Warning (2): Creating default object from empty value [APP/controllers/posts_controller.php, line 18]
Bringing New Staff 'Up to Speed' on

Corner on Safety Weblog

Subscribe to our RSS feed

Bringing New Staff 'Up to Speed' on

Dennis Lewis
Date of Post
Sep 27, 2009

Bringing New Staff Up To Speed On Safety

With the beginning of each school year administrators all across the country provide orientations, professional development opportunities, and assistance to new employees as to the way "we do things around here". These procedures include, but are not limited to student attendance, computerized record keeping, school improvement plans, master schedules, lunchroom procedures, etc.

Granted, all of these are critical functions in the secondary schools of today, but administrators should reserve ample time on their orientation agendas to discuss specific matters related to student and staff safety. And, it is equally as important to involve support staff, as they will have roles and responsibilities during an emergency. Among topics that should be reviewed and discussed with all staff should be relocation sites and evacuation procedures, in place sheltering procedures, access control, supervision, and crisis management plans.

In addition to the aforementioned, individual schools or districts may have other information considered "critical" to new employee orientation. If so, this information needs to be included, as well. But as all good teachers and principals know, "Teaching is not as simple as just telling". Consequently, it will be necessary for this group of new employees to reassemble mid year to discuss and review these same topics. And just as importantly as the orientation itself, principals should retain a copy of the agenda for the purpose of documentation.

  • The teacher handbook will contain pertinent safety information. While it is the expectation that teachers will read it, principals should not assume such. Rather the first faculty meeting should be used in part to thoroughly discuss the critical parts of this document, which will effectively outline an administrator’s expectation for staff behavior. Teachers should be expected to put into writing that the handbook was thoroughly read.
  • Certificated staff need to understand the administrator’s expectation for planning for substitute teachers. These instructions should include seating charts, adequate lesson plans, attendance procedures, a listing of potentially difficult students, a listing of students that can normally be depended upon for appropriate behavior, emergency flip charts, and procedures for building evacuation, classroom first aid supplies, severe weather, and sheltering in-place.
  • Administrators should provide to the teaching staff a safety checklist for teachers to use as they prepare individual substitute teacher folders. While most schools currently limit access within the school during the day, staff need to be informed of their responsibilities related to this practice. All staff can help in this endeavor by informing visitors and guests that they are to enter using specific entry points, as well as to check into the office immediately upon arrival to the campus. Additionally, all new employees need to receive instructions in how to approach individuals safely and effectively when it appears that they are on campus without following building procedures.
  • All staff should understand the procedures followed in the event that the school has a need to in-place shelter students. These procedures can be nerve rattling during an actual emergency even to the seasoned veterans. Principals should emphasize that staff may have to take initiative under certain conditions with little or no communication from the office. Most Crisis Management Plans include provisions for at least one relocation site in the event that the school becomes uninhabitable during the school day. New employees need to be knowledgeable of these sites, as well as have the opportunity to review the procedures used should relocation actually become necessary. Evacuation procedures should be explained, including procedures for when students are at lunch or assemblies, as opposed to when they need to be evacuated from the classroom setting.
  • All new employees should receive a copy of the Crisis Management Plan. Depending upon the specific position of a support staff member, he/she may not need a complete copy of the plan, but should still receive general information. Additionally, if the school uses a "flip chart" in addition to the more comprehensive plan, the components of the chart should be reviewed and discussed. Remember, for first year teachers coming out of the university this will be a new experience.

Administrators know the importance of adequate supervision. Staff should be made to realize that it takes everyone working together to monitor students and their activities while on campus. The supervision of students is especially critical between classes, lunch hours, and before and after school. In addition, it is always a good idea to discuss staff supervisory expectations for chaperoning dances or when students are at school activities away from the campus. Don’t forget that support staff is a part of the school’s valuable group supervision plan and expectations and limitations should be made clear to them, as well.


Currently, there are no comments.

Archived by Date