GCS School Safety Update

Goshen Community Schools and other area school corporations are reviewing their safety and security plans, and are making those plans available to the public. GCS values our students and staff, and we have detailed plans in place to ensure the safety of everyone in our school buildings. Below is a review of GCS safety initiatives, with links to a video and websites with further information.

Philosophy: The GCS philosophy of crisis management and safety planning aligns with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the National Department of Homeland Security.

To view the Student Safety Protocol on the GCS website, click on the following link:  https://www.goshenschools.org/students/student-safety-protocol 

Click on this link to read a Season 1 Good of Goshen story about safety and security in Goshen schools: https://goodofgoshen.com/project/school-connectedness-increases-indiana-student-achievement/

Crisis Response: In the fall of 2014 we implemented the Standard Response Protocol and Reunification Method from the iloveuguys Foundation. All GCS classrooms have posters in English and Spanish explaining the Standard Response system and what the teacher and students should do in each type of crisis.

Standard Response Protocol:  http://iloveuguys.org/srp.html

Standard Reunification Method: http://iloveuguys.org/srm_v2.html

Safety Specialist: We have a trained Safety Specialist in all buildings in Goshen Community Schools. We meet 4-5 times a year to uniformly implement corporation-wide safety measures. Shawn Turner from the Goshen Police Department and our three School Resource Officers (SROs) participate in these meetings as well.  Several GCS representatives attend the Elkhart County School Safety Commission twice a year to share ideas and updates with area schools. All Safety Specialists participate in two days of state-sponsored training each year.

Tornado Shelter: Tornado Shelters have been designated in all of our buildings. Students no longer file into the hallways for Tornado drills, but instead they file into areas that are designated to be the safest areas during a tornado.

Entrances: All schools have a foyer where a secure entrance is located. The school secretary releases the lock to allow visitors to enter. Goshen High School and Goshen Middle School were the most recent schools to have the secure entrance system put in place.  Everyone enters all GCS buildings at the designated Welcome Center or Main Office.

Tip Line: Our Bullying and Safety Tip Line is a completely anonymous, toll-free tip line that anyone can access any time he/she has information about bullying or a possible crisis. Do your part to protect others, call (574)538-3200 and help stop potential problems!

District Reunification Plan: In January 2017, representatives of the Safety Specialists Committee met with the Goshen Police Department to begin the district reunification plan.  A large facility in Goshen was identified as the place that could be used if there is ever a need for district-wide reunification. Smaller facilities, closer to each individual school, were also identified in case there is a need for reunification at just one GCS school building. Roles and responsibilities were assigned, and an equipment list was made, including emergency kits for administrators to carry in their vehicles.  These items, along with more cameras, radios, vests, etc. were purchased with the 2017 Safety Grant.

Safety Grants:

2014 School Safety Grant is fully implemented with the purchase of cameras and technology to upgrade our system. Our matching funds contributed to Aphone updates and safety film at all of our entrances.

2015 School Safety Grant is fully implemented with the purchase of radios and tower repeaters that allow for clear communication and increase the distance covered. Our matching funds are being used to install fob readers to limit and automate our key system. This key system is in place at GHS and GMS.

2016 School Safety Grant has allowed us to purchase the Raptor Visitor Management System which automates the sign-in system. Visitors that come to our offices or classrooms will show their ID (Driver’s license or State ID), which will be scanned and will print out a picture ID/visitor pass. The Raptor system records all visitors, so we know who is in the building at all times.  This system is in place at all GCS school buildings.

2017 School Safety Grant GCS was awarded another matching grant of $50,000 from the State of Indiana and $50,000 from Goshen Community Schools. The purchases and distribution of funds are in progress for this school year.

In addition to the safety initiatives GCS already has in place, school leaders will meet with the Goshen Police Department and Goshen Fire Department next week, to review procedures and determine updates that need to happen based on this most recent school shooting. We continue to refine procedures to make safety and security the absolute best it can be for GCS students and staff.

If you have questions or concerns about safety at Goshen Community Schools, you may email Susan Stiffney at sstiffney@goshenschools.org or Steve Hope, Assistant Superintendent, at shope@goshenschools.org