Hawaii DOE Relates School Safety to Academic Success
04/07/2010

Hawaii's innovative statewide school safety program will be highlighted at this year's International School Safety Convention in Denver, Colorado, April 22-23, 2010. The safety program demonstrates an approach that closely ties all-hazards planning to building a positive school climate, attracting and retaining excellent teachers, and supporting academic success.

Online PR News – 07-April-2010 – – Hawaii's innovative statewide school safety program will be highlighted at this year's International School Safety Convention in Denver, Colorado, April 22-23, 2010. The safety program demonstrates an approach that closely ties all-hazards planning to building a positive school climate, attracting and retaining excellent teachers, and supporting academic success.

"Hawaii educators recognize that school safety, as envisioned by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Education, is directly linked to school success for students," said Michael Dorn, program chair for the International School Safety Convention and Executive Director of Safe Havens International, the school safety resource center that provided the training.

At the upcoming convention in Denver, Dorn will share best practices from the Hawaii program with school administrators and their community partners. Those interested in attending can register for free at www.SchoolSafetyPartners.org/convention.

In 2008, the Hawaii State Department of Education was awarded a $747,978 Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) grant from the U.S. DOE Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools in order to improve school safety and emergency readiness. As the tenth largest school district in the nation, Hawaii's program has attracted nationwide attention because of its success in building capacity and expertise on a massive scale and promoting among public school teachers and parents the message: "Better safety leads to a stronger school culture focused on student achievement."

Hawaii's strategy involved training key school personnel to become trainers of hundreds more who will be able to conduct thorough school vulnerability assessments each year. Starting with a study of how to lessen the impact on schools from natural disasters such as tsunamis, volcanic activity, earthquakes, and flooding, the trainees broadened the range of their program to cover all hazards including man-made hazards.

Even though Hawaii public schools have not faced devastating tragedies resulting from youth violence or active shooters in school, the program addresses issues such as space management, school climate, intruders, cyber threats, and risks surrounding schools.

What distinguishes Hawaii's safety program from similar programs in other states is that, in an era of massive budget cuts to education programs, Hawaii was still able to use economies of scale and effort to implement a statewide school safety program.

The International School Safety Convention is co-sponsored by SchoolSafe Communications and the Foundation for the Prevention of School Violence, and is hosted by Johnson & Wales University, College of Business. For more information and to register, visit www.SchoolSafetyPartners.org/convention.

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