Posted by ecombsdev on April 27, 2019
I am shaking my head reading this article about a local PD who, probably with the best of intentions, have turned an active shooting training into a misguided attempt to put “fear” in the place of skill or strategies. You can check it out HERE.
It was under the guise of increasing the tension of the training but fell flat on its face in execution. Shooting people with pellet or airsoft guns will indeed make them feel the pain, but when I do school safety training, I want them to remember the plan!
What good is creating a fearful, painful place in our schools? And it is doubly worrying if that school has no plan in place. To teach a skill, such as thinking under pressure, you really should start with the smaller skills of keeping calm, pre-planning possible movement options and how to take cover from fire.
I remember one school wanted me to teach all of their teachers to fire weapons. The problem is, this can create a much more dangerous environment than when we start. Without having to jump into any political argument, guns are tools just like any other tool someone can use for a job. The hammer in the wrong hands at a work site can indeed cause problems. It is more so with firearms.
Principals, please start your safety and security training with a plan! I believe in realistic training, but that training should be systematic and purposeful. Scaring the daylights out of someone simply doesn’t work. Should a shooting event occur, believe me, they will already be scared, but do they know what to do? Do the teachers have options and strategies they have practiced they can call upon to better protect their students and their selves? Finally, do they know what to do when the more plausible threat occurs (fire, violent individual, shelter-in-place, etc.)?
Posted by ecombsdev on March 19, 2019
Common sense safety and security for schools – more than active shooter drills!
In the age of seemingly increasing gun violence in schools, we are seeing more and more solutions addressing that one issue, but the problem is, school face many more issues and the probability that a bomb threat, shelter in place or dealing with other violent individuals is much greater.
Schools need a method of planning that incorporates all possible threats they may encounter. That is why every school needs its own site based plan because all schools face diverse types of threat possibilities. They also need to be able to defend their own rationale for their planned responses to each threat.
If you are interested in developing a more encompassing plan, one that considers all the threats your school may face, send me a note and I would love to work with your school and/or district.
After 20 years of military experience in defending or protecting their most valuable assets, from nuclear weapons to presidents, and having more than 12 years experience in public schools as a teacher and administrator, I bring a unique perspective to this process.
Posted by ecombsdev on November 8, 2018
I am very much looking forward to going to Columbus next week to do a full assessment and staff training on school safety and security. I am certainly seeing an uptick in requests for surveys and staff training!
Security is often the last thought on anyone’s mind or budget, but as we see more and more different types of threats out there, it really is prudent to have a plan, train your staff and methodically consider each and every possible threat that may befall your school, church or organization.
From full on-site assessments to helping you train your safety and security team, my goal is to make sure you give yourself options that make sense in your community and culture. Blanket statements and policies run the risk of having far too many gaps to be realistic for every school. That is why it is so important to set your feelings aside and look at your own terrain, building, staff, and mission to determine what you will plan to do with each individual threat.
Interested? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to help you protect that which is most precious. Eric
Posted by ecombsdev on February 1, 2017
Often, we see an evacuation drill done in conjunction with a fire drill. These are simple, pull the alarm and everyone lines up outside and a head count is done. The problem with this approach is that staff may equate the term evacuation with that simple drill.
Evacuations can be quite complicated and to do them right you need to understand the possibilities and hopefully, you have created different options in your evacuation plan.
Option? Ask yourself what would happen is the alarm goes off and the normal route you take out of the building is blocked or is part of the danger (on fire for example?) What would happen if the alarm goes off and your class is at recess or lunch?
You see it is much more than simply going outside and counting kids. An effective and safe option is to know what routes are the safest for you and your students, which routes offer the best cover or even concealment along the way. Finally, you need to plan to continue your route if the initial point to go to is possibly compromised or potentially dangerous because of the situation at the school.
Here is an example, the modified lockdown signal is given to your school. You secure your student and then here the commotion in the main office. Looking outside you see your route of travel to your normal evacuation point goes right past the main office. Have you planned for a secondary path? Do you stay put? So many decisions and the answers can be impossible if you haven’t done some pre-planning.
So, with this idea in mind, I encourage you to look at your process and try to develop other options for yourself and students. If you have never considered these possibilities, then trying to do so under pressure is extremely difficult. But, if you’ve walked through (even in your head) a couple of options, you are a little better prepared to deal with such an event.
Stay safe and in the immortal words of Red Green, remember, I’m pulling for ya!
Posted by ecombsdev on January 26, 2016
There is a distinct set of special skills teachers bring to the table because teaching is not just mimicry and it is not something that can be scripted. Good, wholesome and honest teaching comes from both discerning knowledge and the empathic heart. It is truly higher calling and it demands far more than many will ever know. hashtag#teachers hashtag#teaching hashtag#knowledge hashtag#skills # hashtag#timetoteach
Posted by ecombsdev on August 10, 2015
Randomness: Keeping them on their toes!
I remember one of my first Professional Development sessions as a new teacher involved the use of the Round Robin for student participation I thought it was great, everyone gets to participate and once around I could be certain the laws of equity and fairness were obeyed. After a while, however, I found a troubling tendency occurring in my class. As I went around the room, it was almost as if I was telling the student that once they participated, simply shut down for the rest of the activity. It was even worse when I lined up groups to report out on projects. If they were last, or once they had participated, they started checking out. Knowing that they also learn a lot from each other, this really started to bug me and it was time for an experiment.
I decided to try and shake things up. As my students entered the classroom, I gave them each a number. Then, when I had an activity, I picked up some gaming dice and rolled my 30 sided die and called on a student with the corresponding number to respond. The shock on his face was very telling, he was expecting for me to go down the line again and he was caught off guard. I continued to use the dice to dictate who will participate and I discovered that whenever I rolled a double, that student had to participate again! Then, when I picked up the die I looked at my class, every eye was on me and they were very focused on who may be called on next.
I then applied this to my project teams. Instead of telling them who would be first, I simply said that on the date the project was due, I would roll for the team who would participate first! And, if I rolled your team’s number again, they would have to give a quick synopsis of the previous team’s report.
Suddenly, I was sending a different signal in my classroom, one that told them all that they are responsible for all the content in class at any time. While it took a couple of weeks for them to get used to the die, after a month, they actually started loving it! I would have a series of writing prompts on the board and on their tables they had a 6 sided die. They would have to roll for two and pick one (student choice!).
There are a lot of things you can do to randomize your activities that help your students stay focused and ready to learn. I hope these little tidbits will help you.
Posted by ecombsdev on May 27, 2015
There is a lot of data out there? Has it helped you? That last professional development you had was designed to do what? We’ve seen a plethora of PD sessions designed to tell you the new ways you will be evaluated and judged, or how your students will be tested. It seems like a lot of training opportunities have been simply things that will be done to you and your classroom and not for you.
Consider that PD should also offer strategies and methods to help teachers with their craft, with what is actually going on in the classroom? That’s what my Engagement and Motivation course does. Simple, easy to use strategies (many can be used the next day) to help teachers grab student’s attention and help them to self motivate to become consistent and life long learners.
Interested? Send me an email at email@example.com. I would love to talk with you about helping your teachers improve what happens in the classroom!