The 2018-2019 school year got off to a great start, as our staff is embracing our “Innovative Mindsets” vision that focuses on four areas: to provide Universal Design for Learning opportunities and learning supports for all students; to incorporate Reflective Teaching Practices; to continue to teach 21st Century Learning Skills to all students; and to provide a Safe and Supportive School Environment.
You will see several examples of how these focus areas are being addressed in our classrooms, but I would like to take this opportunity to talk about our fourth focus area, which is providing a Safe and Supportive School Environment.
Last Spring, with input from the Bethel Park Police Department and support from our community, the Bethel Park Board of School Directors voted to proactively expand our School Police Force from one School Police Officer and one School Resource Officer to four School Police Officers and one School Resource Officer.
I am pleased to report that these five individuals have come together to provide our schools with a focused commitment to ensuring the safety of everyone who attends, works in or visits our schools and facilities. Our School Police are highly experienced and trained and they bring a new level of expertise to the District.
Besides being a visible presence in our schools and at events, our School Police are taking a positive approach to interacting with students, getting to know our students and making them feel comfortable approaching the officers with issues of concern. It is our belief that their presence in our schools will go a long way to heading off any potential issues of concern before they become something more serious.
In addition to their regular interaction with our students and staff, our School Police Force brings with it another level of expertise when it comes to evaluating and updating our school safety plans and procedures. These are fluid documents, that are always being reviewed and adjusted, and we appreciate the expert viewpoint that our School Police Officers bring to improve our plans.
Our School Police Officers also assist with our Building Level Safety Committees and our school emergency drills, providing additional input to enhance what has already been in place.
We are thankful for their presence and hope that you will have an opportunity to interact with them the next time you visit our schools. If you have an issue of concern that you think they should be aware of, you can send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If your concern is immediate, you can always call the schools directly or the Bethel Park Police Department at 412-833-2000 if it is an emergency.
On another note, I hope you will join me in attending the many holiday concerts that will be performed in our schools in December. If you’ve never attended one, you owe it to yourself to come out and enjoy a wonderful evening of holiday music. All concerts are free and you’re invited to attend as many as your schedules will allow. I look forward to seeing you there.
On behalf of the Bethel Park School District, I wish you and your families a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year.
It continues to be an honor to serve you and your children.
This message appeared in the December 2018 issue of the Bethel Park Chronicles.