School Safety - February 27, 2018

Dear McDonald International Families,

This past week has been very troublesome for many teachers, parents, students, and communities nation-wide in response to the tragic Florida school shooting. Dr. Nyland sent out a message to everyone that as a school district we continue to share in this grief. We are also inspired by the advocacy of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and support their efforts to ensure that this type of incident never happens again in a school.

As a school district, safety is a top priority. Every year a Safety and Security Audit is conducted by building staff which is then in turn used by the district to help prioritize the safety needs of each school. This year our Safety Committee conducted the audit for our building. One priority need that we are working to get resolved is installing lighting along the steps leading from the sidewalk into the school building on the cafeteria side. This is a dark area and it is used frequently as parents attend meetings in the cafeteria or pick up their students from child care.  We hope to get a quick resolution for this area of concern.

Here are some of the safety precautions we have in place at McDonald International School:

  • Our School Safety plan is updated annually. All staff are assigned to different roles in case of an emergency and a chain of command is established. The School Safety Committee meets monthly to discuss any concerns or issues that need to be addressed.
  • We practice emergency drills every month, including lockdowns and evacuations, so that staff and students know how to respond in case of emergency.
  • Our doors and entrances to the playgrounds are locked during the school day. We have a buzzer at the front door, which allows our office staff to verify visitors before they enter the building.
  • We have a visitor/volunteer sign-in book in the front office. Every visitor or volunteer needs to wear a badge during the school day.
  • All staff have two-way radios which allow us to remain in contact with each other.
  • A mobile SPS Security Unit is assigned to our school and we can access direct support from them and the Safety and Security Department whenever necessary. They often also check in with our school to ensure that everything is fine.
  • The SPS Safety and Security Department has a School Threat Assessment Team and is currently hiring an Emergency Management Planner to more closely coordinate planning efforts with the city.
  • SPS school principals have attended a joint training with the Seattle Police Department command staff as part of assessing school buildings to improve school safety.
  • In case of a real emergency, our building has a reunification plan for parents and students. You will need to show official ID in order to take your child home.  Please make sure that your emergency contact information has been updated and that you have also included someone living in the Seattle area as a contact. We will not be able to release a child unless we have this important information.

Families also play an important role in helping schools remain safe. We need your vigilance to ensure that any safety concern is immediately reported to our school administration or the police. If you or your student see something, please say something. The school district is encouraging you to call the school administrator (McDonald 206-252-2900), the district Safe Schools Hotline at 206-252-0510 or if it is an emergency, call 911 immediately.

Here are some suggestions for you to help, which are being shared with all the families in our schools.

  • Please take a moment to discuss these important issues with your children.
  • Please stay connected and monitor social media activities your children are engaged in.
  • Familiarize yourself with warning signs provided by the Sandy Hook Promise, which offers programs and support to help protect children from gun violence in homes, schools, and communities.
  • Please ensure that if you own a firearm, keep it locked in an approved storage component or locker: This is the law!
  • Please ensure that your children do not have access to firearms while visiting homes of friends or relatives.
  • As a reminder, please also talk with your children about personal safety including not talking with strangers.  This includes walking to and from school, in the neighborhood, or in the community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kathy Jolly
Interim Principal, McDonald International School

Back to: Principal's Letter


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