Dear Methacton Family,
Following the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, our students and families may have questions about the ways in which the Methacton School District works to maintain a safe learning environment.
We address safety with a multi-faceted approach. The district’s efforts include:
- The Methacton Administration works with County Emergency Management Services and local law enforcement to review its emergency procedures, conduct safety audits, and ensure we consider best practices in our emergency preparedness and response methods. This is a continuous process.
- Each school’s emergency response team meets every other month to review, consider, and recommend ways of improving safety on campuses for our students and staff.
- The district’s strategic plan leverages our teachers and administrators working together to develop supports with a focus on the “Whole Child.” While listed as a curriculum and instruction matter within the strategic plan, the Whole Child focus considers the well-being of our children, including their social, emotional, and mental health.
- District staff are diligent in their efforts to form positive relationships with students that foster the communication and approachability necessary to support students and families in need.
- School counseling and nursing staff are trained in youth mental health first aid. The district has also provided free community mental health awareness trainings.
- We have begun to expand the Student Assistance Program (SAP) training to the elementary levels. Used primarily in secondary schools, SAP teams consisting of teachers, administrators, and outside mental health professionals meet to monitor and assist students and families in a variety of ways. The training that accompanies SAP helps our staff recognize early warning signs associated with drug, alcohol, and mental health concerns. This allows staff to be proactive in their support, and prepares them to communicate concerns to school personnel so that the appropriate community resources can be deployed. Click to learn more about the SAP process, or how to make a referral.
- Our partnership with Central Behavioral Health for four mental health specialists provides school based individual and group sessions with students with emotional support needs. In addition, Central provides professional development and consultation with Methacton staff.
- We have updated the physical security at several of our schools to increase safety with the use of technology, door locking mechanisms, and protocols.
- Families will find a number of resources for talking to their children on our pupil services department website here.
While the district has these and other emergency response procedures in place, it is understandable that school safety is at the front of parent’s minds and may generate questions. While most of our families know that we regularly conduct fire and weather drills, they may not know that we also conduct regular intruder drills. In addition, the district developed a Safety Awareness Presentation that can be found here https://youtu.be/JEoHYL7yvF4. This is designed to communicate a common understanding of safety terminology and the role we play in an emergency.
More than 4,000 students, along with many hundreds more staff walk through our doors each day. We take our responsibility to maintain a safe and secure learning environment seriously.
Thank you for your support.
Dr. David Zerbe
Superintendent of Schools