Dear AUSD Staff and Community:
In the aftermath of Monday’s tragic shooting at a school in Nashville, Tennessee, we are reminded again of the terror, grief, and loss that gun-related violence has perpetuated on so many school communities.
I am deeply saddened by these repeated events.
I recognize that their persistence can make platitudes about "thoughts and prayers" feel empty and obligatory at this point. However, to not acknowledge and mourn these incidents feels like a concession that this is just a part of life and, worse yet, a part of school life in our country. We cannot concede to that.
There are families and educators that have yet again lost children, teachers, and colleagues.
With substantive and impactful change on the national political level hardly being something we can count on, I want to thank and appreciate our respective school staffs, faculties, district staff, students, and community for the local efforts you have made and that we will continue to make together as we collectively make safety an ongoing priority on our campuses.
I want to acknowledge:
The students, school staff, faculty, and local first responders who have either scheduled, coordinated, facilitated, or participated in our widespread school safety drills this year. Developing the ability to quickly and effectively secure our campuses and classrooms, and dedicating time to practicing those protocols and procedures, is an absolute necessity in our current reality. These rehearsals will continue to be scheduled on an ongoing basis.
Our Board of Education’s recent approval of extending the expanded investments in mental health services -investments we made during the height of the pandemic- through June of 2025. Student mental health and mental health-related issues are absolutely a critical component of improving safety and security on our campuses.
The educators and staff members district-wide who work daily to develop and sustain trusting connections and relationships with students - these connections are as vital as physical security when it comes to preventing crisis and supporting community safety; we must facilitate and encourage continuous improvement in this area
The installation of a mass notification system for emergency communication in each classroom. This can be activated by any employee from a classroom.
Our continued investments in mobile technology, and the reevaluation of our current computer and mobile device-based systems to improve real-time communication capabilities during a public safety event or critical incident.
Our facilities team for working through the process of upgrading classroom safety locks- a massive project that should be completed at most all schools by the end of the summer. Wood and Otis will be upgraded in their upcoming modernizations, and alternative protocols for quickly securing classrooms easily have been shared with school sites still pending completion of these upgrades.
While a majority of our campus perimeters are secure, we are reviewing how fencing, front office placement, and protocols can strengthen those perimeters. As we develop designs for improvements at both Wood and Encinal, for instance, and an eventual full rebuild at Otis, we are considering how improvements in fencing, general access, and line of sight might further enhance campus safety.
At Alameda High School, our main building on Central Avenue is certainly beautiful, but presents some obvious supervisory challenges. At present we are commissioning some design concepts that might improve the balance between aesthetics and perimeter security at that facility.
Please contact your principals for any specific questions you have about safety plans and security protocols at your site. There is always more to do, and we will maintain a steady state of evaluation and revaluation where the critical topic of student and staff safety is concerned.
Please take good care of yourself and your loved ones as well.