fully funds a School Resource Officer (SRO) who is on duty each day that school is in session.
- The Pendleton School District employs a former Pendleton Police Officer to conduct the 5th grade DARE program each year.
- The Pendleton School District works closely with local first responders, all of whom are represented on our District Safety Committee and with whom we have collaborated to update our emergency protocols.
- The Pendleton Police Department, with assistance from the IMESD (Intermountain Educational Service District), has worked with first responders and law enforcement agencies to adopt common response protocols across the eastern Oregon region.
- On April 13, Morrow County School District will be hosting a district-wide emergency drill. They have invited IMESD districts to participate and use the drill as a learning experience.
- The Pendleton School District participates and promotes the SafeOregon program, which serves as an anonymous site to report concerns. This site is sponsored by the Oregon State Police as a service to school districts across the state. For more information, please visit safeoregon.com.
- The Pendleton School District meets or exceeds all state requirements for safety drills.
- Goal #2 of our Strategic Plan guides our work to meet the social, emotional and learning needs of ALL students. Some of the specific things we are implementing or improving are Conscious Discipline strategies, classroom and building protocols and systems and district-wide awareness and use of “trauma-informed” practices. As part of our implementation plan, we intend to provide periodic parent information and training as well.
- Every school in our district has either a Child Development Specialist (elementary schools) or Counselor (secondary schools) whose duties include providing support to those who need social or emotional support.
- In addition, through partnerships with the IMESD and Umatilla County, our schools have school psychologists, mental health professionals and social workers that work directly with our students or their families to connect them to other resources within the community.
- Our high school utilizes the LINK Crew model to connect freshman students to older students as a mentor system.
Children are our business. When they are in our care, we take seriously our responsibility to keep them safe and provide them the best educational opportunities. As we continue our duty and journey, we look forward to working with our families and the community to assist in protecting and educating our children.