,

District Leadership

Dr. Cohn
Dr. Gary CohnSuperintendent
(425-385-4018/4019)

Dear Everett Public Schools community members, 
 
In December, two years ago,
our communities were shaken by a school shooting on the other side of the country. This fall, we were rocked again by a school shooting – this time much closer to home and involving people so many of us know.
 
We may never have answers or reasons for the violence that occurred in Marysville and that repeats all too often in our country.  

 

I do know, however, carefully this school district and regional emergency responders have practiced responding to something we hope will not happen here. The Longfellow Building on Oakes – formerly a school district support service center – is now used each month for emergency response drills. Law enforcement and first responders use the blind corners, twisting hallways and three stories of stairways as a training “set.” Staging various scenarios, firemen, EMTs, police officers, and  SWAT teams practice ways to secure students and staff in worst-case scenarios. 

 

This district, like others, has invested in significant safety and security projects that will also enhance safety for students, families, staff and community who learn and meet together in our schools. In 2014, we sought voter approval for other additional safety enhancements for schools – funding voters twice refused in 2014.

 
Although funding for capital bond safety projects is not immediately available, Everett Public Schools is moving ahead with integrated safety enhancement projects involving 911 and video security

RAVE 911 is a mobile “app” giving school staff immediate connection to 911. It is available to school districts served by SnoPac 911 in Snohomish County. (The cities of Mill Creek, Bothell, Mukilteo and Lynnwood are served by SnoCom 911, which at this time, has not subscribed to RAVE 911.)

This enhanced and expedited 911 system is possible because of an OSPI grant and a partnership with law enforcement and emergency responders. With this partnership, Everett Public Schools is a national leader in the rollout of RAVE 911. What is the benefit of RAVE 911 for schools?

When an incident is reported with RAVE 911, designated responders on and off site simultaneously connect. This dramatically improves response time and reduces communications gaps.

First responders get real-time, critical data such as floor plans and video feeds to use in their response decisions. Everett School Resource Officer Sergeant Tim Reeves says … “The information response time is almost instantaneous and gives a level of communication to key school and district staff along with first responders that simply does not exist now.”

The video security system funded in part by the 2010 Capital Levy, is augmented by $800,000 from an OSPI Emergency Response grant and will integrate with RAVE 911

We partnered with our three law enforcement agencies to help design the integrated system. Available funding is enough for about 15 cameras for each elementary, 20 for each middle school and 30 for each high school – about 500 cameras across 26 schools.

Watch for video installation in schools now through the end of this school year. Integration of these two systems means, in a worse-case scenario, if someone bent on harm were on a campus, first responders will get real-time information and live video feed of what is happening. This state-of-the-art access to information will enhance safety and speed up help coming to schools during emergencies.

 

The 2014 Capital bond included funding for school safety improvements. The most prominent of those safety projects was refurbishing the sprawling campuses of North Middle School and Woodside Elementary School into contained buildings with clearly designated and more secure entryways. More secure entryways were planned also for four other elementary schools.

 

As additional funding becomes available through levies, bonds, or legislative action to obey the Supreme Court’s McCleary orders, this district will continue seeking ways to improve safety and security where our adults and children work and learn together.


On Monday, Oct. 27, staff from the Everett Police Department and Everett Emergency Management met with district leaders review our district response plans in light of the Marysville shooting.

 

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, my Superintendent Report to the Board included a district safety update. This most recent report, available online, included progress made on safety projects reported less than a year ago – on Jan. 8, 2014.

 
Once again I am reminded of the words of Father Denise Bosley of St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Moses Lake, following a school shooting in that community almost 20 years ago. His words provide comfort in the aftermath of a similar event two decades later.
 

“It will be easy enough to fall into fear … to ask ourselves how we can insulate ourselves and our children from any possible threat.

 

We will either stand together and face that which has the potential to be so fearful, or we will fall one-by-one as victims to that fear.

 

We as a community will need to come together, to heal together, to move forward together. All of the bars, metal detectors and security guards in the world can’t protect us.

 

Only acting together in community with our neighbors can do that.”

         

Father Dennis Bosley
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church

Moses Lake, February 1996