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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Rolla teachers to make schools safer

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  • Rolla school teachers will spend the day Friday figuring out ways to keep their classrooms and buildings safe for children.
     
    Meanwhile, the children will have the day off to enjoy presumably safe activities.
     
    This will be a scheduled Professional Development Day. Thursday night at the Rolla Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aaron Zalis summarized the agenda for the day.
     
    It will start at 8 a.m. and the first two hours will be conducted at the building level with work on other areas besides safety.
     
    At 10:15, the faculty from all buildings will meet at the Rolla Middle School auditorium to begin the discussion on safety. Zalis said at the meeting that Rolla Police Cpl. Josh Campbell will be a speaker at the morning meeting. The printed agenda also shows Lt. Jim Macormic presenting an overview of the ALICE program training.
     
    ALICE is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. Macormic, who is also the president of the Newburg Board of Education, has introduced the ALICE program in that district and training is under way there.
     
    After lunch, individual building security breakout meetings will be held in the school buildings. Law enforcement officers will be at each campus.
     
    Teachers will practice what to do against intruders, such as locking doors and windows and barricading classrooms. They’ll also train on what to do next, using common sense, such as fleeing to a designated area or throwing books at an intruder and then fleeing.
     
    In addition to training for intruders, the teachers will also work on what to do in case of tornadoes, fires or earthquakes.
     
    What to do in specific situations – for instance, assemblies in the gyms, students dining in the cafeterias, students filling the hallways between classes, students on the playgrounds — will also be discussed during the training day.
     
    Training will end at 3:30 p.m.
     
    Information about the Professional Development Day can be found on a link in the right-hand lower corner of the school district website.
     
    “Periodically classes are let out early or students have a day off for Professional Development. But, what happens during that time? Professional Development (PD) time is scheduled throughout the school year to provide additional time for teachers and staff to work together effectively and efficiently, enhancing and building on their instructional expertise,” according to the website.
    “Professional Development days promote continuous growth of teachers and staff through programs and activities, sometimes speakers and workshops, designed to enhance the education and safety of RPS students. PD time is vital to school success and the teaching profession.
    Page 2 of 2 - RPS takes pride in giving teachers professional learning time in either grade-level or content-area meetings to collaborate on strategies and solve problems,” the website information continues.
     
    “Schools, as a whole, face an array of challenges: = from integrating new technology, to meeting academic standards and goals, to educating diverse population of students. RPS administrators stress the need for teachers to deepen their knowledge and skills to improve student success. PD days give more opportunities for teachers to discuss and learn new ideas related to academics, planning, and procedures.”

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