During a sobering discussion last week, the Old Rochester Regional School Committee discussed with Tri-Town law enforcement officials the implementation of a revamped plan in the event of an attack on campus.
The Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate safety plan, or A.L.I.C.E., is rapidly becoming the new national standard in crisis response at educational institutions, according to Rochester Police Chief Paul Magee and Mattapoisett Police Chief Mary Lyons.
“We want to teach what the current trend is, and get up to speed with the rest of the country,” Magee said. “We owe it to the kids in the district to use these best practices.”
Whereas past procedures relied mainly on a lockdown system, A.L.I.C.E. incorporates a potential physical response on the part of faculty and age-appropriate students, as well as a controlled evacuation, if possible.
While law enforcement officials called the response plan “common sense” and described it as giving faculty, staff, and students a “fighting chance,” they also said that they understood that the “C” – for “Counter” – in A.L.I.C.E. would concern parents and other community members.
“We are making sure the parents are informed,” ORR School District Superintendent Doug White said.
Lyons said that engendering the support of parents and faculty, as well as the right training and technology, will be crucial in installing the new response system.
Elsewhere on the agenda, ORR School Committee members debated the increase in study-abroad proposals, with several fretting whether there are too many.
In addition, ORR junior Justin Smilan was awarded the Superintendent’s Certificate of Academic Excellence. Smilan’s credentials – including a 5 on the AP Calculus exam, National Honor Society membership, a 4.521 GPA, debate team, and more – are staggering.
Finally, ORR Junior High Principal Kevin Brogioli and High School Principal Michael Devoll briefed the committee on MCAS trends, with Brogioli expressing concern over open response scores in both English and Math.
“We mirror the trends in the state, in some cases we are above the state average by a healthy margin,” Brogioli said. “But I think we should be better than that.”
Devoll, meanwhile, said he was pleased with several areas of ORR’s performance, particularly a Student Growth Profile jump in math from 37.5 in 2012 to 52 in 2013.
“We are very, very happy with that,” Devoll said. “Extremely proud.”
The ORR School Committee is next scheduled to meet on December 11.
By Shawn Badgley