~Executive Director for Campus and Student Services
After the Uvalde shooting, the Texas School Safety Center sent a list of safety considerations to schools across the state. These included access control standards that provide a safe environment for students and faculty, as well as proactive safety measures for campuses—things Georgetown ISD has been doing for years. “Like me, every parent, principal, and teacher, when those things happen, asks, ‘Are we doing all the right things to make sure it never happens here?’ ” says Heather Stoner (pictured), GISD’s new executive director for campus and student services. “Knowing they sent this list out is reassuring, because all the things we need to be doing, we’re doing.”
FOCUS ON SAFETY
In June, Heather transitioned from director for campus operations and Title IX to executive director for campus and student services. She oversees counseling and health services, campus and district operations, Title IX, and student attendance. Before coming to GISD, she served in Lago Vista ISD as an elementary and high school principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach.
An elementary school principal when the Sandy Hook school shooting happened in 2012, Heather remembers being on the front lines as school leaders navigated a new education scene with safety measures that added lockdown drills to the fire drill schedule.
She continues to marshal that dedication to school safety to GISD. “The safety of kids, especially at the elementary level, is always going to be our priority. Without that, nothing else matters,” she says. “We are being proactive in our approach, with things in place to prevent something from happening. If something does happen, we are prepared to respond effectively.”
MANNER AND MEANS
Heather describes GISD’s safety approach as a collaboration with Georgetown PD, which provides school resource officers and guidance for campus safety through after-action safety drill feedback and membership on district safety committees. The district’s safety measures include the following:
Each school conducts all required safety drills, including more than the required number of lockdown drills so students and staff can rehearse their responses to various emergency situations.
Anyone visiting a school, including parents and volunteers, are required to check in at the office, scan their photo ID, and receive a visitor badge.
Staff have been trained to recognize warning signs and protective factors for students who are at risk of harming themselves or others. School counselors and school-based therapists are prepared to intervene and support the mental health needs of students and families.
The district has implemented keyless entry access in schools, which makes it easier to secure school buildings.
The district’s previous three bond cycles included projects to improve safety and security including secured entrances for campuses, radio system, alert apps, and a secured walkway between GHS and the annex/Richarte. Learn more about bond projects at GeorgetownISD.org/bond.
The Stay Safe! Anonymous Online Reporting System allows students or parents to report incidents anonymously that may endanger individuals or the school, available at Georgetownisd.org/staysafe.
Instead of simply disciplining students who are on the wrong path, the district provides support, including mental health resources. “If they’re on a negative path to violence, it’s about intervening early and giving them support to try to change that path,” Heather says.
Click the link to learn more about what GISD is doing to keep students safe.