The goal of the District’s certification process is to provide a safety and security program that has a clear direction and is effective in meeting its intended purpose. This process provides clearly established goals and outcome-based objectives. Schools and departments within Volusia County must meet the established standards which establish a strong foundation on which individual schools and departments can build a safe and secure environment. Although safety can never be guaranteed in any community, having specific procedures in place strengthens the schools and departments environment and allows students and staff to effectively learn and work free of fear for their personal safety.
The Safety and Security Standards used in this process have been developed in accordance with the “Best Practices and Indicators for Safety and Security” developed by the Florida Safe School Assessment Tool. Several other planning guides for safe schools, equitable, health and drug-free schools were reviewed, and material used in this manual. A complete review of each standard was completed to ensure the district is following the K-12 Public Schools, Community Colleges and Public Universities National Incident Management System (NIMS) Compliance Criteria. The school district is required to adopt the NIMS protocols for emergency plans modification and the Incident Command System (ICS). Procedures in our plans are consistent with NIMS terminology and guidelines. This Safety and Security manual has been reviewed by the Volusia County Schools Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Area Superintendents, selected school administrators, the Safety and Security Director, Volusia Sheriff’s Department, Volusia County Fire Services, the County Emergency Operations Center, and the Safety and Security Review Committee.
Contained in the Safety and Security document are 63 standards divided into eight categories of Administrative Services, Emergency Management, Facilities, Health Services, Law Enforcement, School Food Services, Student Services and Transportation Services. To receive a rating of “Certification of Compliance with the Safety and Security Standards” each school and department must be found in compliance with all 63 of the standards. In addition, the district assessment team will review the safety and security organizational structure to ensure the school or department has adequate staffing levels and can respond to any emergency. In conducting the assessment, the district assessment team will provide an out-briefing of their findings.
Annual Certification – District Assessment
Compliance monitoring and certification will be conducted on an annual basis by an appointed safety and security team comprised of district and school-based administrators, Law Enforcement personnel and County Emergency Operations Center personnel. All schools will receive a certification assessment within the first semester of the school year. All schools must be ready for the District assessment by November 1st and submit their required documentation of compliance with the standards. Compliance for each standard is a three-step process:
- The school or department must have written procedures in place.
- Faculty and staff must know the procedures.
- The school must be observed in compliance with all standards.
At the time of the district assessment, a mock drill will be conducted, and an assessment will be made of the school’s or department’s ability to respond to an emergency.
District Annual Safety and Security Assessment Report
The annual safety and security assessment shall determine the degree of training and/or corrective action required by the schools. A copy of the results of the annual safety and security assessment shall be reported to the Superintendent. On an annual basis, the safety and security assessment information for each school and department shall be presented to the School Board. The School Board Members and the public shall have an opportunity to discuss the safety and security findings for the district and for each school and department. The Superintendent shall provide recommendations to the School Board which identifies strategies and activities that the school district shall implement to improve the districts safety and security program. The results of each District’s safety and security assessment shall be forwarded to the Commissioner of Education.