The Rochester Memorial School Committee is on board with ALICE, a training program to be used across the Tri-Towns that offers a “different way of approaching” a potential attack on their schools.
Chief Paul McGee was on hand at a recent Committee meeting to present ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate), which he said includes a recent change in procedure that gives teachers the power to evacuate their classrooms if they feel safe doing so.
In the past, teachers had been advised to “lockdown” rooms, meaning to lock the doors and instruct their classes to take cover in the classroom, but under the new training, they’d be advised differently.
McGee said that it is the goal of the Rochester, Mattapoisett, and Marion Police Departments to have a uniform policy and subsequent training so that they would all be able to work together in case of an emergency situation at schools across the four districts within the Tri-Towns, including each of the towns’ and Old Colony.
“It’s our vision to see a uniform evacuation and lockdown program across the Tri-Towns,” said McGee. “It will be much more efficient if everyone is doing it the same way.”
McGee said that the “Alert” portion ALICE, where communication within the school is encouraged, will “make it easier” for teachers and faculty to make decisions about the “Evacuate” portion.
He also said that that “Counter” portion, where teachers, faculty, and students are instructed on how to defend themselves in a personal encounter with a shooter, would be different for high-schoolers as opposed to elementary school students.
“(The program) has so many valuable components and it is the best practices,” said McGee. Officer Matthew McGraw and ORR Assistant Principal Michael Parker were also on hand in support of ALICE, and McGee said that Rochester Officer Kevin Flynn has been specially trained in ALICE.
“It’s my desire to give the teachers in the schools the best tools (for stopping an intruder),” said McGraw. “(We’ll) start at HS and roll down to elementary schools.
The Committee also discussed PARCC (Partners for College and Career Readiness) testing, which RMS’s 4th grade will take part in starting in the spring. The test, which is still in it’s pilot phase, takes place in two parts—a performance test and a year end test.
The discussion revolved around whether or not students who participated in PARCC would also have to take the MCAS, but Superintendent Douglas White said he’d recommend that those students take the MCAS because the PARCC results would not be released as it’s still only in its pilot phase.
“I wouldn’t recommend we opt out,” said White. “We need the MCAS to help us.”
By Nick Waleka