Over the past 25 years, ESD 112’s Construction Services Group (CSG) has assisted more than 150 Washington school districts. CSG is widely acknowledged by state agencies, local school districts, the state Legislature, and the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for its expertise in the K-12 built environment.
While school districts continue to pass local bond measures and capital levies, many look to organizations like ESDs for guidance and technical support as they develop more robust safety and security programs and facilities.
A primary goal of ESD 112 this year is to acquire federal grant funds to develop a national model for school safety and security that promotes resilience. In our recently published White Paper, entitled “Safety & Security for our Future: A Framework for Developing a More Secure K-12 Built Environment in Washington,” we include recommendations based on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s most recent edition of “K-12 School Security.”
“The importance of investment in the K-12 enterprise led the Educational Service District 112 Board of Directors, with the support of the ESD 112’s statewide Construction Services Group, to prepare this White Paper,” notes the preface. “There is increasing concern about the ability of our local school districts to cost-effectively enhance the resilience of staff, students, and ultimately, our school facilities, to bounce back quickly in the face of local disasters.”
The paper offers solutions, considerations and potential funding mechanisms for safer K-12 built environments. The document provides insight for educators, parents, students and community advocates who are interested in and committed to improving safety and resilience in all of our schools. The considerations included in this paper will help building administrators develop effective school facilities safety plans and programs that will allow them to successfully recover from natural and manmade disasters so that schools can focus on what’s most important—children’s education.
The white paper is also designed to help school building officials and safety planners understand the various types of risks their schools may face and how a well-planned built environment can mitigate a number of those risks, keeping students and educators safe while they are at school.