This statement was cross posted at the superintendent’s blog.
Safety is our top priority.
At the Town Hall Meeting on January 6, 2013, I spoke to a group of concerned White Oak Stakeholders about the safety and security of our students. The conversations had two main parts.
First, we discussed the procedures and culture in place at White Oak ISD that help to ensure our students can receive a high quality education in a safe learning environment. I want to assure you that we continue to train, practice and review policies and procedures that deal with specific threats to or students be they natural or man made in origin. Along with our fire drills, shelter-in-place drills and foul weather contingencies, we also conducted the district’s first mock evacuation drill designed to move every member of the student body, faculty and staff out of the district. School district personnel and local first responders were involved in this process. The drill was successful and very informative to everyone involved.
Second, we had a discussion about areas of concern with regard to the facilities at all grade levels. Since the meeting in January 2013, WOISD has been involved in a widespread upgrade with security in mind. Over eighty-three (83) security cameras have been installed in the district. These cameras are high resolution and all activity is stored on a DVR for an extended period of time. These cameras record activity in all the main traffic areas inside our campuses, entryways and a majority of the parking areas in the district. Monitors are in place at each campus office and the administration building. The district has installed fifty-two (52) new doors in the district. The majority of the new doors are “exit only” doors that do not have any hardware on the exterior. The doors cannot be opened from the outside. All entry-level doors are now equipped with programmable locks that allow the campus to restrict access to the building and monitor who is coming in during the instructional day. The Intermediate and Middle School have new entrances that direct traffic into the office before entering the instructional areas.
It is my belief, and that of the Board of Trustees, that these improvements have greatly increased the physical plant security at White Oak ISD. These improvements combined with an engaged community, a positive relationship with all first responders and a well trained/caring district workforce come together to create an atmosphere that is conducive to the educational success of the students at White Oak ISD.
As we prepare to begin the 2014/2015 school year, I hope this information is helpful to everyone sending their young people to school each day. The faculty, staff and administrative team at White Oak ISD is fully aware that no plan is perfect and can not guarantee the complete safety of your children while they are at school. What we can do is plan, prepare and provide an environment that is the safest place your children can be in White Oak, Texas, at any given time.
It is a privilege to serve as Superintendent of Schools at White Oak ISD. I look forward to all that is in store for our students and our community in the coming year.